Japanom Yeerum was born on February 5, 1976, in the northeastern province of Surin, Thailand. His parents were elephant herders. Jaa watched martial arts films as a young kid and began to emulate some of his idols, from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan to Jet Li. Jaa studied martial arts at the local temple school and later under a scholarship at the Physical Education College in Khon Kaen, Thailand where he continued to study Muay Boran, Muay Thai, Wushu, Judo and Tae Kwando. Ja later did some stunt for in a film for'Panna Rittikrai', This resulted in Jaa being seen and getting work, doubling for Robin Shou and James Remar in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), and when his demo reel was seen by director Prachya Pinkaew, the film Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003) was created for Ja. Jaa adopted the English name Tony Jaa. In 2013 after ending his association with Sahamongkol Film, Jaa was contracted by Universal Studio's for a role in Fast and Furious 7. Jaa now has starring roles in several international films being filmed in 2014 and is concentrating his efforts more towards international audiences.