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AlbertV

Jun Chong (Appreciation Thread)

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Grandmaster Jun Chong with students and filmmakers Phillip and Simon Rhee past and present.

Since we have a post on Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave (aka Visitor in America or The Stranger), I thought it was time to do a thread on the star of that very film, Bruce K.L. Lea, or as we all know him today, Grandmaster Jun Chong.

Born in South Korea in 1944, Chong began training in the country's national martial art of Tae Kwon Do at the age of 8. He is currently a 9th-degree Grandmaster in both TKD and Hapkido. He is also immersed in Kendo, Iaido, Escrima, Aikido, and Jiu-Jitsu. After relocating to Los Angeles in 1973, he opened his now renowned Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do dojang. In 1976, he was approached to star in the film Visitor in Americawhere he was known as Chong Ke-Il. However, when the U.S. distributors got the film, they took advantage of the Bruceploitation fad and credited Chong as Bruce K.L. Lea and re-titled the film Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave. The film co-starred a pre-Ninja movie star Sho Kosugi as a Japanese fighter who faces Chong.

In 1985, Chong launched his own indie film production company, Action Brothers Productions. His first film as a producer was L.A. Street Fighters, which he also co-starred in with the likes of some of his star students, including Phillip RheeMark HicksKen NagayamaPeter Malota, and Loren Avedon. The film also starred kickboxing legend Bill "Superfoot" Wallace and "Biff Tannen" himself, Thomas F. Wilson, in a small role. The film was also released as Ninja Turf. The film was directed by Richard Woo-Sang Park and was choreographed by Korean TKD expert and former kung fu film star Kwon Young-Moon, who had relocated to Los Angeles by this time.

The next film for Chong was Silent Assassins, which co-starred "Flash Gordon" himself, Sam J. Jones (who was training with Chong in TKD) and Linda Blair. Once again, Phillip Rhee had a prominent role in the film and we saw a precursor of what would be considered Rhee's best fight on screen as he faced off against real-life brother (and fellow Chong student) Simon Rhee in the finale. The Rhee brothers showcased their skills against each other the following year in Best of the Best.

While the Rhee brothers went to make Best of the Best, Chong made what would be his last film for the next fifteen years, Street Soldiers. The film revolves around a war between the high school gang The Tigers and the street gang J.P.s, which is amped up when J.P. leader Priest is out of prison and pines for his ex-girlfriend, who has fallen in love with a man who is associated with the Tigers. The film would gain notoriety for martial arts fans as the only Hollywood film to feature legendary kung fu kicker Hwang Jung-Lee, who played the mute Tok, Priest's new right hand man, who gets to face off against Chong during the all-out finale. 

After Street Soldiers, Chong took a break to focus solely on teaching. However, in 2006, he came back to star and produce the MMA film, Maximum Cage Fighting, playing the mentor of the hero, played by Chong student Jason Field. The hero is a TKD fighter whose arch-nemesis, played by Chris Torres, kidnaps his daughter to force him to fight one last time but using MMA rules. Chong and Renzo Gracie take the fighter under their wing. 

 

Chong's final film appearance to date was playing himself as a judge for a martial arts competition in Underdog Kids, which marked the on-screen return for Phillip Rhee after a 17-year hiatus. Chong was joined by martial arts legends Richard Norton, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, and Danny Inosanto as the other judges.

Chong and student/actor/filmmaker Phillip Rhee continue to teach at the original Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do Academy. Chong's son, Yong Chong, is a teacher who is skilled in both TKD and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Chong's wife Ada is also an instructor at the academy.

https://junchongtkd.com/

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Bruceploitation210.jpg

 

 

This clip of Korean actor and Martial Artist Jun Chong, taken from the Junkyard fight sequence. Look's like its been digitally remastered when compared to the faded and really scratched faded print I had on VHS. One of the all time worst quality movie print I'd ever sat through. When they gonna release this under its alternative title The Stranger, minus the tagged on Bruce Lee clone pre-lude?.

 

 

Edited by DragonClaws

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Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do Studio, founded by Grandmaster Jun Chong, has been one of the longest standing martial arts academies in Southern California. We are famous for a strong tradition and professional reputation since

 

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Grandmaster Jun Chong with Sensei Suzuki while training at his dojo and filming a movie in Kyoto, Japan. (1979)

 

@AlbertV, would you or anyone else here, know the name of the movie he's working on?.

 

 

JunChong19.jpg

Edited by DragonClaws

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