On 31st October 2017, Jet Li was introduced as the founder of Gong Shou Dao (GSD) at the 2017 Tmall 11.11 Global Shopping Festival press conference in China.

Although the film’s length is only 20 minutes, GSD showcases Jack Ma and many famous Kung Fu icons who are no strangers to us all. They are Yuen Woo Ping, Sammo Hung, Tony Ching, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, Tony Jaa, Shiming Zou, Asashōryū Akinor, Jacky Heung and Natasha Liu Bordizzo. It is a story about Taiji: One day, Master Jack Ma was walking down the street, suddenly he saw “Huashan” hiding between the green grass. He closed his eyes and hence the duel with different martial arts masters begins.

The teaser film will be launched during the November 10th celebration evening banquet for the 2017 T Mall 11.11 Global Shopping Day with the full version premiere on November 11th. There will be a exhibition event on “Gong Shou Dao” as a competition sport on November 15th . Both Jet and Jack will attend the event as co-founders.

Interview with Jet Li

interview jet li gong shou dao gsd

Jet Li said that the film is only the prelude for the competitive sports “Gong Shou Dao”. His dream is to have Taiji as part of the Olympic Sports one day in the future while Jack Ma’s dream is to have everyone participate in practicing Taiji.” Towards the end of the interview, Jet Li told reporters that “I want you to understand that GSD is not only a movie, but also a sports/lifestyle that I want to promote.”

Jet Li, during the interview, said “I first met Jack Ma a decade ago when I started One foundation. As you all know, I started practicing wushu at the age of 8, I always want to share Wushu with everyone in the world. But I have been heart broken for a long time because Wushu has not yet been recognized as an official sport in the Olympic Games. I talked about this with Jack Ma, I didn’t know that he was even crazier than I was.

Eight years ago, he handed me a script and told me that he wanted to be the director, actor, and screenwriter for that project! I was shocked, so I told him to just focus on being an actor and screenwriter. In 2011, he gave me a task to think about it for the next seven years, but fortunately it only took me six years.” 

interview jet li gong shou dao gsd
Jet Li and Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, discussing about GSD IP.

“If you think a person practicing Taiji him or herself as 1.0 and two people practicing Taiji push hands is 2.0, then “Gong Shou Dao” is 3.0. In this event, GSD will take place in a 3.0-meter in diameter ring, one-on-one competition, whoever pushes the opponent out of the ring will be the winner. I told Jack Ma that the “offense (攻) and defense (守)” in “Gong Shou Dao 攻守道 correspond to the “yin and yang” in Taiji. When Jack Ma saw that, he believed that “kung (功)” is better than “offense (攻)”. The fundamental purpose of Chinese martial arts is not “offense (攻)” but to use the “Kung Fu (功夫)” or efforts to protect/defend our home and heritage that is sacred to our culture.

I started looking for ten writers to write ten stories but Jack Ma turned down all of them. I told him to give me some of his thoughts and he said the action must be very real, and there must be some unexpected feelings. Finally he picked the script written by Zhang Wen and asked him to be the director.”

interview jet li gong shou dao gsd

“Jack Ma has been practicing Taiji for 30 years. But I didn’t know this young actor’s (Jack Ma) schedule is the most difficult to nail down, his secretary could only give me his free time between his noon-working hours, but the film must be shot continuously. My request was simple: “You have to give me at least 12 days, 12 hours a day.” He said: “I have never worked in a same place for 12 days continuously since Alibaba started.” However, he ended up making it happen and only took a leave for 3 hours in the entire shooting process when he had to meet the President from Mexico. I wish his dedication can serve as an example to all the young actors wishing to make a name in the film industry.

The film is a total of 20 minutes, I can only say that my role is a custodian monk. I will leave the rest as a surprise once the film premieres. I will also say that this film represents our fruits of labor for the past six years. Jack and I are both very happy to see that it is finally going to be introduced to the world.”

Read more like this