The transcript below is from the video “A Look Inside Donnie Yen’s Workout And Training Routine” by Celebrity Reporter.

Celebrity Reporter:

Hong Kong martial arts superstar Donnie Yen may have already hit the big time with his Ip Man franchise but he’s not about to rest on his laurels ahead of the fame and fortune he had. Yen, 58 this year, proved that age is just a number as he posted on social media videos of himself in training to show that he’s still as fit as a fiddle. He is always looking to create new and inspiring action throughout his career in all his films. “Never give up” is his motto in life. The original Ip Man in 2008 gave Yen his big break and made him a superstar overnight as he portrayed the legendary master teacher of Wing Chun, who famously taught martial arts superstar Bruce Lee. In the training video, the superstar shows he still has it even at 58 as he works out on a punchbag and shows off his slick kung fu moves.

Celebrity Reporter:

Yen received praise and adoration from impressed martial arts fans around the world, among which commented. “Still amazing after all these years and looking better than ever”. In a sit down interview, Yen reflects on the roads that brought him here. His mother was a martial arts master and she used to run a wushu school, so he started his training with her. Yen was quickly fascinated as to what the body could turn into, as well as with the physical aspect of martial arts and that grew his curiosity on how to get stronger. However, there wasn’t the access to information that there is now, so it was all about where you went and what books you could get your hands on. Outside of his mother’s school, he went to a boxing gym in Roxbury, which was an hour or more from his place. That gym was for legitimate fighters and trainers getting ready to compete. He remembered being this skinny Asian kid, being a peculiar sight there.

Celebrity Reporter:

But those fighters would guide him and teach him things. He spent months there. It was an experience that he could never forget. Soon, he got into bodybuilding as well because of the Rocky movies and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was in awe of seeing a physique like that as a main character and it was superhuman. He wanted to put on muscle because he was a little thin. He would just spend hours training and lifting weights. As his movies became a global sensation, videos of the workouts he did started circulating in social media. He explained that the video was of when he was trying to get into action-star shape that he was trying to be a “complete package,” who not only looked the part but also had this martial arts knowledge. He took those routines from books, from whatever Arnold and Sylvester Stallone were doing. He also incorporated some old-school Shaolin training and also a little inspiration from what Bruce Lee did. In pursuit of becoming the greatest, Donnie Yen exercised strict discipline into his routine. He would set insane goals for himself. For example, he would challenge himself to do 10,000 side kicks on the hanging bag, and put it in his notebook.

Celebrity Reporter:

So he would be spending just hours doing side kicks, and at the end of the day he would write down, however many hundred kicks it was. By the time he reached 10,000 kicks those side kicks were so strong. There were multiple times when he ripped heavy bags off the wall, maybe about 10 times. He would go into boxing gyms and eventually he would kick their heavy bag off the ceiling. When asked on how he took that foundation and adapted it to working in action cinema, he said that he used that passion for learning into each job. First, he would intensely study the style that his character is supposed to be well-versed in. Then he’d bring in experts and consultants to help him bring the best version of it on screen. On top of that, he was always looking for new styles and techniques he could bring into movies. For example, when mixed martial arts competitions and cage fights were first coming on the scene, he was in Hong Kong and would run around everywhere trying to find ways to watch the fights. He would chase down tapes. He was mostly interested in watching the Gracies, and what they were doing with jiu jitsu. Once he saw it, he knew he had to put it in his movies.

Celebrity Reporter:

He was one of the first people to bring it into the cinema in Asia. When the Ip Man role came to him, he knew he would be portraying an ancient practitioner, a revered figure, beyond being the teacher of Bruce Lee, so he worked with Wing Chun experts for about three months. He would spend hours breaking down moves and ideas. It’s impossible for anyone to understand everything there is to know about Wing Chun, and to be at the level of the real Ip Man. he would have had to study for decades with no other responsibilities. All he could do was try to understand the philosophies and build on the foundation he’d built over the years of various martial arts styles. Beyond the training, he knew he had the responsibility to portray Ip Man at the best of his ability, even though there were some fictional elements of the story. Beyond the constant training he was doing, he spent a lot of time meditating and finding music that represented him. A lot of study time was put into getting to know the man beyond the legend. No one could have predicted the Ip Man movie would be a mega blockbuster, not even Donnie Yen himself. When the movie came out, it was also a big hit in mainland China.

Celebrity Reporter:

That had an interesting effect because the Wing Chun style had started to become popular all over the world because of Bruce Lee, but strangely wasn’t as popular in the various provinces of China. Within the country, martial arts are very regional, and the movie was a way for the style to transcend that. Thousands of people have started to practice Wing Chun because of the movie, and many Wing Chun practitioners saw an increase in students in their classes. A moment during the series that’s especially memorable was when he went up against Mike Tyson in the third film. It was very exciting for him. Donnie Yen is a huge fan of Tyson as a fighter, but having him in the movie also proved an interesting challenge for him, because he had to hold his own against him. Not just as himself, physically, but as the Ip Man character in the way that he fights. That was a very unusual challenge. Many have been wondering, how was preparing for the last Ip Man movie different from previous ones? As Yen had already established the training routine and practice leading into the first movie, this last film was more about the man and his mentality.

Celebrity Reporter:

This preparation was less about being explosive and aggressive, because Wing Chun is a more graceful martial art. Yen enjoyed the preparation, knowing this was going to be the last one, he let everything else flowed away and just took the experience in. According to Yen, the most challenging element of portraying Ip Man was the transitioning between the kinds of roles played. Going from an all-out brawler who just wants to inflict damage to a peaceful martial arts grandmaster can be a lot. One day Yen was on the set of XXX with Vin Diesel, wearing his leather jacket, doing one-two-three combinations and jump spin back kicks, and the next he was in his traditional robe playing Ip Man. He has to spend time training, but also get his mind into the right space for the role. It can take some time. So, how does Yen maintain his baseline fitness? As an actor and fellow martial artist, Yen was always taking care of his body, through training and methods of recovery. These days he focuses on stretching to keep himself as flexible as possible, because that’s of utmost importance with the kind of action he is doing. As you get older, you’re in danger of losing flexibility and getting hurt.

Celebrity Reporter:

He doesn’t do heavy weights at all anymore, it just isn’t necessary for him to stay strong in the way he needs to. He focuses on bodyweight training, lots of pushups, in addition to the fight training he’s always doing. On his role of a general in Mulan, he saidthat everyone in the film went through months of training to prepare for their roles. His character is good with his sword and a master of Tai Chi. The director and producing staff seemed to have respect for his career and what he had done so far. When he came to the set, the stunt and martial arts coordinators were fine with him adding his own take on the choreography they put together. Filming Mulan on the tai chi scene was a breeze for Yen as he only needed two takes. He felt good about the first one and they did as well, but we decided to do another one. The movements for both were different, and recreating them was no easy feat because that art is so much about being in the moment. His mother is a tai chi grandmaster, so there was a nice full circle element to that scene, too. Yen also stunned his fans by posting video of himself playing the piano and singing Elton John’s classic Your Song to prove his skills are not just limited to the dojo. In his video, he told his fans he started playing the piano in Boston when he was 15.




Watch The Video Below! 👇