Born in Beijing, Jet Li began studying wushu (the Chinese term for martial arts) at the age of 8. After three years of extensive training, Li won his first national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team. Jet Li was selected by the government to represent the country in over 45 countries by performing martial arts at various state functions. The most famous, in terms of history, was his 1974 performance at the Rose Garden of the White House for President Richard Nixon, after he had just reopened American diplomatic relations with China. For the next five years (1974-1979), he remained the All-Around National Wushu Champion of China.
Shortly after retiring from the sport at the age of 17, his film career kicked off with director Chang Hsin Yen and Shaolin Temple. Today his film credits include Lethal Weapon 4 opposite Mel Gibson, Romeo Must Die, The One, Kiss of the Dragon, Hero and The Warlords. He most recently wrapped photography on The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
Li is a Red Cross ambassador and founded the One Foundation, a Chinese-based organization whose goal is to develop China's nascent philanthropy industry. One of the main program areas is to help young people cope with mental well-being and find a balance in life.