Jet Li Life and Career
Jet Li born April 26, 1963) is a Chinese martial artist and filmactor. Jet Li (as he would later be known) was born in either Hebei or Beijing, China, and orphaned at age 2. He was sent to the Wushu academy at age 8.
As an Athlete:
Jet Li began his martial arts career as a member of the Beijing Wu Shu team, an athletic group organized to perform martial arts during the All China Games. As a member of the team, he received martial arts training and went on to win 15 gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese Wushu championships:
- 1974 – Youth National Athletic Competition: broadsword form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal, all-round gold medal;
- 1975 – Third Chinese Wushu Championships: long fist form gold medal, spear form silver medal;
- 1977 – National Wushu Competition: long-fist form gold medal, broadsword form gold medal;
- 1978 – National Wushu Competition: long-fist form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal, broadsword form gold medal, all-round gold medal;
- 1979 – Fourth Chinese Wushu Championships: long-fist form gold medal, optional empty-hand form gold medal, broadsword form gold medal, sparring form gold medal, all-round gold medal.
All his optional empty-hand form medals were won with a form called fanzi yingzhaoquan 翻子鷹爪拳, a type of eagle claw form.
As an Actor:
The fame gained by his sports winnings led to a career as a martial arts film star, beginning in mainland China and then continuing into Hong Kong. After his success in Hong Kong, Jet Li established a presence in American films, beginning with his portrayal of a villain in Lethal Weapon 4. His first lead role in a Hollywood movie was in Romeo Must Die.
Some of his more famous Chinese films include:
- the Shaolin Temple series (1, 2 and 3), which are considered to be the films which sparked the rebirth of the real Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, China.
- the Once Upon a Time in China series (Chinese title: Wong Fei Hung), about the semi-legendary Chinese folk hero;
- Fist of Legend, which, contrary to popular belief, was not a remake of Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss (also known as Fists of Fury), but rather of Bruce Lee’s Chinese Connection, (Fist of Fury in Chinese); and
- the Fong Sai-Yuk films, about another Chinese folk hero. As one might expect from a martial artist of his caliber, he performs most of his own stunts.
Jet Li starred in the 1995 movie, Shu dan long wei, known in English as “Courage of a Mouse and Power of a Dragon”. The movie, known in the US as either High Risk or Meltdown, portrays Jet Li as a cop who becomes disillusioned after his wife is murdered by crimelords. Along the way, he pairs up with wacky sell-out actor, Frankie (played by Jacky Cheung), and proceeds to engage in a series of extremely violent battles in a high-rise building.
In July 2001, Jet Li and Jackie Chan agreed to produce and star in an action movie which was to be released in 2002 or 2003, but there has since been no news of their collaboration. In 2002, the film Hero was released in the US market. This film was both a critical and commercial success.
Li took a big risk with the 2005 action drama, Unleashed (a.k.a. Danny the Dog) where he portrays an adult with the mentality of a child who has been raised like an animal. A sombre film with more depth than had been previously seen in Li’s films, it co-starred dramatic actors, Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman.
According to Shenzhen Daily newspaper, Jet Li has announced his retirement from Martial Art movies after the upcoming feature movie “Fearless” ( Huo Yuanjia in Chinese) (based on the real legendary martial artist who defeated a Russian boxer).
Jet Li has been married to Nina Li Chi (born Li Zhi), a Shanghai-born, Hong Kong-based actress since 1999, and they have two daughters. He was previously married to Qiu-yan Huang from 1987 until they divorced in 1990, and by whom he also has two daughters.
Jet Li was in the Maldives when the tsunami hit during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He suffered a minor foot injury, caused by a piece of floating furniture, while he was guiding himself and his daughter to safety.
Li was in the Maldives when a tsunami hit during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Although it was widely reported at the time that he had died during the disaster, he only suffered a minor foot injury, caused by a piece of floating furniture, while he was guiding his 4-year-old daughter Jane to safety. The two were by the pool and slightly above the beach when the wave came ashore.
In 2009, Li, who previously had American citizenship, after years working in the United States, is thought to have renounced his American citizenship and taken up Singaporean citizenship, although no official confirmation has been provided by Singapore authorities. On July 28, 2009, the chairman of One Foundation (the Charity fund of Jet Li) announced that Jet Li had indeed become a Singaporean citizen. He was said to have chosen Singapore for its education system for his two daughters.
In 2009 Li launched his own fitness programme that he named “Wuji”. The programme consists of elements of martial arts, yoga and pilates and Adidas launched a special clothing line for it that bears the initials of “JL”. In his free time he likes to play badminton, table tennis, volleyball, ride his bicycle, read and meditate. He collects rare Tibetan beads. He says he is never bored in his free time.Related Information: