Lau played bit roles and worked as a stuntman in Cantonese martial arts films throughout the 1950s. He graduated to martial arts choreographer at the Shaw Brothers studio and, in collaboration with prolific director Chang Cheh, dominated the studio's kung fu film output from the mid-70s on. He segued to directing with "The Spiritual Boxer" (1975), perhaps the first HK film to mix magic, humor and kung fu. Lau's work was characterized by a realistic approach to the martial arts. Indeed, many of his films were explicitly concerned with the development of specific martial arts. His career faltered a bit with the demise of the Shaw studio but he remained a respected presence in the industry.Lau is the eldest son of actor/martial artist Lau Charn, brother to actor/martial artist Lau Kar Wing, half-brother to stuntman/martial artist Lar Kar Yung and "adopted" brother of actor Lau Kar Fai.