Name:Donnie Yen

Born:27 July 1963, Canton, China

Background:
Born to a newspaper editor and a martial arts master, Yen began practising tai chi and wushu at the age of four. At 16 he was sent to the Beijing Wushu Academy, where he studied under the master who taught Jet Li. Upon graduating he moved to Hong Kong and was discovered by action director Woo-ping Yen, the man responsible for making Jackie Chan a superstar. Success eluded Yen for a few years, until he made Once Upon A Time in China II in 1992, which paired him with Li in a fight scene that revolutionised the genre and is still widely regarded as one of the best ever committed to film. Less than 10 years later he was making films in Hollywood - Blade II.

What’s he up to now?
Playing Bruce Lee’s mentor Ip Man in the biopic of the same name. Yen being a big fan of Lee’s, it’s a sweet role for him to play. However, it required Yen to learn a whole new martial art, wing chun, the venerable less-is-more fighting style characterised by short, powerful punches.