Tony Jaa, born Japanom Yeerum, is a Thai martial artist, physical educator, actor, action choreographer, film producer, stuntman, director, and has spent time as a Buddhist monk. Most of his major contributions have been as a stuntman. Tony Jaa presently has an estimated net worth of $10 million.
As Tony grew up, the majority of the movies he watched features well-known martial artists, like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Vince Lam, and Jet Li. All of these famous artists inspired him to learn the craft as well. Though he had humble beginnings, Tony joined with his friends to practice their movies in his father’s rice paddy.
He started training in Muay Thai at the local temple from age 10. By age 15, he requested to become a protégé of stuntman and action-film director Panna Rittikrai. However, Panna told Tony to attend Maha Sarakham College of Physical Education in Maha Sarakham Province.
Tony gained notoriety as the stuntman for a character, Liu Kang, in Mortal Kombat Annihilation. He pursued additional options as a stuntman, and remained in this career for 14 years. However, he decided to collaborate with Panna on a short film that showcased his talent. By exposing the film to the right people, Tony ended up with the role of leading man in Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior in 2003. Tony did not use a separate stuntman for any of the choreography or fighting, which resulted in several injuries during filming. These injuries included a ligament injury and a sprained ankle.
In Tony’s personal life, he is just like the average 40-year old. He married his longtime girlfriend, Piyarat Chotiwattananont, in May 2012. The couple have a daughter together. Otherwise, Tony states relatively quiet about his personal life, helping him to separate his entertainment persona from the husband and father role at home.