Born in 1982 in a village in Dongming district, Shandong, Li Yuan is the youngest among his siblings of 3 brothers, 2 sisters. His father Li Chun Sheng is a martial arts fanatic, with deep foundation in Plum Blossom Fist and Western Boxing.
Under his father’s influence, Li Yuan and his three elder brothers began training in martial arts since young. Eventually, his 2nd brother Li Bing Lei and he walked on the wushu path, becoming professional wushu practitioners.
His father would teach his brothers and him before daybreak and in the evening in martial arts, from the basics in fist, eyes, body, theories, footwork, stances. They would train every day without fail, even when it’s snowing heavily in the winter.
Growing up drinking from the Yellow River, Li Yuan is fortitudinous, tenacious and unyielding. Gradually, his love for wushu grew deeper, vowing to excel in the field. When he was primary 4, he transferred to a local wushu school, and later to another wushu school in Henan. A year later, he was selected to join Henan Wushu Team, studying under the head coach and national judge Li De Cheng. 2 years later, he joined Henan University Wushu Team, studying Taichi under the famous Wang Er Ping.
In 1998, 1999, Li Yuan won gold medals in Taichi, swordplay in Henan wushu competitions. Later, he travelled to different wushu schools for further studies, including Beijing, Heilong Jiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Fujian, Guangzhou, etc, working part-time as a coach, and swapping pointers with the doyens in the field.
It wasn’t until 2001 that Li Yuan returned to his hometown, joining a third-year high school course. He managed to qualify for university. Taking part in Capital Institute of Physical Education wushu faculty’s entrance examination, Li Yuan emerged the top candidate. Subsequently, the university recommended Li Yuan for a wushu exchange program with Germany.
He returned several months later to start his life as an undergraduate. In the next few years, he participated in various wushu tournaments, from provincial to national levels, winning numerous medals in Swordplay, Tae Kwan Do, simulated sparring, Drunken Sword, Praying Mantis Boxing etc.
In 2004, under his brother Li Bing Lei’s recommendation, Li Yuan, taking a year’s break from his studies, had a taste of life in the film industry as a stunt double in Seven Swords. Subsequently, he doubled for Jet Li in Fearless.
It wasn’t until mid-2006 that Li Yuan’s big break came. The production of Legend of Shaolin Temple came looking for martial arts actors. Li Yuan met with the assistant director, who referred him to the director Du Xiao after a brief chat. After three days, Du Xiao made a bold decision to cast Li Yuan as the main lead Hui Shi. To look for this actor, they have been to various places for four months, meeting hundreds of people.
After that, thanks to his wonderful performance in Legend of Shaolin Kungfu, Li Yuan was invited by director Li Wen Qi to join Legend of Bruce Lee drama serial as a fictitious character Sallow Lad, starring opposite Danny Chan as Bruce Lee’s lifetime rival and nemesis. Legend of Bruce Lee begins airing on CCTV on October 12 and the DVD (China version) is now available on YesAsia. Heze Daily