Morihei Ueshiba

1883-1969

The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, was born on December 14, 1883, to a farming family in an area of the Wakayama Prefecture now known as Tanabe. Among five children, he was the only son. From his father Yoroku, he inherited a samurai’s determination and interest in public affairs, and from his mother an intense interest in religion, poetry and art. In his early childhood, Morihei was rather weak and sickly, which led to his preference of staying indoors to read books instead of playing outside. He loved to listen to the miraculous legends of the wonder-working saints “En no Gyoja” and “Kobo Daishi,” and was fascinated by the esoteric Buddhist riturals. Morihei had even considered becoming a Buddhist priest at one time.

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Jackie Chan

Born April 7, 1954

Jackie Chan was born in Hong Kong on April 7, 1954 under his real name of Chan Kwong-Sang (which means born in Hong kong). After his birth, his parents were so poor that they tried to sell him to the British doctor who delivered him for a meager $26, luckily the doctor refused.

Eventually, his parents (his dad was a chef, his mum, a housekeeper) found jobs in Australia so the whole family moved there. In 1961, Jackie, who was only 7 years old at this time, returned to Hong Kong to enrol himself in the Chinese Opera Research Institute for the next 10 years to learn dancing, singing, miming, acting and martial arts. At the Institute, Jackie worked very hard, it was normal for them to work from 6 a.m. to midnight. That’s an 18-hour day, and Jackie was only 7 years old!

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William Cheung

Founder Wing Chun, TWC

Born 1940

Is a famous Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioner and currently the “Grandmaster” of his version of the Wing Chun, entitled Traditional Wing Chun (TWC). He also heads the sanctioning body of TWC, the World Wing Chun Kung Fu Association.

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Sho Kosugi

Born June 17, 1948

Sho Kosugi is a Japanese martial artist with training in ninjutsu who gained popularity as an actor during the 1980s, usually playing ninja. He is the father of Kane Kosugi and Shane Kosugi.

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Yong-Sool Choi

1904- 1986

Yong-Sool Choi, born in Chung Buk province in Korea, was one of the most influential people in the development of modern Korean martial arts. His parents died when he was very young, and he was taken to Japan from Korea by a Japanese candy maker when he was 8 or 9. Choi became very homesick and was abandoned by the candy maker so he had to wander the streets as a beggar which resulted in him being regularly assaulted by other children.

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