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Tony Jaa

Tatchakorn Yeerum

Tatchakorn Yeerum, formerly Phanom Yeerum, internationally known as Tony Jaa is a Thai martial artist, physical educator, actor, action choreographer, stuntman, director, traceur and former Buddhist monk. His films include Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003), Tom-Yum-Goong (2005), Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (2008), Furious 7 (2015) and SPL II: A Time for Consequences (2015).

Early Life

Tony Jaa was born on 5 February 1976, in the northeastern province of Surin, Thailand. He is of Kuy descent, a Mon–Khmer ethnic group that inhabits Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. He is capable of speaking Kuy, Thai and Cambodian.


Jaa’s parents were elephant herders. Tony was raised in a rural area, 200 km from Bangkok & as he grew up he watched films by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Vince Lam and Jet Li at temple fairs, which was his inspiration to learn martial arts. After seeing the Thai action film Born to Fight (2004), Tony Jaa met & studied martial arts and stunt work as a teen under the director of that film, Panna Rittikrai. Tony Jaa went to university where he studied a variety of martial arts, from tae kwondo to judo. It was not long before Tony Jaa would get work, doubling for Robin Shou and James Remar in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), and when his demo reel was seen by director Prachya Pinkaew, the film Ong-bak (2003) was created for Tony Jaa, who is now in hopes of bringing his style of action to international audiences.

Tony Jaa officially registered his marriage to longtime girlfriend Piyarat Chotiwattananont on 29 December 2011. The wedding ceremony was held on 3 May 2012. The couple has one child.



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