Panna Rithikrai

Martial Art and Stunt Choreographer
Tony Jaa's Master


        Panna began working in the Thai film industry as a humble crew member, and learned the trade from the bottom up. He cherished a dream of making his own unique style of realistic action movies. Phanna finally got his chance, and starred in, wrote, directed and produced the classic Thai actioner 'Born to Fight'. He has directed 13 films in his 30 year career, and is currently under exclusive contract to Prachya Pinkaew's Bar-Ram-Ewe company.

        Tony Jaa discovered "Born to Fight" (Kerd Ma Lui, 1978) at the age of 10 and immediatly decided to work hard to become a champion. After his third year of college (secondary school for some countries), around the age of 13-14, Tony asks Panna to live with him. Panna thought that Tony was too young and would rather have him finish his schooling, but authorizes Tony to train with him during his spare time. This is when Tony begins to work on films and do various backstage jobs from being a water boy, to cleaning the sets, cooking, holding the umbrella over the cameraman...

        Finally, at the age of 15, Panna Rittikrai takes Tony Jaa under his wing and becomes his master. Panna was living in Khon Kaen, a province in the Northeastern highlands and Tony traveled there and began to study with him. When he was 21, Panna advised his protégée to study at the University of Mahamarakam ( Maha Sarakhma Physical Education College – 400km from Bangkok), a school specialized in sports sciences. All of the Martial Arts are taught there and Tony would study more chapters of fighting skills including Tae-Kwan-Do, Muay Thai, Swordplay, Krabi Krabong, Judo, Aikido, gymnastics, and many more skills, plus acting and stunt skills from Panna every weekend in Khon Kaen. After tough training for awhile, Panna started endorsing Tony into several stunt works and co-star in several films. Today, Tony Jaa considers Panna Rittikrai not only as his master but also like his second father and a true friend.

        In 1995, the Ong-Bak project starts as a Panna Rittikrai idea that wanted to show a new kind of action that would be more powerful. A meeting with Prachya Pinkaew would definitely launch the movie. Tony Jaa, Panna Rittikrai and Prachya Pinkaew have worked together again on Tom Yum Goong and will team up on Tony Jaa's third film project "Sword".

As Director and Martial Art Choreographer

Sword (??)
Mercury Man (2005)
Tom Yum Goong (2005)
Born to Fight (2004)
Ong-Bak (2003)
Born To Fight (1986)
Ching Wing Luy (1986)
Pluk Man Khoen Maa Khaa (1987)
Phech Luy Phloeng (1987)
Loat Taa Khiw (1989)
Kong Thap Thuan (1990)
Phayak Rai Chiang Chun Part 1 (1991)
Pin Kliaw Part 1 (1992)
Phayak Rai Chiang Chun Part 2 (1994)
Khuang Thoe Maa Plon (1994)
Pin Kliaw Part 2 (1995)
Pin Kliaw Part 3 (1996)
Khun Luk Thung (1996)

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