Globally-famed martial-art action hero Jackie Chan is my inspiration when it comes to writing. Well, I know you might be thinking that I am crazy. Chan is not a writer! Trust me, what he did so far is not less than a legacy worth appreciating or getting inspired by. I am a big fan of his movies, his acting, his joviality, and of course his breathtaking stunts. Apart from Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Chan is the one hell of an action hero I adore.
The beauty of “Jackie Chan inspiration” is to follow tenacity or keep on keeping on. He teaches me how to perfect my niche and fosters a unique personality of myself. He inspires me to be myself. True to myself.
I have contemplated five attributes of Jackie I am inspired by, and which also underscore greatness of this “Dragon Forever” star, as well as accentuate my deep-seated regards for the living legend.
Five Writing Inspirations To Emulate From Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan once said that being true to himself was the most important attitude that led him to spotlight as an action superstar. He became the household name, People just loved everything he did in movies. Fans went crazy on his action-comedy combo acting skills.
Back in the era of 1970’s, the Chinese film industry was pervasively dominated by a distinctive aura of Bruce Lee aka the Father of Martial Art. At that time, Chan doubted if he could stand a chance as an actor in the cinematic world of China that was so awe-struck by formidable Lee. As a matter of fact, the film industry heavily leant on Lee’s movies. He was an incredible martial-art action hero and was hailed as a world phenomenon at that time. Overshadowing his aura was next to impossible.
Somehow Jackie got a cameo appearance with Lee in the then blockbuster, ENTER THE DRAGON.
The cameo role required Chan as a sidekick. He was supposed to be knocked down by Lee. Chan’s showdown with Lee earned him no praiseworthy recognition, except the nostalgia that Jackie still fondly holds on to. I doubt if any audience watching the fight scene of Jackie with Bruce Lee might have spared a thought that the little skinny guy who was sustaining a great deal of pain in a desperate effort to disentangle himself from the brute grip of Lee would be a world-famous MASTER OF KUNG-FU and fans craving for his autograph.
For the audiences then, Chan was another riff raff team player supposed to be knocked down by the furious fists of Lee.
In one of the interviews, Jackie said he was critically injured by the way Lee held on his clump of hairs, jerking his head to and fro and then tossing aside his body like an empty can. How condescending!
Jackie’s contemplation finally led him to believe that if he followed footsteps of legendary actors in those times, possibly he wouldn’t make it very far. Worse people would view him as a useless impersonator or just an ordinary actor with no unique skill to standout. What did he do then? Well, he reinvented himself. He let his inner voice get convinced of his true potential.
Finally, he realised that all he wanted was to show the world what he inherited from years of strict practice of martial arts through his movies. He wanted to give the audiences a true sense of ‘martial-arts’ treats, something UNIQUE or unprecedented. Strong enough to trigger their adrenaline rush to the visceral excitement. Jackie combined comedy in actions and dressed his style a specific character – DRUNKEN FIGHTING STYLE which popularised him as DRUNKEN MASTER all over the world. Incredible stunts and actions with the elements of comedy became a signature statement of Jackie’s movies.
Were Jackie be as successful a star as he is today had he copied acting of his contemporary actors?
Jackie emphasized the importance of being “TRUE TO YOURSELF” in most of his interviews, attributing it as a sole factor that separates you from the crowd. Win or lose doesn’t matter, but at least you create an impact for yourself that is UNIQUE. A standout personality. Someone who is at least happy that his deed may not have been rewarded positively as expected but it has been the fruition of his character uprightness.
In writing, I tend to be more to myself. I know many people find my writing style verbose, bloated or meaningless. But I abashedly remain to myself. During the course of writing, I tried to imbibe good things from great writers, but I was careful of not to get resigned into the personality aura of other writers. I hate to have my own aura being overshadowed by other people. Even though I write to the best of my ability, I am glad that what I follow is UNIQUE, not a copycat version of my counterparts.
