Jet Li, born April 26, 1963, is one of China’s most well-known stars. His father died when Jet was only two. Later, his mother sent him to the Amateur Sports School in Beijing to learn Wushu. After three years of schooling there, he won the Chinese National Championship. Li later enrolled in the Beijing’s Professional Wushu team, with whom he traveled around the world. He is said to have performed his two-man fight show before the US President Richard Nixon, and then secretary of state Henry Kissinger. At the age of 23, Li married Nina Li Chi, film actress and winner of the Miss Asia title. They had four children together.
One of the highpoints of Jet Li’s life came at age 11, when he became the youngest ever All Round Wushu Champion at the Chinese National Wushu Championship. He went on to earn this title five times in a row. Already popular when he retired from the sport at 19, Li was first offered a role in the classic movie “Shaolin Temple,” directed by Chang Hsin Yen. After the release of Shaolin Temple, Li became star in Mainland China almost overnight. His first film became such a huge hit that they made a sequel. Before entering the world of Hollywood, he had done 25 Chinese movies. His first English language film was “Lethal Weapon 4.” He played the role of villain in a cast including Mel Gibson, Chris Rock, Rene Russo, and Danny Glover. Amongst others, the film “Hero” is his most-acclaimed movie.
Aside from work, Jet Li spends a lot of time studying Tibetan Buddhism and religious philosophies. In one of his writings, responding to a question about the difference between Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhism, he said: “Buddhism is all about renouncing of self to the greatest extent possible, and Tibetan Buddhism, by contrast, is about the purification of our basic urges in order to receive spiritual development… that is, work with what we have got, and with what we are faced.”