Jackie as a Student

(L > R) ?, Yuen Wa, Yuen Kuei, Sammo, Jackie, Yuen Baio, Yuen Mo, ?,?



   Admirers of Chan' s brand of inspired trouble making will not be surprised to learn that Yu still shakes his head over young Jackie's mischievous nature. But, in some ways, his high spirits worked to his advantage. "I remember Jackie as very smart and very naughty," Yu says. "He always liked to fool around. But naughty boys learn fast. If you want to become an actor, you can't be moody or quiet. You must be more active. Jackie wasn't at all shy. Once he was on the stage, he would give whatever he had."
   Yu doesn't consider Jackie his best pupil however, and is unimpressed by Jackie's success in his movie roles. "There were many boys as good as he. In terms of ability in Peking opera, there were certainly better ones than he. His great success is a surprise. I guess it'sjust a matter of individual opportunity and pure luck."
   There are probably several reasons for this blase attitude toward his superstar pupil. For one, Yu is used to having successful proteges. Seven of is students-nicknamed "The Seven Lucky Boys"-gained fame in the Hong Kong martial arts movie world. Besides Chan, the names of Hung Chin pao (Enter the Fat Dragon), Yuan Kuei, Yuan Biao, Wu Min-tsai Meng Yuan-wen, and Yuan Teh are all well known in Hong Kong.
   Second, one senses that Yu's pride in his movie star pupils is mixed with a certain amount of disappointment that they never became successful in Yu's real love, Peking opera. Yet even though Yu's goal was to transform his students into successfUl opera performers, he designed his training program so students could use their skills in a variety of ways.
   Yu explains, "The old-fashioned teachers pick out their best students and concentrate on them. If they're rehearsing a special play for the good students, the poor ones don't even get to stand by and watch. I let everyone be there, even if they're not required for a special role. I still want all the students to learn as much as they can."
   Yu suggests that in this way he is safeguarding his pupils' economic futures. "In the old fashioned schools, if a student can't get a job doing Peking opera, there's no place to go. I'm more flexible style-wise and philosophy-wise. Peking opera isn't that popular in Hong Kong so the students need as broad a training as possible. With this training, they can open a martial arts school or work in Cantonese opera, or get into the movies. If my students can't make it in Peking opera, they should have other chances."