Frequently Asked Questions


Martial Arts & Training

What martial arts do you do?

I’ve trained in a lot of different styles over the years. In short, it’s a mixture of different KungFu styles, Karate, Aikido, Jujitsu, Hapkido, Silat and Arnis. To read more about this, be sure to check out the page here. I'm still learning, so I've cross trained in other disciplines also such as Boxing and Wrestling.

How long have you been training for?

27 years (depending on when you read this!). I started training in 1993.

Who trained you?

My father was my first teacher. I’ve trained with a lot of different martial artists over the years, though the only person I regard to be my master is a gentleman named Jerome, who was an SAS instructor.

I’m a beginner. What would you advise?

It really depends on what your goals are, though I would suggest seeing what’s available to you locally. What you start doing may not be what you end up doing. You have to gauge what works for you. This need will change eventually and you may find yourself moving onto trying other styles, which is always a good idea to expose yourself to different disciplines. I would also advise you to be patient; martial arts takes years and tears. You’re a student for life, so stay humble. Be open minded also; you don’t know it all. Hear all but trust nothing until you’ve tried it yourself. If it doesn’t work, come back to it.

How do I do conditioning?

I get asked this an awful lot. Think about each move you do and its purpose. If it’s a block for instance, would it genuinely stop a punch? You need to add resistance to your training, which may involve stressing the area that needs conditioning by striking it with an object or with a partner. You can also roll a hard object in that area also. However, I must emphasise the importance of safety here. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take your time with it.

How do I increase my hand speed?

It's all about staying relaxed. You also have to practice retracting your punches, not just throwing them out. Another thing to take into account is economy of motion, so you don't waste anything when your arm is out. For instance, once your arm is out to block an attack, you may need to use that same arm to counter attack.

Does your size prevent you from moving fast?

No. As I gained weight over the years, I never really lost any speed. I’ve had the same build since I was about 17 and I’ve always been fast and flexible. Keep in mind that a dancer is able to move fast, but you never consider it to be speed, instead you regard it to be graceful. It’s not about the speed at all, it’s about the application of speed. It's important to know that we're all capable of speed. Think about crossing a road with a friend; if a car comes speeding past, but your friend doesn't see it, you'll probably reach for his shoulder to pull him back at a speed faster than what you might expect from what you're currently able to do. It's making that speed conscious that is the challenge. For bigger guys, it's more about explosiveness and endurance. A train for instance, can move at high speeds, it just takes a while for it to get going.

How long do you train for?

Generally about 2-3 hours a day, but not in one go. One of my philosophies is to train when you don’t want to so that you can fight when you have to. This means my training can happen anywhere and anytime.

Are you and Master Wong friends?

Yes, we’ve known each other since 2007. Click here to see our videos together.

Who would win in a fight between you and Master Wong (or anyone else)?

If I'm completely honest, this isn't something I think about; I don’t have the kind of ego where I need to be better than anyone in a hypothetical fight that will never happen. Obviously, this is not a satisfying answer to most, so I’ll indulge slightly. If we’re talking about a fight in a controlled environment, then we would be in considerably different weight categories. If we’re talking about a real fight, keep in mind that real fights usually happen because of ego. If I don’t have an ego, I won’t fight and for the most part, will avoid a situation that could escalate to a physical confrontation. Though, should push ever come to shove and all else fails, you do what you have to. Another one of my philosophies is to be stronger than anyone faster than me and faster than anyone stronger than me. If anyone happens to be both stronger and faster, I need to be smarter.

Are you ever going to write a book?

Yes! If you want to buy a copy of The Martial Heart. If you'd like to buy a hardcopy, it is available on Amazon here.

Why don’t you do online training videos?

I have to be very responsible and careful with the kind of things I would put online. I don't accept students I haven't met before. As such, I’m very selective of who I train; prospective students usually have to go through an informal interview process first before I take them on. I have to be responsible for the things I teach to those I teach.

Would you ever compete?

I used to many years ago in Karate, KungFu and Chinese Kickboxing tournaments. At the moment, it’s not on the cards but if the right offer came about, I would need to assess my priorities and responsibilities at the time to see if it was viable to do it. Though, I haven’t closed the door on competitions.

What do you think about MMA?

