‘Mortal Kombat’ is a fantasy film based on the video game franchise of the same name and serves as a reboot of the ‘Mortal Kombat’ film series. The franchise is known for its slick action sequences and gory violence. The film centers around a martial arts tournament and features many iconic characters from the games. But amongst these characters of high pedigree is Lewis Tan’s Cole Young, an original character created exclusively for the movie. Cole is an MMA fighter, and Tan can be seen performing some bone-crunching fight moves in the action flick. But does Lewis Tan practice martial arts in real life? Let’s find out!
Does Lewis Tan Know Martial Arts in Real Life?
Lewis Tan was born on February 4, 1987, in Salford, England. He is the son of Philip Tan, a martial artist, actor, and stunt coordinator of Chinese descent, and Joanne Cassidy, a retired British fashion model. Tan’s family relocated from England to Los Angeles due to his father’s work, and he spent most of his childhood in the city while also spending some time in France, Thailand, Spain, and China.
Tan began working as a stunt coordinator on feature films and television shows but quickly earned small parts in some reputed projects. Since making his acting debut, he has featured in many pivotal roles. Tan began martial arts training under his father at a young age and has described it as bonding time with his father, a national-level martial arts champion. The father-son duo watched Bruce Lee‘s films, and Tan was equally drawn to cinema and martial arts from an early age.
Tan is proficient in various forms of martial arts such as Muay Thai, Kung Fu, and Ju-Jitsu. He is also well versed in Japanese swordplay and elegantly wields a katana. Tan regularly competed in amateur Muay Thai boxing tournaments before his schedule got filled with high-profile Hollywood projects. In an interview, Tan described the influence of martial arts on his life. He said, “Martial arts has helped me in every aspect of my creative life. Without that output, I am very unbalanced and very aggressive. When I’m training a lot and doing martial arts a lot, I’m much more at peace.”
He continued, “I’m much more open to the creative flow, which has pushed my career into the right direction.” Such is Tan’s martial arts prowess that he performs all his stunts himself. He has also played characters with a martial arts background in many notable shows and movies. He is one of the very few actors to have played two different Marvel Comics characters on screen (Shatterstar in ‘Deadpool 2‘ and Zhou Cheng in ‘Iron Fist’).
Tan’s other prominent martial arts-heavy roles include playing Lu Xin Lee in Netflix’s ‘Wu Assassins‘ and Gaius Chau in ‘Into the Badlands.’ A little-known fact about Tan’s involvement in ‘Moral Kombat’ is that this isn’t his first foray into the world of the popular franchise as he can also be seen in the series ‘Mortal Kombat X: Generations’ as Kung Jin. While that was a comparatively minor role, this time around, Tan is taking center stage as the MMA fighter Cole Young.
To prepare for his role in ‘Moral Kombat,’ Tan trained six hours a day, six days a week. Aside from doing basic strength and conditioning sessions, he did movement drills, pad striking drills, and practiced stunt choreography. Tan recently posted a video on his Instagram account that shows off some of the training activities he did during his preparation for the film. The above video only serves to reiterate that not only is Tan a skilled fighter on screen but also a master martial artist in real life.
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