From Poverty to a Movie Legend, Jackie Chan’s Journey Proves Nothing Can Stand Between Us and Our Dreams
We all face obstacles when chasing our dreams. But Jackie Chan faced and overcame poverty, being left in Hong Kong without his parents, and following a strict training regimen to become the man he is today. He learned strength and discipline through his tough training which helped him get to where he is in his career. This is the story of the movie icon and legend’s journey which is incredibly inspiring.
Martial arts has been a big part of his life since he was young.
Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong in 1954. His parents were struggling to pay the doctor who delivered Chan and had to borrow money from their friends. As a young boy, Chan would wake up early to practice kung fu with his father. His father took a job in Australia and Jackie stayed in Hong Kong at the China Drama Academy. Over the next decade, he rarely saw his parents.
He practiced martial arts all day.
In an interview, Chan describes his experience at his school. He said he enrolled in the school when he was 6 years old and would wake up every day at 5 a.m. Then he would have to run holding 2 cups of water and not spill any. If he did, the teachers would punish him. He would then have to do a handstand for 1 hour followed by a martial arts routine. The teachers would make him stop in a difficult position and hold it for 20 minutes.
He moved into stunt work.
At the age of 17, Chan graduated and had to find work, which proved difficult as he was never taught to read and write. So manual labor or stunt work was all that was really available for him. Chan was very athletic, inventive, and fearless. He tried everything and became very in demand. But the Hong Kong movie scene started to dry up and he moved to Australia to be with his parents. In an interview, he describes the time when he worked with Bruce Lee and the actor accidentally hit him. He said, “It was so nice to be hit by Bruce Lee.”
He worked in construction and in a restaurant but wasn’t happy. In 1976, he got a telegram from Willie Chan that changed his life. He wanted him to star in the film, New Fist of Fury. He continued to do his own death-defying stunts. In an interview, he spoke about his hardest stunt in the film, Project A. Chan fell from a clock tower. The actor said it took 7 days to nail the stunt, but he fell on his head and it caused him aches for 2 years.
Becoming the beloved and highly successful actor he is today.
Chan became a huge success in Asia, but it took him a while to break out in America. It wasn’t until his film, Rumble in the Bronx, was a huge hit that Jackie was considered a star in America. From there, he went on to make many more blockbusters, including Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and The Karate Kid. In 2016, Chan was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his exceptional contribution to motion pictures. Chan said, “Standing here is a dream. After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films, breaking so many bones, finally, this is mine.”
He is well-loved by his co-stars.
The 2 action legends worked together in The Iron Mask. When they bumped into each other, they shared the picture above on their social media pages. Chan wrote, “So happy to run into my good old friend and legend.” Arnold Schwarzenegger also shared the photo and wrote, “It was fantastic to run into my old friend and a hero of mine. A legend and an inspiration.”
When Chan won his honorary Oscar, actor Chris Tucker posted the picture above and wrote, “Congratulations to my friend Jackie Chan for his honorary Oscar!” Tucker felt a rare friendship with Chan. In an interview, he spoke about working with Chan on Rush Hour. He said they both felt like outsiders in Hollywood and felt very comfortable around each other and messing up in front of each other. There was no ego involved. He said, “Jackie didn’t care. He’d be like, ’Be funny. Help this movie work.’”
Are you inspired by Jackie Chan’s story? What is your favorite movie of his?