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 seven styles of martial arts and was a high level competitor in martial arts before becoming an actress.
Martial arts career
Rothrock was five-time World Champion in forms and weapons between 1981 and 1985. These categories are not combat-oriented, being displays of fluidity of movement rather than fighting, and are not segregated into male and female categories but fully open to both sexes.
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.
She holds seven black belts and sashes in multiple Far Eastern martial disciplines, including Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo (Korean), Eagle Claw (Chinese), Wushu, Northern Shaolin, and Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu. 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. She is a martial arts instructor and her favorite weapons are the hook swords.
In 1983, Rothrock was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame as "Female Competitor of the Year". She was the first woman to appear on the cover of a martial arts magazine, and in 1986 co-authored a book with George Chung titled, Advanced Dynamic Kicks. In 2014, she was honored with the Legacy Award at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo at HBO
Northern California was her home in 1983 where she was on Ernie Reyes' West Coast Demonstration Team. During 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.
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 (Cantonese: Lo4 Fu4 Lok3, "Fu Lok Law" or "Foo Lok Law") in many Hong Kong movies. Producer Pierre David initiated Rothrock's move to the American turf. David offered her a co-starring 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.
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.
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 (a.k.a. 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.
She returned to acting in 2012 with a role in the family film Santa's Summer House.
Radio and podcast appearances
Rothrock appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor podcast on March 16, 2016.
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, and co-owns a martial arts studio in Studio City, California as part of the Z Ultimate Self Defense Studios chain of martial arts studios.
- 1985 - 24 Hours to Midnight
- 1985 - Defend Yourself / Sybervision
- 1985 - Yes, Madam
- 1986 - Millionaire's Express (Shanghai Express)
- 1986 - Righting Wrongs (a.k.a. Above the Law)
- 1987 - Fight to Win (a.k.a. Dangerous Passages a.k.a. Eyes of the Dragon)
- 1987 - No Retreat, No Surrender 2 (a.k.a. No Retreat, No Surrender II: Raging Thunder) from Europa Filmes and Penthouse Film International with associated the TV Bandeirantes in DVD with Universal Studios
- 1987 - Magic Crystal
- 1988 - The Inspector Wears Skirts (a.k.a. Top Squad)
- 1988 - Righting Wrongs II: Blonde Fury
- 1988 - China O'Brien
- 1988 - China O'Brien II
- 1989 - Triple Cross (a.k.a. Angel of Fury)
- 1989 - Martial Law
- 1989 - Prince of the Sun
- 1990 - Deadliest Art: Best of the Martial Arts Films
- 1990 - Free Fighter
- 1990 - Fast Getaway
- 1990 - Martial Law 2: Undercover
- 1990 - Lady Dragon
- 1990 - Tiger Claws
- 1990 - Rage and Honor
- 1991 - Honor and Glory
- 1991 - Rage and Honor 2
- 1991 - Lady Dragon 2
- 1992 - Rage and Honor 3
- 1992 - City Cops (Beyond the Law)
- 1993 - Irresistible Force
- 1993 - Guardian Angel
- 1994 - Undefeatable
- 1994 - Bloody Mary Killer
- 1994 - Fast Getaway 2
- 1994 - Guardian Angel
- 1995 - Tiger Claws 2
- 1996 - Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (TV)
- 1996 - Sworn to Justice (formerly Blond Justice)
- 1996 - Checkmate
- 1996 - Eye for an Eye
- 1996 - The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts-Martial Combat
- 1997 - The Hostage
- 1997 - Night Vision
- 1997 - The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!
- 1997 - American Tigers
- 1999 - Tiger Claws 3
- 2000 - Manhattan Chase
- 2001 - Redemption
- 2002 - Outside the Law
- 2003 - Bala Perdida
- 2004 - Xtreme Fighter (a.k.a. Sci-Fighter)
- 2012 - Santa's Summer House
- 2013 - Badass Showdown
- 2014 - Mercenaries
- 2014 - Rogue Space: The Adventures of Saber Raine
- 2015 - The Martial Arts Kid
- 2016 - Showdown in Manila
- 2017 - Death Fighter