Sharp Focus

Sharp Focus


Emily Roos ’00 has her target in sight. She knows what she’s after. She’s taking aim. All it took was one kung fu class, and her direction was clear. And so she steered straight for Washington, D.C., home to some of the best martial arts training and competing in the nation.

“Martial arts provide me with a deep sense of awareness of myself and my surroundings,” says Roos, a black belt in wushu kung fu who teaches martial arts in Fairfax, Va. “Wushu in particular helps me transform some of my greatest fears and loves into a meaningful, captivating expression.”

And lately that expression has manifested on film: Since Roos began taking weekly acting classes in D.C. and New York City, she has worked on several small films in the D.C./Baltimore/Virginia area.

“Wushu is very much a filmmaker’s dream martial arts style because it’s so acrobatic,” says Roos, who not only performs stunt work, but also does fight choreography. “With fight choreography, you are basically directing the actors. You are showing them how to throw a punch and make it look realistic, how to react to a punch in a safe and realistic manner, how to fall. My job is to make them look like pros.”

Of course, any pro knows that there’s more to martial arts than the moves.

“Whether I’m training, choreographing a fight or performing,” says Roos, “I am constantly reminded that it’s what’s between the movements that matters most.”

And, that, in a word, is focus.