In other words, being inspired by someone is great, but what boils down to a truly meaningful and worthwhile quality of your individuality is how you see yourself from your viewpoints and try harder to get better about it.
On a personal note – The incident of Jackie Chan bears close resemblance with that of Amitabh Bachchan. The mega-superstar of Bollywood cinema today was rejected in a screen-test owing to his baritone voice. He was advised to change his voice or acting. He listened to his inner voice and honoured the decision – TO BE HIMSELF. Now his VOICE is the most formidable proponent of BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF belief.
Practice Trumps Perfection
According to Jackie, his incredible martial art skills are the result of strict and rigorous training at Shaolin Temple. Chan got trained by teachers who were followers of strict disciplines. To gather more understanding about kung-fu training at schools of China, just watch RETURN TO THE 36th CHAMBER. This movie portrays rigorous training sessions being maintained by teachers at Shaolin temples. Students are trained by veteran masters under inflexible disciplinary environment.
Well, it’s like the gold. Just as the precious metal gathers shiny yellow after continually going through thermal treatment and being hammered, Jackie and the likes of him at Shaolin temple attained gold-like preciosity. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of consistent hard practice under the observant gurus.
As a writer, I believe “discipline-way of practice” is the key to determining as to whether or not you’re going to be a writer. Practice trumps perfection, to say the least. The moment you leave practising your skill, it dulls its edge sooner. Just like a knife; you forget sharpening it and see it going blunt in due course of time.
The skill of content writing is like the knife. You ignore practising it due to inertia or whatever lame excuse you name it, very soon you lose the gravity of its magnitude. Result? A blank head.
Practice leads to perfection. No doubt about it. Writing, like many other tasks, requires consistent practice. You have to show integrity, dedication and commitment. Discard any lame excuse you may have that might indicate even faintly that you can’t practice just because, for example, you get a tummy ache or your fingers hurt at keyboards. STOP!
Once Jackie told in an interview that he still follows discipline at home. When he enters his house, he puts off his shoes, gently keeps them at a dedicated place. However, his son Jacy is quite opposite to his disciplinary conducts. He throws his shoes here and there before jumping into his bed. That’s just a small example of how this globally-famed star loves discipline.
In jest, Chan said learning kung-fu at Shaolin temple under the discipline of teachers became second-nature. He never got rid of that discipline he’d learned. He said his son Jacie Chan is not comfortable with following domestic etiquette but he does not conduct himself against discipline. Discipline-wise, he and his son are different, to a certain extent.
Jackie said practice led him to perfect his skills. Things learnt at Shaolin temple runs deep in his blood even today. The reason? Well, the repeated practice under discipline. Jackie is getting old but he is still loaded, ready to knock few punks to a pulp with his kung fu. He perfected his niche through hard works, and discipline plays a great role in it.
A writer has to follow discipline everywhere. Means, it must be in your thinking, your imagination, and in your process of writing a story. According to Jackie, discipline is what constitutes your behavior as a magnet for something good. It reinforces strength within you. It guides you to follow the right direction. It teaches you how and when to behave.
Thoughts usually come in fleeting seconds in our mind. A fickle mind loses precious thoughts but a disciplined one retains valuable thoughts for later days, in your needs. A disciplined mind, as a matter of fact, is curiously-driven to thoughts. It picks up the quality of thoughts thinking of their possible impacts once they are paired with a well-phrased content body. Discipline enables you to follow stick code of conduct. When inertia hits you rock bottom, enabling you to take a nap or do something unproductive, this is the very well-cultivated discipline that wards off such inertia, alerting you of your responsibility.
Today we envy at Jackie’s incredible kung-fu gesticulations in movies and interview shows. However, if we think harder, we understand that such feat is the result of years-long practice done in a very strict disciplinary environment. Jackie still recollects the discipline he and his fellow students at Shaolin used to follow unconditionally. I just wonder if today’s teenagers would stand spanking on their body by a teacher as a mild warning to behave and discipline.
