Discussing the Chinese mega stars, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are the actors who are often talked about, be it for their impeccable martial arts skills or their blockbuster hits. But there is one more legendary artist, Jet Li, who has also established himself in Chinese cinema. Li’s craft as a martial artist was so remarkable that he was even appreciated by the then-president of the US, Richard Nixon.
Reportedly, Nixon saw Li during a show and was so impressed by his skills that he offered him to be his bodyguard when he came to the age. But young Li rejected the offer and gave a reply that stunned everyone present at the event.
Jet Li’s encounter with then U.S. President left everyone stunned
Jet Li is a renowned figure, known for his martial arts films including, Fearless (2006), Romeo Must Die (2000), Once Upon a Time in China (1991), and many more. The actor honed his martial arts skills at a very young age.
At the age of 11, with his impeccable skills, he got an opportunity to perform before the then-U.S. President, Richard Nixon. Li along with his Wushu team were invited to the White House to present a show for Nixon.
After watching Li’s performance, Nixon was so impressed that he offered him the job of his bodyguard. According to Yahoo News, Li wrote in an essay recalling his childhood days,
“As I remember, President Richard Nixon stood with one of my female teammates. At one point, Nixon turned towards me and said, ‘Young man, your kung fu is very impressive! How about being my bodyguard when you grow up?’”
Nixon may have said this jokingly to encourage young Li, but a job offer from the president is indeed overwhelming. Anyone else would have agreed to it in the very first moment but surprisingly, Li rejected Nixon’s offer with a very impressive response.
Why did Jet Li reject Richard Nixon’s offer?
Usually, an 11-year-old boy is expected to play with his friends and enjoy his school days. But at that age, Jet Li used to think about protecting his country. Young Li, was a patriot at heart since a very young age.
When Richard Nixon asked him to be his bodyguard in the future, the boy didn’t think twice to reject the idea, as he had some bigger plans. According to Li, his response to Nixon stunned everyone present at the event. He said to Nixon,
“I don’t want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion Chinese countrymen!”
Since Li’s response caused silence at the event, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apparently came to the scene and broke the silence by appreciating Li’s wit.
Li was a wushu artist till the age of 18, and after that, he went on to pursue a career in cinema.
Source: Yahoo News