6 Lessons from a Kung Fu Film Legend

Zhu Ke Rong is a fight choreographer that has been the creative mind behind some of the greatest Kung Fu film fight scenes to come out in the last 50 years. In addition to choreographing the Art of Fight series for us here at jetli.com, Zhu Ke Rong sat down with us to share some of his back story and some of what he’s learned in the world of film making.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong on a horse

Here are 6 lessons from the Kung Fu film industry.

  1. How did you get your start in the industry?

Hong kong action movies were huge during the 70s, the market needed a lot of martial artist and stunt performers to produce wuxia films. I’m blessed that I got the chance to work in Shaw Brothers Studio in the late 70s as a stunt performer.

Then, I got promoted to an action movie choreographer. It was hard at the very beginning especially in Hong Kong film industry is full of competitors, well trained martial artists and great choreographer.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong
  1. What does it take to be a stunt performer? Is this different from being a choreographer?

Well, to be a stunt performer you need to have courage, but as a choreographer you need to have creativity and do a lot of research about different styles of Kung Fu or martial arts.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong post
  1. How can you characterize your style of choreography? What is unique about your style?

As a choreographer, I have to do a lot of research about different martial arts styles and about martial arts history. Then, depending on the script, you can create new and different stuff. Like you can see from Jackie Chan’s movies, he always has new ideas for his choreography.

Most importantly you need to know what the audience want to see and create something new, something out of their expectation. Although Hung Kuen is my foundation, I can even choreograph Muay Thai.

Time control of each piece of choreography is also an important issue because it’s related to a person’s safety. It takes trust. You have to trust the whole team to make sure each kick or punch, or each explosion scene is on time so that no one will get injured.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong demonstrating
  1. What’s your favorite fight you’ve ever choreographed? Why?

Sword Stained with Royal Blood (碧血劍) is my first action movie as a movie actor and choreographer when I worked with Shaw Brothers Studio. It’s my favorite and is the most memorable moment of life.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong giving insturctions
  1. Will you share your dream with us? What is it? Have you already accomplished it?

I have more than 50 years of experiences, from opera actor, stunt performer, choreographer and a film director. I got many opportunities from people, now I get to give chances to the next generation.

I’ve seen many changes in this industry, now we can be more creative by using technology to create something that is impossible in the old days, it’s all very interesting.

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong on the stage
  1. What life lessons do you have to share with our readers?

I have produced many movies, action movies and non-action movies. So For me life is just like script, we keep learning, by mistake and enjoy every moment in life

Kung Fu choreographer Zhu Ke Rong showing some kung fu
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