Are you wondering what martial arts Jackie Chan knows?
In this article, we’ll examine what martial arts Jackie Chan knows and the order he learned them, what Jackie Chan’s martial arts style is, whether Jackie Chan is a real martial artist, the martial arts Jackie Chan’s a black belt in, and more.
What Martial Arts Does Jackie Chan Know?
The martial arts Jackie Chan knows are southern and northern style kung fu, wing chun, hapkido, karate, boxing, and taekwondo. His first martial arts were the southern and northern styles of kung fu, which he started at the age of 7.
Jackie Chan provided an answer on Quora as to the martial arts he knows and the order he learned them.
Let’s look a closer look at the martial arts Jackie Chan knows in the order he learned them, where he learned them, and the movies he used each martial art style.
Southern Style (Nanquan)
At the age of 7, Jackie Chan’s father sent him to the Peking Opera School, a Chinese drama academy.
The academy was headed by master Yu Jim-yuen, who taught students acting, acrobatics, and martial arts. This is where Jackie Chan learned southern and northern-style martial arts, which are Chinese forms of kung fu from opposite regions.
The Chinese southern style focuses on low stances, short explosive movements and steps, close-quarter techniques, and economical movements and techniques that combine both attack and defense for speed and directness.
The focus of the techniques is to use the hands rather than the legs.
The southern style of martial art Jackie Chan learned was very useful for the close-quarter fighting seen in the overwhelming majority of his movies. Some examples include the ‘Shanghai Knights’ (2003) and ‘Spiritual Kung Fu’ (1978).
Northern Style (Běi pài)
Also at the Peking Opera School, Jackie Chan learned the northern style of Chinese kung fu. The northern style focuses on wide stances, acrobatic, expansive, free-flowing techniques and movements, powerful kicking techniques, and long-distance fighting.
The northern style Jackie Chan knows was also used in many of his movies, such as ‘Dragons Forever’ (1989) and ‘Armour of God’ (1986).
Jackie Chan was at the Peking Opera School for 10 years from the age of 7 to 17. After leaving, Jackie Chan learned wing chun from his friend Leung Ting and also taught himself, rather than attending an academy.
Leung Ting was the last student of wing chun grandmaster, Ip Man. It’s unsure how much wing chun training Jackie Chan had with Leung Ting, but there are several photographs of them together training.
Wing chun is a theory-based southern form of Chinese kung fu focusing on self-defense techniques designed to end fights as quickly and efficiently as possible – which is why many of the techniques are illegal in MMA.
It teaches a close-up fighting style featuring a narrow stance, control of the centerline, and quick striking and sticking techniques with the hands and elbows in order to block and counter.
Wing chun discourages high or flashy kicks as they’re seen as time and energy inefficient, and also easily countered. Instead, wing chun incorporates fast low kicks such as the oblique kick seen in modern MMA and muay Thai.
Jackie Chan uses his wing chun skills when fighting and on a wing chun dummy (mook jong) in the movie, ‘Rumble in The Bronx’ (1995) and ‘Wheels on Meals’ (1984). He’s also used wing chun techniques in ‘The Big Brawl’ (1980), ‘Gorgeous’ (1999), and ‘Dragon Fist’ (1979).
Even in the movies that Jackie Chan doesn’t specifically use wing chun, the speed, efficiency, and close-quarter techniques wing chun teach heavily influenced Jackie Chan’s style of martial arts fighting.
After finishing 10 years at the Peking Opera School and learning some wing chun, Jackie Chan became a student of the hapkido grandmaster, Jin Pal Kim, at his Flying Tiger Hapkido School in Hong Kong.
Jackie started training with Kim at the age of 24, soon after the release of his 1978 film, ‘Drunken Master’.
Hapkido is a South Korean martial art focusing on self-defense with the use of throws, joint locks, strikes (flashy/flying kick techniques), standing grappling, and some basic ground fighting.
Hapkido also includes weapons training with knives, swords, sticks, nunchucks, various staff, and more.
Jackie Chan took his hapkido training very seriously and earned a black belt.
The biggest things Jackie Chan took from hapkido were grappling, weapons training, throws, and acrobatic kicks such as flying scissor kicks, flying side kicks, back kicks, and double front kicks.
These techniques and hapkido skills were used in his films from the 1980s onward. One of the examples of his weapons training was seen in the film ‘Police Story 4: First Strike’ (1996), where he uses a ladder as a lethal weapon to fight a group of enemies.
Jackie Chan taught himself karate after leaving the Peking Opera School, made easier by all of the martial arts experience he had.
Jackie Chan was recognized for knowing karate when he co-starred in the 2010 remake of ‘The Karate Kid’, playing the part of a kung fu and karate master who teaches a bullied kid how to defend himself.
He also used karate earlier, in ‘The Supercop’ (1992) and ‘The Tuxedo’ (2002).
The karate styles and techniques Jackie Chan uses are a wide stance with darting in-and-out movements, and speedy kicks from a distance such as a side kick, roundhouse kick, back kick, and front kick.
