For action fans, ‘GSD’ is probably one of the most anticipated films of the year. Since we reported about this film a week ago, there has been a lot of excitement among our readers about its upcoming release.

In this article, we will share with you all the things we have learned about ‘GSD’.

1. ‘GSD’ the Movie

It is a 20-minute short film developed by and starring the founder of China’s Alibaba Group Jack Ma and martial arts legend Jet Li. It is a dream project for the pair and took 10 years to be realised.

Interesting Fact: Jack Ma is a long-time martial arts fan and has been practising Tai Chi since 1988.

2. The Title

‘GSD’ stands for ‘Gong Shou Dao’ (功守道). ‘Gong’ refers to gong fu (kung fu), ‘Shou’ is defence and ‘Dao’ means way or principle.

‘Gong Shou Dao’ is therefore the way of using martial arts as defence.

Interesting Fact: The word ‘Gong’ in the title was originally intended to be a Chinese word meaning attack, which is pronounced in the same way but written differently. However, when the word was written by mistake as ‘Gong’ as in ‘gong fu’, Jack Ma and Jet Li felt that it was actually a better word for what they intended ‘Gong Shou Dao’ to be, i.e. a method of defence.

3. The Cast

The amazing cast include:

  • Project founders: Jack Ma and Jet Li
  • Action superstars: Sammo Hung, Donnie Yen, Wu Jing and Tony Jaa
  • Rising action stars: Jacky Heung (‘League of Gods’) and Natasha Liu Bordizzo (‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’)
  • Renowned action directors / choreographers: Yuen Woo-Ping and Ching Siu Tung
  • Professional fighters: Chinese boxer Zou Shiming and Japanese sumo wrestler Asashōryū Akinori.

Interesting Fact: Donnie Yen and Wu Jing announced back in September that they were working with Jet Li on an exciting film project. At the time, details about ‘GSD’ had not yet been released.

4. The Plot

“One day, Master Jack Ma was walking down the street, suddenly he saw the words ‘Huashan’ hiding between the green grass. He closed his eyes and hence the duel with different martial arts masters begins.”

Interesting Fact: Huashan is a mountain in the Chinese province of Shaanxi,  which is famous for its steep and inaccessible peaks. It features in Louis Cha’s classic wuxia novels ‘The Legend of the Condor Heroes’ and ‘The Return of the Condor Heroes’ and is where the novels’ best martial artists meet to determine who is the best of the best.

5. The Director

The film’s director is Wen Zhang (‘Journey to the West’, ‘League of Gods’).

Initially, ten professional scriptwriters were asked to submit stories for the film but Jack Ma turned them all down. In the end, more scripts came in and he chose one that did not contain the name of the writer and asked Jet Li who wrote it. When Li told him it was written by Wen Zhang, Ma decided to ask him to direct the film.

Interesting fact: Wen Zhang played Jet Li’s autistic son in the 2010 film ‘Ocean Heaven’, a drama without any action scenes. They both appeared in ‘Badges of Fury’ and ‘League of Gods’ subsequently.

6. Screening Details

A 10-minute teaser version will be shown in China’s annual November 10 celebration banquet and the full version will premiere on-line on November 11.

Interesting Fact: The film will also be screened in selected cinemas in China and admission will be free.

7. The Theme Song

The theme song is sung by singer Faye Wong and Jack Ma. Faye Wong is a superstar in the Chinese music industry who was most active in the 1990s to 2000s. She does not release a lot of new songs these days.

Interesting Fact: The song’s title ‘Feng Qing Yang’ (風清揚) is the name of a top martial artist in another one of Louis Cha’s wuxia novels, ‘The Smiling, Proud Wanderer’.

8. Gong Shou Dao the Sport

The much-anticipated film is actually just the prelude for the competitive sport “Gong Shou Dao”. Jet Li has been named the founder of the sport, which is based on Tai Chi. “I want you to understand that GSD is not only a movie, but also a sports / lifestyle that I want to promote,” said Li in an interview.

Based on the founder’s description, the sport takes place in a ring and two competitors use different fighting techniques to displace the opponent outside the ring. Each match will have three 2-minute rounds with 1-minute breaks between the rounds.

Interesting Fact: There will be an exhibition event on “Gong Shou Dao” as a competition sport on November 15.

9. The GSD Training Camp

(Source of image: Sina China)

The first Gong Shou Dao training camp took place in the Chinese province of Anhui recently. It ran for two days and participants learned the rules and techniques of the sport.

Interesting Fact: Jet Li visited the camp and awarded certificates to all of the participants.

10. The Vision

Jet Li’s dream is for Tai Chi to become an official event at the Olympic Games, while Jack Ma’s vision is for everyone to practise Tai Chi.

Interesting Fact: Jack Ma was so enthusiastic about the project that he originally wanted to direct, write and act in the film.