Apply It: Jackie Chan



Jackie Chan was born Chan Kong-sang in Hong Kong in 1954. The person Jackie Chan is today, is the result of multiple personality influences, including cultural (The Official Jackie Chan website, n.d.).

One major childhood influence was regular kung fu training because his father believed it would help Jackie “build character.” Jackie’s father enrolled him in the China Drama Academy in Hong Kong where he lived for 10 years. The Academy taught Jackie “martial arts, acrobatics, singing, and acting.” The Academy training was rigorous and discipline harsh for disobedience. However, Jackie had no other options as his family lived in Australia and he rarely saw them.

Jackie’s career began with Chinese Opera, but when that became unpopular, Jackie became a stuntman in action movies. In 1976 Jackie’s uncle, Willie Chan, became the catalyst to Jackie’s career as a movie star, first as a stuntman in Hong Kong, and later in America. Although, Jackie continues to struggle with Asian stereotypes and miscasting issues, he steadfastly continues to explore varied film genres, including fantasy, drama, and romance. His most successful films resulted from incorporation of his input, adding some of his ideas and humor to the plotlines.

Cultural influences on Jackie’s personality include honoring his father’s wishes by studying kung fu and remaining enrolled at the China Drama Academy, despite the loss he must have felt over not seeing his family on a regular basis. Another cultural aspect of Jackie’s personality is his loyalty and collectivist attitudes and behaviors. For instance, Jackie continues to credit his uncle for his success. In addition, Willie Chan is and has been both Jackie’s best friend and business manager for many years. Lastly, Jackie Chan has endeavored to spend increasing amounts of time devoted to charity work, giving back to others, including the elderly, children, and as an Ambassador of UNICEF.

In addition to the cultural influences on Jackie’s personality, the other eight aspects of personality have also had an influence. Jackie’s sense of humor is likely a personality trait, possibly biological in nature. In addition, Jackie’s skills and abilities at kung fu, while clearly the result of dedication and training, also likely benefitted from biological aptitude. Jackie’s chosen perceptions and cognitions regarding his goals and motivations enabled him to move forward successfully. Similarly, Jackie’s dedication to others through charity work seems indicative of an increasing desire to reach optimal self-actualization. As discussed previously, representative of the neo-analytic/ego domain, Jackie’s childhood clearly influenced his personality development and career goals. Lastly, there is no doubt that the series of social interactions experience in Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States had a formative and lasting influence on Jackie’s continued personality development and identity.


The Official Jackie Chan website. (n.d.).



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