Jack of Many Trades, Master of Kungfu

2011-12-23 09:52:27        China Daily

Jet Li Poses with his Wax Figure in Shanghai [Photo: baidu.com]

Jet Li has many identities - wushu champion, kungfu superstar and film producer - and continues to reinvent himself.

Li was born in Beijing in 1963. He went to a summer school to learn wushu at the age of 7, and it was then that his talent was noticed.

Later, he was chosen as a Beijing Wushu Team member. He won many awards in national wushu competitions, including five gold medals in the 4th National Games in 1979.

In an interview with Dragon TV, Li recalls, former US president Richard Nixon invited Li to be his personal bodyguard when he performed with the Chinese National Wushu Team in the United States.

But Li responded by saying, "I am not protecting any individual. I will protect my countrymen when I grow up."

His film career began in 1982 with "Shaolin Temple", directed by Chang Hsin Yen. In the early 1990s, he went to Hong Kong to pursue his dreams of stardom. He has played many roles as kungfu masters, including Zhang Sanfeng, Huang Feihong and Fang Shiyu. This year, Li released two films: "It's Love" and "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate".

He was invited to Hollywood in 1997. The following year, he made his US film debut in "Lethal Weapon 4", playing opposite Mel Gibson. His international film credits include "Romeo Must Die", "The One", "Kiss of the Dragon" and "The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor".

In 2007, Li founded One Foundation. It quickly captivated the attention of international companies, celebrities and media. Li says he will focus on charity work and promoting the culture of tai chi.

"Tai chi will become a symbol of Chinese culture, and I have the mission of spreading it to the rest of the world," he says.

"It is also part of my charity work in China."

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