Check this out: Martial artist Hung Yan-Yan hanging from some sort of bamboo scaffolding thing. His past tense verb name is present participling. When’s the last time you present-participled your name?
Today we present to you the hairless-headed Yan-Yan–actor, stuntman, martial artist, and action director. While you may not have heard of Yan-Yan the man, you have probably heard tell of Mr. Jet Li, for whom he stunt doubles. If it doesn’t ring a bell, Li played the villain in Lethal Weapon 4. I’m wondering why Jet Li the wushu champion even needed a stunt double. Turns out he was considered “past his prime” (even though Yan-Yan was only two years his junior) and hurt his ankle, so there you go.
It also turns out that Chinese people like to take perfectly pronounceable H words like Hung and turn them into Xiong to confuse the rest of us. So Hung Yan-Yan (up there dangling in orange) is aka Xiong Xinxin. To tell y’all the truth, half the time I type “aka” I think of that 80s show “a.k.a. Pablo,” and fewer than zero of you probably have any recall on that one, since it only lasted six episodes before they pulled it in 1984. But little Mario Lopez was in it. Y’all know him, the host of Extra. He’s all over the TV, ripped like nobody’s business.
But let me tell you what, that Hung Yan-Yan is pretty ripped himself. Here he is being prideful about his biceps.
Born in Guangxi, China, Hung (Hung is the surname even though it’s first: go figure) started jumping and punching things in martial arts school at the age of 12. After training for 12 years, he traveled to Hong Kong, where he was discovered by filmmaker Lau Kar-leung. Kar-leung was filming Martial Arts of Shaolin at the time and decided young unknown Hung would be better suited to have his face smashed in than the star Jet Li.
All I know is I wouldn’t mess with either of them. And I would not make “hung” jokes either.
He stunt doubled for Li again in all of the Once Upon a Time in Chinas, versions I, II, and III, using his acrobatic skills and aerodynamic skull. He has worked in films in both Hollywood and Hong Kong, with roles in over 50 movies. And he’s still alive and roundhouse kicking, a respected actor in the Hong Kong film industry.