KFMG Podcast S07 Episode 90: Eric Lee

Posted in Podcasts by - April 24, 2023
KFMG Podcast S07 Episode 90: Eric Lee

“I don’t believe in success or failure, there’s no such thing. If you worry about failure, you’ll never start. If you think you’re going to be successful, you’ll fail.”

The martial artist, instructor, writer, actor, painter, fight choreographer, singer and all-round entertainer Eric Lee got his nickname – the ‘King of Kata’ – after winning a string of trophies throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s. He has over 100 world titles, and was the undefeated forms and weapons champion from 1970 to 1974. Over the years, his kung fu demonstrations escalated to include music, lighting, comedy, acting and sound effects, and his entertaining mix of martial arts and performance wowed audiences around the world. He would quickly become a regular fixture in the fight press, and a career in action movies followed. One of his earliest roles was with the director, Sam Peckinpah, on The Killer Elite in 1975, but perhaps Lee’s most famous role was in John Carpenter’s cult classic, Big Trouble in Little China (1986), playing a villain in Lo Pan’s gang. As an actor and fight choreographer, he has appeared in over 80 movies and TV productions, and worked with many of the best martial artists in the action genre – including Jackie Chan, Cynthia Rothrock, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Bolo Yeung, Billy Blanks, and many more. Now in his mid-70s, Eric may have retired from competition, but he continues to pick up new interests and hobbies. In this wide-ranging conversation, we discuss his early years in China and his training in Hong Kong; the feedback he received when introducing kung fu to American audiences; his move from stunt performer to actor to working behind-the-scenes; and his love of all things music. Eric is also a published author; his instructional books include 3 Sectional Staff, The Broadsword, and Fight Back: Your Guide to Self-Defence. His latest book, an autobiography called The Journey of an Artist, is available now on Amazon. Read more about Eric Lee on IMDb and his website, ericlee.com. You can also follow Eric on YouTube.

Jackie Chan and Eric Lee.

Eric Lee – the ‘King of Kata’.

Eric Lee (second from left) leading the charge in Big Trouble in Little China (1986).

As well as the martial arts, Eric’s passions also include music.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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