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Judah Friedlander: Street-fighting man

The trucker hat-wearing Judah Friedlander, who plays a staff writer on NBC’s “30 Rock,” knew he had a gift. But it wasn’t for entertaining people — it was for kicking butt with his  karate skills.

The trucker hat-wearing Judah Friedlander, who plays a staff writer on NBC’s “30 Rock,” knew he had a gift. But it wasn’t for entertaining people — it was for kicking butt with his karate skills. The stand-up comedian and actor decided to share his hard-fighting acumen with his new book, “How to Beat Up Anybody.” We talked with the master about his groundbreaking work. Here’s a tip: Don’t take anything in this article as actual truth.

How did you become a world champion of karate?

Well, I’m not A world champion, I am THE world champion. I won it. It’s the most coveted trophy in all of sports and martial arts. This is the first time I’m showing the public my techniques so that everyone can stay safe.

Does your expertise come from your innate abilities or do you attribute it to years of hard training?

It’s a mix. I have a natural gift, and I’ve worked on it. I first learned martial arts when I was 13. I was in prison in China for a crime I didn’t commit and I learned from the other inmates.

You have a section on how a woman can defend herself and even dress the part to illustrate it. How did it feel to be in a woman’s shoes?

Everything in this book is real. There’s not one staged photograph. And to prepare for this book, in 1983, I went back in time to 1975, got a sex change and lived as a woman for two years in Istanbul. I did that so I can learn because I want to give back. I want to learn what it’s like for a woman to defend herself, so I actually did.

How do you keep your skills sharp when you’re on the set of ‘30 Rock’?

I’m actually only there for security purposes. And you know, every once in a while they’ll give me some lines and stuff. It’s just something to mix the day up. When I’m taking a break from beating people up and winning trophies, I’ll head over to “30 Rock,” do a few lines, bring some sexiness to the show and ... uh, yeah.

 
 
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