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Kung Fu stunt coordinator and star on Nicky Shen’s fighting style and new character Bo

  • October 29, 2022

Kung Fu delivers high-octane action on a weekly basis.

At its core, Kung Fu is the story of Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) as she comes back home to California to avenge her shifu and reunite with her family, which is the heart of Kung Fu’s winning combo of action and story. “We always start with a couple of meetings that get into the tone, feel, structure of the scene and the story we are trying to tell,” student coordinator Andrew Chin says of the process of designing fight scenes. From there, there are a lot of factors to take into account.

For one, Nicky isn’t a vigilante, so Liang focuses on the reason she’s fighting and the emotion behind it. “It has to be rooted in some kind of reason, and not fighting for the sake of fighting,” she explains.

Kung Fu -- “Shifu” -- Image Number: KF301a_02

Kung Fu — “Shifu” — Image Number: KF301a_02

Bettina Strauss/The CW Olivia Liang on ‘Kung Fu’

The show’s different characters’ fighting styles not only come from where and how they trained, but also who they are. Nicky, for example, came back home from a Shaolin Temple, so her specific Kung Fu style is one Chin describes as “regal” and she always carries the principles taught at the temple with her. Comparing her to other characters, you can see how Henry’s (Eddie Liu) street smarts have translated to him having a mix of styles, and Zhilan’s (Yvonne Chapman) training as an assassin results in a more lethal approach even though it’s also Kung Fu. In terms of Nicky’s romance with Henry, that also impacts how she fights. “[Nicky] and Henry have been training together, so she absorbs as much of that as possible, but still keeps her Shaolin principles and fights honorably,” Chin says about how Nicky’s style has evolved.

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