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Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock (born March 8, 1957) is an American martial artist and actress 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.

Cynthia Rothrock
Cynthia Rothrock 2018 by Glenn Francis.jpg
Cynthia Rothrock in Hollywood, California, USA on December 12, 2018
Born (1957-03-08) March 8, 1957 (age 62)
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Other namesFoo Lok Law
Rank8th 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 active1985–2004; 2011–present
OccupationFilm actress
Martial arts instructor
SpouseErnest Rothrock (div)[1]
Foo Lok Law
Traditional Chinese羅芙洛
Simplified Chinese罗芙洛


Early lifeEdit

On March 8, 1957, Rothrock was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Rothrock grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania and at the age of 13 she started taking martial arts lessons.[2]


Martial artsEdit

Rothrock was a five times World Champion in forms and weapons between 1981 and 1985.[3] 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.[4][5]

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.[6]

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 , Ng Ying Kungfu (Chinese: 五形功夫) and Pai Lum White Dragon Kung Fu.[7][8] 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.[9] She is a martial arts instructor and her favorite weapons are the hook swords.[10]

In 1983, Rothrock was inducted into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame as "Female Competitor of the Year".[7] 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.[11][12] In 2014, she was honored with the Legacy Award at the Urban Action Showcase & Expo at HBO[13]


In 1983, while Rothrock was on Ernie Reyes' West Coast Demonstration Team, she was discovered by Golden Harvest in Los Angeles, California. 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.[7][14]

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.[15] 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.[16][17]

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.[12]

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.[18]

She returned to acting in 2012 with a role in the family film Santa's Summer House.[19]

In 2014, she starred in the action movie Mercenaries, alongside Kristanna Loken, Brigitte Nielsen, Vivica A. Fox and Zoë Bell.[20]

Radio and podcast appearancesEdit

Rothrock appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor podcast on March 16, 2016.

Personal lifeEdit

At the age of 21, Cynthia married her kung fu instructor Ernest Rothrock. They have since divorced[21][22] She has one daughter, Skyler Sophia Rothrock.[23] She currently works as a martial arts teacher,[24] 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.[25]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Cynthia Rothrock biography". Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  3. ^ "China Syndrome". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
  4. ^ "Kungfu's Screen Queen – Cynthia Rothrock". Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  5. ^ Meisler, Andy (July 3, 1994). "The Biggest Star You Never Heard Of". New York Times.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Richard (1978). "Focussing energies with Kung Fu". Black Belt. Los Angeles, California: Active Interest Media, Inc. 17 (11): 45–49. ISSN 0277-3066.
  7. ^ a b c Coleman, Jim (1992). "Hollywood's Hit Woman". Black Belt. Los Angeles, California: Active Interest Media, Inc. 30 (9): 90. ISSN 0277-3066.
  8. ^ Ollhoff, Jim (1 September 2010). "Cynthia Rothrock". Martial Arts Movies. ABDO. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-1-60453-282-1.
  9. ^ "Promotions of the 16–23.08.2011, in Seoul".
  10. ^ "A3U – Cynthia Rothrock Episode". A3U Retrieved 2008-02-18.
  11. ^ Chung, George; Rothrock, Cynthia (1986). Advanced Dynamic Kicks. Santa Clarita, California: Ohara. ISBN 978-0-89750-129-3.
  12. ^ a b Rance, Penelope T. J. (2005). Martial Arts. Virgin Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7535-1078-0.
  13. ^ "2014 Cinemax VIP Welcome Reception for the Urban Action Showcase & Expo at HBO". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  14. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1989). "Sly's Match?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  15. ^ Palmer, Bill (1995). The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts Movies. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-8108-3027-1.
  16. ^ Willis, Andrew (4 September 2004). Film Stars: Hollywood and Beyond. Manchester University Press. pp. 174–179. ISBN 978-0-7190-5645-1.
  17. ^ Smith, Sid (1993). "THE FIRST ACTION HEROES 3 FEMALE MARTIAL ARTISTS READY TO BLAZE TRAIL TO BIG SCREEN". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  18. ^ Hill, Katrina (2012). Action Movie Freak. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. pp. 246–247. ISBN 1-4402-3226-1.
  19. ^ "Action stars unite for Christmas family film "Santa's Summer House" (exclusive)". August 10, 2012.
  20. ^ Strauss, Bob (August 29, 2014). "Burbank International Film Festival to shine the spotlight on 'media capital'". Los Angeles Daily News.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Skylar Sophia Rothrock - Biographical Summaries of Notable People - MyHeritage". Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  24. ^ Cynthia Rothrock One Tough Black Belt Mama Archived 2010-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ The Way of Star Power Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine,


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

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