I fear if any teacher would do such a thing, he would soon be condemned to universal mockery and subjected to corporal cruelty on the innocent students. While I too detest corporal punishment, I welcome disciplinary environment and it must be maintained indiscriminately. True lessons never come if students are not docile. And docility blooms under care and discipline. Therefore, write and make sure you write in a disciplined way.
Being disciplined affords benefits, such as:
- Improved consciousness about knowing your duty.
- The incentive of being punctual about when to do writing.
- No inertia.
- An improved level of cautiousness not to let ideas fade into oblivion without being maximized.
- Self-discipline about writing leads to a concentrated focus on your inner strength demonstrative of your ability to make a correct decision and preserve it until task undertaken is accomplished.
- Elevates the compass of your aversion to enem–ious elements like procrastination, laziness, inertia, and complacency.
- Leads to perseverance. Develops your tenacity to accomplish task until it is done.
- Improves your resistive power against sidestepping distractions or temptations.
- Improves controlled behavior, which affords enhanced creativity level in writing.
Master of Gentility
Jackie is MR NICE GUY.
Being down to earth, label-headed, civilised, adorably chivalrous are some of the greatest character traits of Jackie Chan. These are the personality attributes of him contributing creation of unique and admirably great persona among his countless fans all over the world. However, from the perspective of writing, one must emulate that kind of personality quality of Jackie. You may be a great writer, have flair for using expressive and nerve-hitting sentences when you write, but howsoever famous or celebrated writer you may become, if your attitude toward your readers, fans or admirers is of condescending, patronising or pejoratively callous, you risk forever oblivion from the temporary spotlight you enjoy out of your work.
I believe that everyone in this world is genius to a certain extent. Even a rickshaw-puller is skilled. Tell him to ride you home fast but safely, and the next thing you going to experience is the man behind paddle, driving his rickshaw to various shortcuts finally riding you home, safe and sound.
It is very good to have talent by which you can earn a lot of money or may lead your life in abundant prosperity. But there is something in this world that even the richest person craves for. It is called RESPECT. The kind of gentle mannerism you wear when you meet someone is the very yardstick other people use to determine or gauge your personality as a friendly or deniable one. Everyone knows that Jackie is incredibly gifted martial art action heroes. He is a world-renowned celebrity. But most of all, people also recognize his smiling face. Ask anyone if he/she has heard of Jackie. The next thing you witness is the jovial reaction on the person’s face as if remembering Jackie brought a smile on his face.
In many of his movies, Jackie is seen using just a handful of pieces of furniture to beat down his opponents. And that was quite incredible and hilarious both. Most of his self-initiated stunts virtually cost him his life. No doubt whatever he is today is the result of his hard works, perseverance, commitment and of course good behavior. I was watching a video on YouTube in which Jackie is shown some of his old friends from his stunt team. Every one of them was extolling Jackie and felt quite privileged to have become the part of his stunt team.
The scene was very emotional and you may feel breaking down when you watch Jackie’s old friends calling him “Big Brother!” Even audiences and people gathered around Jackie could not hold their tears from welling up. The sight of bleary-eyed Jackie being hailed respectably by his equally emotional old friends is, according to me, is the strongest proof of Jackie’s gentility, among his achievements.
Your knowledge, your talent or your experience is surely a certificate of success in your professional career, but it is your character, good manner or gentility by which people remember you. Therefore, even if you consider you are the best at writing, make sure your behavior does not wear an aura of superiority complex. That is cancerous for your professional success in your chosen career goal.
