Li was born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. His father died when he was two years old, leaving the family to struggle on its own, with Li being the youngest of two boys and two girls.
Li was eight when his talent for wushu was noticed at a summer course at school, and he began his practice there. Li participated in the sport of wushu in the non-sparring event. He began his wushu on the Beijing Wushu Team, an athletic group organized to perform martial arts forms during the All China Games. His coach was renowned wushu-coach Wu Bin, who made extra efforts to help the talented boy develop. He even bought food for Li’s family because they could not afford to buy meat, which was essential for the good physical condition of an athlete. As a member of the team, he received wushu training and went on to win fifteen gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese wushu championships, where, despite his young age, he competed against adults. According to Li, once, as a… read more