Jackie Chan is a role model to thousands of martial arts and action cinema lovers. He inspired countless kids and adults around the world to get into martial arts. But which ones does Jackie Chan use?

Jackie Chan uses a mix of martial arts, including Hapkido, Wing Chun, Karate, and Boxing. He also incorporates Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, and Kung Fu—all mixed with acrobatic gymnastics. He refers to his style as “a mix of everything.” 

The rest of this article will go more in-depth about Jackie Chan’s training and what shaped his unique fighting style. Let’s unveil the martial arts behind his amazing stunts.

The Fighting Styles of Jackie Chan

You can’t pinpoint Jackie Chan to a specific martial art. He developed his fighting style throughout his entire career, mixing Wing Chun, Hapkido, Boxing, Karate, Taekwondo, and many others. 

His style varies depending on the movie he is shooting. For example, in Drunken Master, he uses different imitative styles of Shaolin Kung Fu. These include the snake, the praying mantis, and the monkey. But in particular zuì quán, or Drunken Boxing—a style that emulates the moves of a drunk person.

In Rumble In The Bronx, he uses Wing Chun, a Southern martial art that he learned from Master Leung Ting. Overall, he uses different traditional Shaolin Kung Fu styles in most of his movies. 

Jack wrote that he learned both the Northern and Southern styles during his time at Peking Chinese Opera. He uses the Northern style for legwork, kicking, and acrobatics, and the Southern for close fighting scenes that require rapid and powerful arm movements. 

Jackie said that to make his movies more entertaining, he enhanced his style by using “weapons” all around him. In his movies, you’ll see him fight with all kinds of objects, from chairs to brooms and ladders. This not only adds flair to his stunts but also enhances the comedy of his action sequences.

Was Jackie Chan Trained in Martial Arts?

Jackie Chan received formal martial arts training in hapkido. However, he studied many martial arts throughout his life, especially during his time in Chinese opera.

The only formal martial art training Jackie Chan received was in Hapkido. He learned under the master Jin Pal Kim, himself a famous Kung Fu movie star in Hong Kong. However, Jackie Chan trained extensively in martial arts throughout his life.  

He started his martial arts training under his father, Charles Chan. He taught Jackie the art of Kung Kar, a rare Shaolin style. He later continued his martial art training at the drama academy. 

Drama academy

As a kid, he studied Traditional Chinese opera for ten years under the guidance of Master Yu Jim-yuen. Unlike European opera, which focuses primarily on music, Chinese opera is divided into four elements: singing, dancing, acrobatics, and martial arts. 

The fighting style displays precise, strong, yet flashy punches and kicks. It’s an acrobatic dance to entertain the audience, but it still requires very rigorous training. The movements must be perfectly synchronized and executed. 

At the Peking Opera School, Jackie learned how to fight acrobatically and rhythmically. The influence of this training is evident throughout his career. It’s especially evident in the elaborate choreography and impeccable rhythm of many combat scenes.  

Jackie excelled at both martial arts and acrobatic gymnastics from a young age. He was one of the seven most capable students of his school, also known as the Seven Little Fortunes. With his friends Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, he performed in theaters and participated as extras in movies. He famously opposed Bruce Lee in the film Enter the Dragon—and lost the fight, as the script said!

Hapkido

After entering the film industry and his early success Drunken Monkey, Jackie and his friends started training in Hapkido under the master Jin Pal Kim. Jackie perfected his self-defense kicking techniques at the Flying Tiger hapkido school and attained a black belt. 

The reason why Jackie and his friends trained with Kim was, indirectly, Bruce Lee. 

Before Bruce Lee came along, most Kung Fu movies only displayed low to mid-range kicks. But Bruce Lee changed that, together with how action movies were filmed. He had learned how to do high jumping kicks by training in Taekwondo with Master Jhoon Rhee. He introduced it to the Hong Kong movie scene. 

People were crazy for those flashy jump kicks. Every other martial artist actor had to get on board with them. They needed to learn Lee’s kicking techniques. 

This is why Jim Pal Kim’s Hapkido school became so popular. He was known for his precise and dynamic kicking style. Under Kim, Jackie Chan specialized in several acrobatic techniques such as flying side and back kicks, double front kicks, and flying scissors kicks.

One of his most successful techniques was “eagle jumps and catches its prey.” As displayed in many of his iconic movies, the kick is performed by jumping on an upcoming opponent’s thigh. Jackie would kick the opponent’s head or deliver an ax kick.

Other

Although Hapkido was Jackie Chan’s only formal training, later on he autonomously learned other martial arts like karate and boxing. He mastered some of these styles to increase his speed in front of the camera.

Is Jackie Chan a Real Martial Artist?

Jackie Chan is a real martial artist. He has legitimate training in a variety of disciplines. However, he’s not a professional fighter.

Some people argue that Jackie Chan is not a real martial artist due to his sometimes comic fighting style. But the facts show that he is. As stated earlier, he trained professionally in Hapkido, attaining a black belt. His Chinese Opera training also makes him a real martial artist, even though he did not receive a belt.

Jackie’s primary career focus has always been acting. He is an entertainer first and a martial artist second. Maybe he could not compete in today’s MMA arenas, but that was never his goal. Instead, he is one of the greatest martial art choreographers of all time and an iconic movie star. 

He popularized traditional Chinese Kung Fu by mixing it with comedy, improvisation, and aerobic rhythm. If it weren’t for his entertaining style, he wouldn’t have brought martial arts to as many people as he did.

Jackie Chann’s influence is especially felt in the West. Together with other icons like Bruce Lee, he acted as a bridge between Hong Kong action cinema and Hollywood. He started directing feature films in Hong Kong, but he eventually came to work on American productions. His acrobatic fighting style would later prove to be an influence in Western cinema.

Final Thoughts

Jackie Chan is one of the most loved Kung Fu movie stars. He mastered all kinds of martial arts throughout his career. Some he studied professionally, others on his own. 

He used Wing Chun, Karate, Boxing, and everything in between in his movies. You could say that his style transcended any label! 

There is no doubt that his spectacular kicks and perfectly executed choreographies will continue to inspire kids and adults alike for generations to come.

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