Let me give you an example –
I hope you may have watched a very famous TV-series called HOUSE, M.D. Believe me this is perhaps some of the best TV series that has impressed me, to the point of leaving my routine foods just to see Hugh Laurie playing Dr. House in this incredibly wonderful, gripping, and impressively well-scripted TV series. Dr. House is unquestionably the most competent and skilled diagnostician. His remarkable talent at understanding people is a hell of a view to sour. A genius who is crippled, in constant pain, in denial often, is touchy, temperamental jerk, and of course insensitive to his most trusted friends, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, and his teammates, namely Dr. Cameron, Dr. Chase, and Dr. Foreman. Point is the behavior of House toward these people remains a surreal mix of callousness and friendliness.
However, most of the times he is often at cross purpose with others for reasons best known to his temperamentality or digressive attitude. Yet what sets his individuality apart from the rest of diagnosticians is that House is incredibly gifted at understanding people, their wants and perception. He is always on the quest for truth, even though he consciously knows that truth is just a mirage and everybody lies. But his rude behavior toward other people not only cost him jail imprisonment but mockery and disgust from his victims, even those who just hate him on his bad reputation. Even though he was a genius, his narcissism estranged many people.
My point – Irrespective of how talented you are, if you are being a boastful, resentful, and bullheaded jerk, or you exercise a conduct not demonstrative of gentility, you risk people’s deadpan regards or contemptuous treatment. You fade into oblivion. Hence, be humble and respect people. Always remember that nobody is perfect and this is the bitterest truth that perhaps keeps many people at their sanity level.
Be Creative Genius
In writing, be a creative genius.
Jackie Chan said in an interview that when he involved in movie-making business, he was not sure of his success in that field. The film industry, at those times in mid 70’s to 1980’s, had powerful celebrities like Bruce Lee who were dominating force. Their formidable cinematic personality sort of eclipsed the nascent growth of many actors. Lee was surely the magnet of all actors in those times.
Jackie said he knew nothing how could someone with no fame in his credit could ever possibly gain limelight for his work, for his talent, for his movie-making skill. Jackie did some cameo roles in some movies, including his faceoff with Bruce Lee, about which Jackie said he was terribly punched by Lee and by the time his body hit the floor as tossed aside by Lee, he felt severe pain in his ribs, to, unfortunately, no one’s notice but Lee’s who expressed apology for unintentionally hitting him.
Did the competition in the market spook Jackie and he caved in?
Not at all.
Jackie said he knew the odds were against him. Whatever steps he wanted to show in movies were already in vogue, as audiences loved action choreographies filmed on Bruce Lee and many other popular actors in those times. Though Jackie tried to simulate his moves from the reputed actors, soon he realized that imitation would lead him nothing but certain oblivion. Then he realized his latent talent. He came to know that if he continued doing things from his original creative mind, things would be quite different. Very soon he involved in his action stunts certain amount of comedy and as soon as the experiment born fruit as audiences liked his comical moves in movies, he made sure that he maximized his comedy-cum-action talent.
Jackie never compromised with originality. He knew audiences would not like his movies if he kept on repeating the same dull story, fights, or stunts, either shown by other contemporary actors of his times or were insignificant due to their countless repetitions. It was the very originality and creativity which made Jackie and his movies a worldwide success.
Lesson – Make sure you write things from a fresh and different perspective.
People love things to read which are uniquely interesting, different from the status-quo.
Being original means your writing understands your target audience. It includes quality information, not the repeated stuff. It should involve relevant keywords without demeaning the quality. Top of all – your writing should be in resonance with the expectations of your target audiences/readers. Do not be a copycat version of other writers. Script your unique personality. Even though you may suck at certain points, being yourself is still rewarding. It helps you how to fix your shortcomings, improve your writing, and make it informatively better. Be disciplined, for it affords wisdom of how to craft your way to a better writer.
What do you think Jackie has inspired you in a way you would like to share here? I think he has been an inspiration to me. A role model for everyone. The aforesaid narratives suggest my regards for Jackie Chan, worlds perhaps most recognizable celebrity. I’d love hearing from you about the celebrity who inspires you in your creative niche. Please state your viewpoints on the blog as well.