Tan Tao-liang

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Tao-liang Tan
Chinese name (traditional)
Jyutping Tan2 Dao4 liang2 (Cantonese)
Birth name Tan Dao-liang
Origin Hong Kong, South Korea
Born (1947-12-22)22 December 1947
Pusan, South Korea
Occupation Martial arts instructor, actor, film producer, and screenwriter
Years active 1973–91
Ancestry Shandong, China

Tao-liang Tan (Chinese: 譚道良; Tan Dao-liang; born 22 December 1947) is a Hong Kong martial arts instructor and former film actor. He has been credited under numerous names throughout his career, most frequently Dorian Tan Tao-liang, Tan Tao-liang, Dorian Tan, and Delon Tanners. Noted for his leg holding and hopping skills, Tan was nicknamed "Flash Legs".

Later in life, Tan dedicated his time to teaching martial arts. Notable students of his throughout the years include Yuen Biao, and Shannon Lee, daughter of the late Bruce Lee.

Early life[edit]

Tao-liang Tan was born on December 22, 1947, in Busan, South Korea. He is a Chinese Korean[clarification needed] whose parents fled mainland China after the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out. At age 7, Tan began studying a number of martial arts including taekwondo, judo, hapkido, and kung fu. Of these styles, he favored taekwondo as it "allowed for full contact, sparring and competition." In an interview, he said he liked high kicks because in taekwondo scoring, a kick to the head is worth two points. Tan went on to win many championships as well as a world title.

At age 23, Tan began teaching taekwondo at the National Taiwan University. He went on to teach martial arts actor John Liu.[1]


In 1973, Tan's fighting style was noticed by filmmakers and he was asked to appear in the film The Hero of Chiu Chow.[2] After the film's release, he continued to act in motion pictures while spending most of his time teaching martial arts. 1976 was when Tan reached breakthrough success by starring in John Woo's Hand of Death, which also featured early performances by Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.

After completing Last Breath in 1984, Tan retired from acting and moved to Monterey Park, California, where he opened a martial arts school in 1987 under the name Delon Tan.[2] He eventually relocated to Taiwan, and later returned to the film industry with the 1991 movie Breathing Fire, serving as executive producer using the pseudonym Delon Tanner. The plot was based on a story he wrote that was similar to his 1977 film Flash Legs.


Year Film Role Notes
1973 The Hero of Chiu Chow
1974 Tornado of Pearl River Tang Also producer
1975 Conspiracy of Thieves
1976 The Knife of Devil's Roaring and Soul Missing
1976 Sunset in the Forbidden City
1976 General Stone Li Cunxiao
1976 The Himalayan Hsu Chin Kang
1976 The Hot, the Cool and the Vicious Captain lu Tung Chun
1976 Hand of Death Yung Fei
1977 The Secret of the Shaolin Poles Chiu Mai
1977 Duel with the Devils Yung Fei Also producer
1977 The Shaolin Invincibles Pai Tai Kung
1977 Shaolin Deadly Kicks Hung Yi
1977 The Dragon, the Lizard and the Boxer Yung Fei
1977 Dynasty Sao Chin Tan
1978 Dual Flying Kicks Su Fang
1978 Snake Crane Secret Chief Escort
1978 Showdown at the Cotton Mill Kao Chin-Chung
1978 Challenge of Death Captain Lu Sao Yung
1978 The Tattoo Connection Dong Ho
1979 Revenge of the Shaolin Master Lin Chen Hu
1979 Scorching Sun, Fierce Winds, Wild Fire Escaped Convict #1
1979 Hero of the Time Xiong Tianiun
1979 Boxer's Adventure Lee Tak Wai
1979 Blooded Treasury Fight Marshal Chow Kwan Han
1979 The Story in Temple Red Lily Siu Ching
1980 The Heroes Si Ying
1980 Mask of Vengeance Cameo
1980 The Eight Escorts Wu Chin Ping
1980 The Revenger
1980 The Invincible Kung Fu Legs Tan Hai-chi
1981 The Kung Fu Emperor Pai Tang Wa
1981 Heroine of Tribulation
1981 Yee Dang Bing Chuk Chap
1982 Godfathers of Fury Shen Wu
1983 Four Wolves Inspector Shy
1985 Last Breath Also producer and writer
1991 Breathing Fire Producer and writer


  1. ^ Francis, Tony (27 June 2009). "John Liu's Zen Kwun Do: The Secret Origins". Shaolin Chamber 36. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Valentin, Albert. "The Art of Kicking Part 1: Kickers of Classic Kung Fu". Kung Fu Cinema. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 

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