Here’s a short clip of Jackie Chan saying he taught himself karate, hapkido, and boxing after leaving the Peking Opera School. Morning: karate. Afternoon: hapkido. At night: boxing.
Boxing is another martial art Jackie Chan taught himself after leaving the Peking Opera School.
Jackie Chan has used some of his boxing skills in movies such as the ‘Rush Hour’ series, ‘The Myth’ (2005), and most notably in ‘Gorgeous’ (1999), where his opponent is wearing boxing gloves at the start of the fight and they both box but also mix in other martial art styles to form mixed martial arts (MMA).
Jackie Chan learned some taekwondo when training in hapkido with Jin Pal Kim.
As an extension of the kicks he was learning in hapkido, Jin Pal Kim also taught Jackie Chan taekwondo kicking techniques because he felt they were necessary for new martial art movies since Bruce Lee had popularized them in the 1970s.
These high and flashy taekwondo kicks started to appear in Jackie Chan’s movies in the 1980s onward.
What Is Jackie Chan’s Martial Art Style?
Jackie Chan’s martial art style is mixed martial arts (MMA) with his base being heavily influenced by the Southern and Northern-style kung fu he learned from the age of 7 to 17 – as well as the wing chun he learned after, which is another form of southern kung fu.
While we haven’t seen Jackie Chan fight competitively or in a street fight before, his martial art style in all of his movies is expansive and mixed. He uses techniques and styles from every martial art he knows and doesn’t align himself with any one martial art.
Essentially, much like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan flows like water and uses what he sees as effective and casts off what is useless – taken from Bruce Lee’s fighting philosophy, Jeet Kune Do.
Overall, Jackie Chan’s martial arts style, while mixed, is predominantly kung fu because of his 10 years of learning kung fu from a young age.
He’s also 5’8” tall (1.74 m) and has a natural talent for acrobatics and the close-quarter parrying and quick striking seen in southern kung fu and wing chun.
Wing chun and hapkido are also two martial arts that focus on self-defense as opposed to competition, and the techniques he uses most in his movies are street fighting techniques.
Is Jackie Chan a Real Martial Artist?
Yes, Jackie Chan is a real martial artist. While Jackie Chan has never competed professionally in any sport-based martial art, he’s lived the life of a martial artist for the past 6 decades since the age of 7.
At the Peking Opera School, Jackie Chan practiced martial arts consistently for 10 years, where he learned southern and northern-style Chinese kung fu.
The master at the academy, Yu Jim-yuen, pushed Jackie Chan twice as hard as other students after adopting him at the request of Chan’s parents.
In fact, the martial arts training at the academy was so good that many of Chan’s classmates became martial arts names themselves. This isn’t a surprise as the kids were made to train for many hours every day and were allowed to be legally beaten for punishment and discipline.
After dedicating 10 years to learning southern and northern-style Chinese kung fu, Jackie Chan left school and continued his progression.
He learned many other martial arts because his role as a stuntman who performed his own fighting in his movies required him to continually improve.
Jackie Chan knows southern and northern style kung fu, wing chun, hapkido, karate, boxing, and taekwondo – and he even earned a black belt in hapkido.
Jackie Chan has also been in roughly 150 movies, with the majority of those being martial arts films.
So, while Jackie Chan has never competed professionally and the comedy aspect of his movies takes away from his image as a real martial artist; he’s lived the life of a martial artist, is a hapkido black belt, has been in over 100 martial arts movies, and knows many different martial arts – so he must be considered a real martial artist.
With all of this being said, take a look at the following training compilation and you’ll be certain Jackie Chan is a real martial artist.
What Martial Arts Is Jackie Chan a Black Belt In?
Jackie Chan is a black belt in hapkido, trained under grandmaster Jin Pal Kim. Hapkido is the only martial art Jackie Chan has a black belt.
Does Jackie Chan Know Kung Fu?
Jackie Chan is a very experienced kung fu martial artist, as he learned the northern and southern styles of Chinese kung fu for 10 years from the age of 7 to 17.
After leaving the school, in his early 20s, he also learned wing chun, one of the more popular forms of southern Chinese kung fu to further his kung fu experience.
He has mostly used a kung fu martial arts style throughout his 4-decade long career as a martial arts actor.
The Bottom Line
So, ‘what martial arts does Jackie Chan know?’
Jackie Chan knows southern and northern-style Chinese kung fu, wing chun, hapkido, karate, boxing, and taekwondo.
Jackie Chan’s martial art style is mixed martial arts (MMA) with a heavy kung fu influence. He blends many styles and techniques together from the many martial arts he knows and he doesn’t align himself with any one martial art.
Jackie Chan is a real martial artist because he’s studied martial arts for 6 decades (68 years old), he’s appeared in over 100 martial arts films, he’s a black belt in hapkido, and he knows at least 7 of the most popular and useful martial arts.