In our weekly series we write about celebrities – artists, actors, musicians, sport stars and scientists – who have some Hungarian origin, yet only few would consider them as “par excellence Hungarians”. In many cases even the person concerned knows/knew only very little about his or her Hungarian roots, while others are/were proud of their “Magyar” background despite lacking the ability to speak the language of their parents or grandparents. Our next target is:
Jackie Chan, the legendary master of karate and Hollywood filmstar
The 62-year-old actor, martial artist, film director, producer, stuntman and singer is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing use of improvised weapons has got a really deep and strong Hungarian root. Although the “Dragon” (it is Chen’s name in the circles of karate masters), was born in Hong Kong, his grandfather was a native inhabitant of Csengőfalva. As it was usual in the old times the family got the surname by the birthplace, Chen’s grandfather original name was Csengő. The family changed the name when the grandfather left the birthplace with the 7 child. Csengőfalva is located in the southern part of the Carpathian Basin at the territory called Bukovina. A strong ancient Hungarian community the Csángós of Bukovina lives there in these little villages. The old Csengő was one of them.
“I used to learn my fighting moves from my father who learned from his father. It is a Csengő tradition as it is usual in the Csángó families” the actor noted in his diary. He mentions that his father was trading with shepherd dogs of Bukovina. These dogs are huge and fearful this is why folks called them dragons there, that is the reason Jackie Chan has chosen the name Dragon for his karate master name.
That area of Romania is very dangerous with many conflict between the plenty little nations and ethnicity, not mention the bears and other animals. The kids learned the fast moves and the improvisatory kicking and pushing style early. When Jackie was a child his father send him back to Csengőfalva to learn the stlye in the original milieu. Chen did it right and used his familiar heritage, the ancient and sadly forgotten Hungarian fighting style in his movies.
Good to know we can see the ancient Hungarian Csángó fight style in the Karate Kid and Hearts of Dragon and etc.