I love the concept of MMA because it is by its own definition, mixed. However, there is a world of martial arts out there; it would be ignorant for a practitioner not to try different styles. There are varying levels of practical skills, which become more accessible the more proficient you become. Many skills you are probably now able to do may have seemed impossible when you first started. Each style will have something of benefit; it’s up to you to learn it and make it practical. If you can’t, come back to it at a later date.

What is your opinion of traditional martial arts in MMA?

Be sure to check out my articles on this: Traditional to Modern Part 1 Traditional to Modern Part 2

Have you ever been in a real fight?

Once or twice…!

Are you a bouncer?

I’ve worked as a door supervisor for clubs, bars and events. I still do it every now and again.

I have really bad anxiety. How do I stay calm under pressure?

This is an extensive topic I could talk about for weeks on end! Be sure to check out my Composure Under Pressure and Anxiety and Counselling articles.

How do I get big arms?

Usually I choose 5 bicep and tricep exercises and superset them. I’ll always do 4 sets of 15 repetitions. I also wouldn’t neglect the forearms either! Be sure to keep a high protein intake also and that you get sufficient rest.

Do you take steroids?

I get this a lot. The simple answer is absolutely not. Taking PEDs can change the course of events in the future of your health. I refuse to use anything of the sort. In fact, I don’t even use protein powder. I’ve been the same build since I was 17; any progress over the years has taken much in time, effort and recovery. For the most part though, I take it as a compliment that anyone would think that I have a physique that looks like it's on steroids...!

How do I meditate?

There are many ways to do it, though we'll keep it basic for now. First of all, find a room where you won't be disturbed for 10-15 minutes. Make yourself comfortable and take very deep breaths; focus on your breathing. As you do this, you will think less. You will the tension on your body slowly dissipate. You can keep your eyes open or closed for this. Any thoughts that creep into your mind, just observe and let them go as you continue your breathing. Do this for as long as you need to though, you can reap the benefits within 1-2 minutes. Eventually, you will be able to do this in a loud and busy environment. The point is to be silent on the inside whilst it's busy on the outside. So when you need to be able to remain calm in challenging times, you will be able to do so through meditation. Meditation doesn't always have to be sitting down in a quiet place either. When you exercise or play music for instance, you're so in the moment. Nothing else matters other than what is currently happening. When you're at the gym for instance, you may breathe heavily throughout each rep; you won't be thinking about anything else other than lifting the weight. This is meditation in motion; chances are, you're already doing it without realising. When you feel you don't have time to do it, that's when you need to do it the most.

How many times a week do you train at the gym?

I usually train 3 times a week. I usually do an upper body day, lower day and an arm day. Each session lasts between 30-45 minutes.


How did you get into film?

Back in 2010, there was an open casting for a film, which my brother and I went to. It was for 47 Ronin, with Keanu Reeves. I auditioned and got a call back and that’s how it all started. Since then, I've had the privilege of working on a variety of mainstream and independent productions.

What would you advise an aspiring actor?

Get into it for the right reasons, don’t do it for the fame. It won’t happen overnight either. Do it for the love of it, so take opportunities, small and large. Never be ‘too good’ for low budget films either; experience is experience. Having worked on some of the highest grossing franchises, I still do student films and my attitude and behaviour will always be professional. There will be quiet times where there isn’t any work, so make sure you have a job; I’ve always been in full time employment whilst doing film work; I’ve just had very understanding managers who approved my annual leave! To start out, you can always look at supporting artist/extras agencies, take classes and apply for student productions to build up some experience. Whilst most projects are unlikely to be your big break, it is simply a stepping stone towards your goals, so enjoy the experience. Lastly, if you’re uncomfortable doing something, do please express it and stand by your principles.

What’s Dwayne Johnson like?

He’s larger than life yet exceptionally professional and so down to earth. He was so kind to me on Hobbs and Shaw; he pulled me up after every take and gave me plenty of encouragement. I will never forget that.

Who do you look up to in film?

I love Jet Li. I met him in 2000 and he was so incredibly modest and friendly. He was also ridiculously fast. I also look up to Dwayne Johnson, having had the opportunity to work with him. Keanu Reeves who was a true gentleman on the set of 47 Ronin. I also very much look up to Eunice Huthart, who is one of the most incredible stunt coordinators ever. Though, the person I look up to the most is Don Lee / Ma Dong Seok, who you will know from Train to Busan. I had the honour of being his stunt double for a few months; never have I known such a kind individual who took his time to remember everyone’s name on set whilst being so generous in knowledge, experience and resources. He is someone I aspire to be as magnanimous in nature.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Ha! Kaley Cuoco.

