In a recent Activision blogpost, they interviewed the real-life inspiration of their newest operator for Modern Warfare. Meet Tu Lam, Retired Master Sergeant and Green Beret who now runs his own company Ronin Tactics.
Tu Lam was originally from Vietnam, but his family sought refuge after the Vietnam war left many in a rough place. After awhile they were able to make it to the U.S. where his family lived in Fayetteville. While Tu Lam and his family found a home, he recounted how him, and his brother faced constant racism in their youth and how this taught him that life wouldn’t be fair or easy. After high school, he immediately enlisted and in 1993 after completing training he reported for duty. In February 1997, four years already under his belt, he began his journey of becoming a Special Forces soldier.
Going through the absolute grueling training involved with the Special Forces, in which Lam himself broke his ankle, he passed in the summer of 1998 and was to become the second generation in his family of being Special Forces. This led to over two decades of service where Lam mainly operated throughout the continent of Asia. But after a long career in the service Lam had to find a new path. In the blogpost he states how, “after my time in service, I wanted to find my peace. As a child born in war, as a Green Beret, I needed to find my peace.” He found that peace by reaching back in time, back to Edo period Japan and the Bushido code of the samurai.
Through these, Lam described how he became a “modern-day Ronin” (also where the name for his company formed) and learned to live in Zen. Edo Japan (between 1600-1878) was a time of relative peace in Japan and saw great economic growth and the further expanse of their arts and culture, while becoming strictly isolationist to the rest of the world. The Bushido Code is a warrior’s code to live by. The code was born out of a combination of Confucian beliefs plus Shinto and Zen Buddhism. Lam explains how, “the code means to ‘Readily accept death’ to lay down one’s life for the service of their daimyo.” Lam also breaks down how the code is made up of eight virtues: righteousness, courage, compassion, respect, honor, loyalty, duty, and self-control; these virtues are what make a great samurai, or great warrior.
Tu Lam expresses how he believes we should live by a code, with his being the Bushido code, and have a set of values for ourselves. That’s in part what he teaches at Ronin Tactics Inc. Him and his company also teach hand-to-hand combat, firearm training, commando and knife/edge-weapons training. His company teaches the like of military units, police departments, and civilians alike.
Tu Lam also did all the mo-cap and even had influence in his finishing moves for the game Modern Warfare and said it was very honorable and badass to be a part of the Call of Duty franchise. Lam joins a long list of other operators including another operator inspired by a real person. Jade Struck (in-game known as Iskra) is a firearms instructor with Taran Tactical Innovations, and if you’ve seen the John Wick movies and the videos of Keanu Reeves training, Jade is the one who helped teach him.
Modern Warfare has become the most popular Call of Duty ever and it is unique and nice to see them highlight real people with real experiences for others to learn about and enjoy while playing their juggernaut of an arcade shooter. You can also watch videos of Tu Lam demonstrating his skills on his YouTube channel Ronin Tactics.