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Donnie Yen is a Hong Kong Chinese actor, martial artist, film director, producer, action choreographer and stuntman. Moreover, he is a multiple-time world wushu tournament champion.
Yen describes himself as a mixed martial artist. He learned Tai Chi from a young age under his mother’s tutelage. He then wanted to learn Taekwondo in his teenage years, earning a 6th Dan in the process. At the time, the Beijing Wushu Team had a scout in the United States and invited Yen over to Beijing, China. Here, he began training at the Beijing Sports Institute, the same facility where champion-turned-actor Jet Li trained. This is where the two of them crossed paths for the first time.
Yen has displayed skill in an array of martial arts. He is well-versed in Tai Chi, Boxing, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wing Chun, and Wushu.
After filming Drunken Tai Chi and Tiger Cage (1988), Yen made his breakthrough role as General Nap-lan in Once Upon a Time in China II (1992). Moreover, the film included a fight scene between his character and Wong Fei-hung (played by Jet Li). Yen had a starring role in the film Iron Monkey in 1993.
Yen choreographed most of the fight animation in the 2004 video game Onimusha 3. The film featured actors Takeshi Kaneshiro and Jean Reno.
Then he played Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man in the 2008 film Ip Man. The film became a box office success. Following this, more people took up Wing Chun, which lead to hundreds of new Wing Chun schools in mainland China and other parts of Asia.
One of the most popular film stars in Asia of the early 2000s, Yen is consistently one of the highest-paid actors in Asia. Yen earned HK$220 million from four films and six advertisements in 2013.