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As title says, my question is how to become someone like Jackie Chan, a handsome martial artist with skillful tricks. I love all his tricks that he performed in his movies. But how do I learn tricks like these and become as skillful as him?

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  • Jackie Chan is likely so popular and well-liked due to his humour and charisma. Commented May 17 at 8:26
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    I'm closing question because it is not about martial arts - it is about emulating someone who does martial arts. This is also a low quality question with several low quality self-answers submitted by the author.
    – slugster
    Commented May 18 at 13:46

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I'll just chime in with my perspective.

First, I've read the bios of many movie martial arts actors. Here's what I realized. First, talent may or may not be that important. Mostly, these actors got their break by #1 knowing an insider, someone who's close to the director and casting crew. Second, they were in the right place at the right time. Third, they were highly charismatic and came off very well in their audition.

I've trained at Shaolin temple, briefly. I got to know the mindset of the monks there. Most of them were young and had the dream of becoming a big-time martial arts movie actor or to be in one of the big Chinese acrobatic companies that go on tour. That's their dream. Their fallback, by the way, is to be wealthy businessmen by using their reputation as a shaolin monk to be the figurehead of a bunch of martial arts schools (they get a percentage of the income of these schools without doing anything).

Thousands of Shaolin monks as well as the hundreds of thousands of dedicated kung-fu students around the temple area in Dengfeng are all wanting to be movie actors and heads of chains of kung-fu schools.

Yet, only a handful actually achieve being in movies, let alone starring in one. And these guys are the best. The best of the best. They start at age 5 and work insanely long hours on their martial arts training. The moms and dads almost give them up to go live and train in these kung-fu schools. They rarely get to even see their parents.

Some would say you just have to be relentless and try out for as many movies as you can. Keep at it. Well, yes, but no. Most of the actors that have this strategy but none of the other things going for them are going to get almost no movie roles, let alone lead actor roles.

Look at Jean-Claude Van Damme. He's not a trained actor. He wasn't the best martial artist, either. He was good, not great. He was very well built and had good knowledge of body movement. And he had some charisma.

When Van Damme originally got into acting, it was by being an extra in different movie genres. He didn't get much work, but he tried a lot. Then somehow he met Chuck Norris and became Chuck's sparring partner. Then Chuck got him into his movies as a stuntman. And from there, that one connection got him into playing actual roles in movies. It wasn't long after that when he had a leading role.

My point is, it's often who you know in the movie business, not what you know. You still have to be a good martial artist in some way that works with the camera. You have to know your craft. But, it's very rare that anyone without a connection to someone important will be picked to have a role in a movie.

And getting that connection is often just plain luck, being in the right place at the right time. You can certainly increase the odds by creating circumstances that put you close to those people. Jean-Claude Van Damme mentioned that he lied about his movie roles abroad to get producers to call him back. He probably did a lot of scheming to place himself in with the right people. And it worked.

Anyway, take what I said with a grain of salt. I'm not in the business. And what I know of it is from reading. But that's what I think about it.

Oh, and that doesn't tell you how to become Jackie Chan in terms of martial arts skills. But that seems more obvious than getting movie roles. You want to be good at kung-fu? Go train in contemporary Wushu. It's flashy and full of athleticism. If you can do that, you can be in movies. At the same time, know some other martial arts like wing chun kung-fu, Shuai-Jiao, Taichi, and Hung Gar. You can pick these up over time. Pay attention to your physique, adherence to proper form, snap, speed, and power. All of that will come out well on camera.

Hope that helps.

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  • It's sad to hear about your brief experience at that Shaolin temple. Any idea if it was an isolated experience or typical? Commented May 17 at 8:25
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    @EndAntisemiticHate What I said about modern day shaolin monks is true for most of them. It's not necessarily "sad". It's true that they all want to be the best and have dreams beyond shaolin. Most probably began their martial arts interest by watching kung-fu movies. Whether you choose to see it as good or bad is up to you. You can read about my experience here: martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/7719/… Commented May 17 at 13:36
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I will be honest and say that, unless you are naturally talented, are starting at the age of 5 or so, are willing to undergo strenuous and sometimes downright abusive training, and are willing to undergo plastic surgery, you will not be able to become Jacky Chan. His skills are the result of not only natural talent, but years of grueling training at the China Drama Academy. And, of course, achieving his look would likely require plastic surgery unless you happen to be gifted to look like him.

That said, much of which Jacky Chan does, to some degree, accessible. He's proficient in Wing Chun, Northern Shaolin, and Southern Shaolin kung fu as well as a smattering of other styles. You would also want to do stunt work, either at a school or under a senior trainer, to learn how to take hits and falls. Lastly, I would advise looking into parkour/freerunning, which will focus on navigating the environment in creative ways.

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    Stunt work seems like a common thing between the stories of a lot of martial arts movie actors. Being part of the stunt crew gives you access to lead actors, directors, and other stuntmen who can give you connections. As I said in my answer, it's all about who you know. Being an extra doesn't often lead to actual roles. Being a stuntman at least gets you noticed a little. If someone does notice you a lot, that might lead to an actual role somewhere. Anyway, +1 for stunt work. The parkour mention is also a good one. Tricking would be good, too. And contemporary wushu. Commented May 17 at 1:54
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    If nothing else, movie fighting is not real fighting. The old chestnut about Bruce Lee striking too fast for the camera to pick it up isn't really true, but it speaks to that throwing fast effective techniques isn't going to read well for the camera compared to a series of measured choreographed strikes delivered in a way that the camera shows them clearly in a way that a viewer will see as "yes, that looks like a powerful strike that could launch someone across the room". And, of course, safety. Commented May 17 at 11:23

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