Fascinating Kung Fu Kings Facts

We love to watch them fly through the air executing roundhouse kicks and karate chopping ten wooden boards with a whole egg in their hands. But surely you want to know more. Some background, some embarrassing moments or even just about their heritage. Below are some fascinating facts about four of the Kung Fu kings.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee karate chopped his way into our hearts and memories. Although this Kung Fu King lived less than 33 years, he accomplished more than others do in their entire lifetime. Not only was he a martial artist, instructor, actor and director but also a philosopher. His death was ruled as a “misadventure”. He had told a colleague he had a headache, and she had given him a pain killer. It is believed that he had an allergic reaction to the medicine, as his brain swelled up to 13% in size. Among the pallbearers at his funeral were Chuck Norris and Steve McQueen.

Jet Li

Often referred to a film actor, he is also a producer and Wushu Champion. He retired from competitive Wushu at the age of 19 after which he pursued a career in acting. His first non-Chinese film was in Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998 and who can forget his role in Romeo Must Die. His lightning-fast moves proved a challenge in Lethal Weapon 4 as they were too fast for the camera and ultimately Jet Li had to redo his steps at a slower pace. It’s no wonder President Richard Nixon wanted Jet Li, at the tender age of 11 to be his bodyguard, an offer he graciously declined saying that he didn’t want to protect an individual but rather grow up to defend “one billion Chinese countrymen”. He has closely matched that dream by founding the non-profit organisation, The One Foundation, supporting global disaster relief energies.

Jackie Chan

Like Jet Li, not only is Chan, an actor and martial artist, but he delves into the art of producing, and he is a singer, performer and stunt director. Companies are wary when it comes to ensuring Jackie Chan and those doing stunts with and for him, so he covers them and himself, out of pocket. His parents named him Chan Kong-sang, but while working as a builder, a construction worker named Jack, took to Chan and Chan was soon referred to as “Little Jackie” which then evolved into “Jackie”. This nickname stuck.

Donnie Yen

You might recognise this Kung Fu King and actor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Yen, one of Asia’s top-earning actors, is a lot more than just a pretty face. He has experience in Tai Chi, Wushu, Hapkido, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, to name a few. He has been credited as making Wing-Chun accessible through his role played Ip Man. But did you know, this Bruce Lee fan, is son to Bow-sim Mark? She helped popularise martial arts, founding the Chinese Wushu Research Institute in 1976, in Massachusetts.


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