Cynthia Rothrock

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Cynthia Rothrock
Cynthia Rothrock 2010.jpg
Rothrock in 2010
Born (1957-03-08) March 8, 1957 (age 58)
Wilmington, Delaware
Rank      8th Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do
     Black Belt in Taekwondo
     Black belt in Karate
     Black Belt in Eagle Claw
     Black Belt in Wu Shu
     Black Belt in Northern Shaolin
     Black Belt in Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu
Years active 1985–2004; 2011–present
Occupation Film actress
Martial arts instructor

Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock (born March 8, 1957) is an American martial artist and actress specializing in martial arts films. Rothrock holds black belt rankings in six styles of martial arts and was a high level competitor in martial arts forms before becoming an actress.

Martial arts career[edit]

Rothrock was five-time World Champion in forms and weapons between 1981 and 1985.[1] These categories are not combat-oriented, being displays of fluidity of movement rather than fighting, and are therefore not segregated into male and female categories but fully open to both sexes.[2][3]

She took first place in forms 32 times and first place in weapons 12 times in her first 38 tournaments, including competing in "Men's Forms" three out of four times as there was no Women's Division. She was "Grand Master" of five tournaments and came in first place in 4 out of 5 fighting events.[4]

She holds seven Black belts in various Far Eastern martial disciplines, including Tang Soo Do (also "tangsudo", Korean), Tae Kwon Do (Korean), Eagle Claw (Chinese), Wu Shu (contemporary Chinese), Northern Shaolin (classical Chinese), and Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu (contemporary Chinese).[5][6] She received her 6th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan in 2006. She was tested by Grand Master Robert Kovaleski, 9th Dan and chair of the I.T.M.A., and was later promoted by him to 7th degree black belt in 2011 and 8th degree black belt in 2015.[7] She is a martial arts instructor and her favorite weapons are the hook swords.[8]

In 1983, Rothrock was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame as "Female Competitor of the Year".[5] She was the first woman to appear on the cover of a martial arts magazine and in 1986 coauthored a book with George Chung titled, Advanced Dynamic Kicks.[9][10]

Film career[edit]

Northern California was her home in 1983 where she was on Ernie Reyes' West Coast Demonstration Team. At this time Golden Harvest was searching in Los Angeles for the next Bruce Lee. Rothrock's forms and maneuvers were observed and Golden Harvest signed a contract with her. It was two years (1985) later that she made her first martial arts movie for them, Yes, Madam (also known as Police Assassins or In the Line of Duty Part 2) which also starred Michelle Yeoh. It proved to be a box office success. She ended up staying in Hong Kong until 1988 doing seven films there.[11][5]

Rothrock became one of the few western performers to achieve genuine stardom in the local Hong Kong film industry before achieving success in their own country. She was credited as 羅芙洛 ("Fu Lok, Law" or "Foo Lok, Law") in many Hong Kong movies.[12] Producer Pierre David initiated Rothrock's move to the American turf. David offered her a costarring role with Chad McQueen in Martial Law, Rothrock's first U.S. production. For the next ten years she led a successful career in B-grade action movies. Her films include China O'Brien and China O'Brien 2, Guardian Angel, Honor & Glory, No Retreat, No Surrender 2 and Prince of the Sun amongst a roster of thirty films.[13][14]

Rothrock appeared as Bertha Jo in the 1997 television film The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion. She was an inspiration for the video game character Sonya Blade from the Mortal Kombat series and lent her voice on the animated series Eek the Cat.[10]

She made an appearance in the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, playing Hera's second Enforcer in the 1996 episode "Not Fade Away".

After starring in the 2004 film Xtreme Fighter (aka Sci-Fighter), where she played Sally Kirk / The White Dragon, she retired from acting to teach private martial arts lessons at her martial arts studio in Studio City, California.[15]

She returned to acting in 2012 with a role in the family film Santa's Summer House,.[16]

In 2014, she starred to the action movie Mercenaries, alongside Kristanna Loken, Brigitte Nielsen, Vivica A. Fox and Zoë Bell.[17]

Personal life[edit]

At the age of 21, Rothrock married her kung fu instructor Ernest Rothrock. She has one daughter Skylar Sophia Rothrock. She currently works as a martial arts teacher,[18] and co-owns a martial arts studio in Studio City, California as part of the United Studios of Self Defense chain of martial arts studios.[19]



  1. ^ "China Syndrome". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  2. ^ "Kungfu's Screen Queen – Cynthia Rothrock". Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  3. ^ Meisler, Andy (July 3, 1994). "The Biggest Star You Never Heard Of". New York Times. 
  4. ^ Zimmerman, Richard (1978). "Focussing energies with Kung Fu". Black Belt (Los Angeles, California: Active Interest Media, Inc.) 17 (11): 45–49. ISSN 02773066. 
  5. ^ a b c Coleman, Jim (1992). "Hollywood's Hit Woman". Black Belt (Los Angeles, California: Active Interest Media, Inc.) 30 (9): 90. ISSN 02773066. 
  6. ^ Ollhoff, Jim (1 September 2010). "Cynthia Rothrock". Martial Arts Movies. ABDO. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-1-60453-282-1. 
  7. ^ "Promotions of the 16–23.08.2011, in Seoul". 
  8. ^ "A3U – Cynthia Rothrock Episode". A3U Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  9. ^ Chung, George; Rothrock, Cynthia (1986). Advanced Dynamic Kicks. Santa Clarita, California: Ohara. ISBN 978-0-89750-129-3. 
  10. ^ a b Rance, Penelope T. J. (2005). Martial Arts. Virgin Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7535-1078-0. 
  11. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1989). "Sly's Match?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  12. ^ Palmer, Bill (1995). The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-8108-3027-1. 
  13. ^ Willis, Andrew (4 September 2004). Film Stars: Hollywood and Beyond. Manchester University Press. pp. 174–179. ISBN 978-0-7190-5645-1. 
  14. ^ Smith, Sid (1993). "THE FIRST ACTION HEROES 3 FEMALE MARTIAL ARTISTS READY TO BLAZE TRAIL TO BIG SCREEN". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  15. ^ Hill, Katrina (2012). Action Movie Freak. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 246–247. ISBN 1-4402-3226-1. 
  16. ^ "Action stars unite for Christmas family film "Santa’s Summer House" (exclusive)". August 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ Strauss, Bob (August 29, 2014). "Burbank International Film Festival to shine the spotlight on ‘media capital’". Los Angeles Daily News. 
  18. ^ Cynthia Rothrock One Tough Black Belt Mama
  19. ^ The Way of Star Power,


  • Femme Fatales, Volume 4, Number 1, Summer 1995, ISSN 1062-3906, by Frederick C. Szebin, pp. 16–27, 61

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