What’s your next project?

It depends on when you’re reading this! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and IMDb. Still working on my feature film, Way of the Warrior. We’ll make it happen!

Where is the Isle of Fernandos?

It’s in Tenerife!

Are you and Trudy still together?

We actually decided to be friends during the course of the filming. We’re still good friends to this day. Be sure to check out her business, Trudy’s Boutique!

Was that you who got shot in The Gentlemen?

That’s me alright #FatTony

Are you going to release a piano album?

Yes! Aethereality is now available on all major streaming platforms, such as Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube Music. It's also available on Instagram and Tiktok. Check it out here shop.

Who would you recommend for photos?

If you're in Oxfordshire, I would recommend: - Kirsty Cox Photography - Kirsty is my little sister who has been instrumental and key to my career as an actor - P&C Headshot Photography - Psyona Williams and Conor Tychowski, two very talented individuals who have started up a new photography business I have had the pleasure of working and helping with - Zaki Charles Photography - Zaki is one of the most incredible photographers I have ever met


What’s your professional background in?

I’ve a fairly diverse background in marketing, finance, information systems, web design, music, film, parapsychology, sport psychology, water treatment, security and counselling. I've taught business, IT, psychology, events management, public services, film, self defence and physical education. More recently, I have had some experience with Human Resources also.

Are you a medical doctor?

No, I'm not a medical doctor, though I have a PhD in Metaphysics and a PhD in Leadership and Coaching.

What are your scientific interests?

Subquantum physics, psychology, supernatural sciences, astrobiology and more recently, the applications and benefits of molecular hydrogen and water filtration.

What's the most rewarding job you ever worked at?

Probably working in education, in the various roles I worked in. Whether it be academic or pastoral support, seeing students do well and go on to leading successful careers is exceptionally rewarding for me. When I was working at a university, my main goal was to make sure that students left university as better and happier people as opposed to being broken by the pressures of their degrees. Working in education was never easy, just because you have a responsibility to take care of everyone and guide them through the obstacles they face, without becoming emotionally compromised yourself. Whilst I worked 60 hours a week, I never once regretted it if it meant that a student benefitted from it in some way or form.

How do you stay motivated and productive at work?

I appreciate the workload as opposed to stressing over it; focusing on solutions as opposed to dwelling on the problems. Though, I guess that applies to most things in life. In terms of productivity, I write tomorrow's agenda today. I assume that I will arrive at work at a specific time with specific tasks to accomplish. On some level, my mind will be processing and preparing for the things I need to do tomorrow. As soon as I arrive at my desk, I am one step ahead and can hit the ground running. Any variables that crop up are ones I can account for, accommodate and adapt around the agenda I set the day before.

Life / Misc

Are you religious?

I'm spiritual, not religious. I don't believe in anything; I either know or I don't know yet. I personally feel that religion is based on belief whereas spiritualism is based on experience.

Do ghosts and spirits exist?

Sure. There are bands of non-corporeal consciousness that exist beyond what we are able to perceive though in some cases, we are able to tune into other frequencies to have such perceptions. The possibilities are absolutely endless in an infinite universe. In addition to this, ghosts and spirits are also separate entities, though often used as synonyms. Maybe more on this another time.

How would you advise people through lockdown?

My main concern has been that panic would be more infectious than the virus itself; don't let it get the better of you. During lockdown, it's important to have a plan or an objective to achieve each day. If you are furloughed, then this will be free time you probably won't get again, so make good use of it. Now is the time to pick up new skills whilst refining old ones.

What are your favourite TV shows and movies?

TV Shows: Star Trek (mostly TNG, DS9), the Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica Films: National Treasures 1 and 2, Fyre: The greatest party that never happened, As Above So Below, Equalizer 1, Taken, Infinity War and Endgame, Train to Busan

Do you have a personal philosophy you live by?

Yes. I live by 3 main principles: 1. I accept myself unconditionally 2. I accept responsibility for all my actions, past, present and future 3. I respect the freewill of others These 3 are underpinned by the guiding principle of kindness and doing no harm

Do you speak other languages?

English is my first language, though I am fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and conversational in French. I can sing in Russian, Spanish and Hindi though ;-)

Do you have Mongolian blood in you?

Not as far as I'm aware. Surprisingly, I get asked this a lot. © 2020 Dr Jon Xue Zhang