The 5 Greatest Martial Arts Actors of All Time

 Hi, Everyone:  Here’s a fun guest post courtesy Sam Getter from MMA Combat.  If you get a chance, take a look at the site: it’s a great place for news and updates about your favorite fighters and promotions! – Bill


The 5 Greatest Martial Arts Actors of All Time

Martial arts have managed to captivate us for many, many years on the silver screen. However, most of the martial arts that we have laid our eyes upon like Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Karate and Muay Thai have in fact been in existence for many centuries now. As forms of self-defense, these martial arts have all flourished and certainly helped many innocent people learn how to defend themselves from the threats around them. Besides the practical uses of martial arts, they are often a source of good exercise and discipline training at the same time. Certain names have become almost synonymous with martial arts over the many years, and most of these experts in self-defense are Hollywood stars in their own right. Martial arts actors are growing by the day in number, but there will always be a few names which can never be forgotten, as far as martial arts movie stars go. These men are legends in their own right.

1. Bruce Lee

Who can deny the fact that Bruce Lee is probably the world’s most famous martial arts actor to date? With his captivating martial arts movies from the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Bruce Lee almost singlehandedly brought the world its knees in worship of his spectacular skills and grace. As far as martial arts movies are concerned, Enter The Dragon was transformed into a mega-hit for the non-stop action provided by Bruce and co. It was certainly a tragedy when this talented man was taken away from the world in 1973 at the mere age of 32. Regardless, the legend of Bruce Lee will live forever in the hearts of fans.

2. Jackie Chan

With all the jokes being made by this funnyman, he might not be on top of the list when you think of martial artists per se. However, his humorous and humble demeanor hides the fact that Jackie Chan is one of the top-grossing martial arts movie stars in the world today. With his advanced background in martial arts and acrobatics, Jackie Chan is known throughout the world as one of the very few men who never uses a stunt-double and always does his own stunts in all his movies. In fact, he held the world record for the most stunts done by a living actor. With his repertoire of impressive movies like Who Am I?, New Police Story and Rush Hour, Jackie Chan has certainly made his mark as a martial arts legend.

3. Jean Claude Van Damme

This Belgian martial arts expert is trained in kickboxing, Taekwondo, karate, Muay Thai as well as being an ex-body builder. He has a very impressive professional kickboxing career, with 18 wins, all by knockout and just one defeat in all. His bodybuilding prowess was also crowned with a Mr. Belgium title. As the muscle behind movies like Double Impact and Universal Soldier, he has certainly held his own against other martial arts actors in terms of box office earnings. With nicknames like Van Damage and The Muscles From Brussels, it is no wonder that Jean Claude Van Damme has always garnered the attention of martial arts fans worldwide.

4. Jet Li

This China-born legend is a master of wushu, the ancient Chinese martial art of self-defense He has certainly rung in the dollars at the box office, with many feature films grossing large payouts with his name in the fore. Jet Li is renowned all over the world for his martial arts skills, as well as his deftness in fighting and his powerful strength despite a smaller stature than most martial artists. Lethal Weapon 4 paved the way for him back in 1998, and Jet Li has only gotten better with time. Movies like Romeo Must Die, The Expendables and The Forbidden Kingdom are just a few examples of the great movies that Jet Li has starred in.

5. Steven Seagal

This man’s career in martial arts has certainly influenced a lot of young people to pick up some form of self-defense class at some point or rather. Steven Seagal has been a top-rated aikido master since his late teens, and has been credited in many martial arts movies for the impressive feat of drawing in viewers by the millions.  Above The Law, Hard To Kill and Out For Justice are just a few of the movies that made Steven Seagal one of the most famous martial arts Hollywood stars around.

A list of 5 scarcely does justice to the great martial artists which have come about in the past years. Great martial arts actors like Michael Jay White, Tony Jaa and Donnie Yen have all broken the mould in terms of popularity in the world of martial art movies, and they also deserve an honorary mention. There will never be a shortage of new martial arts experts coming up in the future. However, the names mentioned here will always be known as the greatest martial arts movie stars ever.

This is a guest post by Sam Getter, occasional guest poster and full time Martial Arts enthusiast.  Sam is currently working for mma combat a great source for any free UFC fight videos and Mixed Martial Arts news. 

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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9 Responses to The 5 Greatest Martial Arts Actors of All Time

  1. Jason Bell says:

    where’s Chuck?

    • The problem with Chuck is that he’s not acting. He really kills all those people in his movies.

      PS – If Sonny makes a movie, he will automatically take the #1 spot.

  2. erexkiss says:

    Chuck hasn’t been in the hollywood scope recently, but with the Expendables II it might change:-)

  3. Hey, I love Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. But Steven Seagal? He may inspire people to consider self-defense, but I see his movies as brawling.
    Check out Sammo Hung or Yuen Biao. They did some movies with Jackie Chan that fabulous.

    • I hear Seagal was especially tough on his stunt men, too. I never thought of Aikido as a brawling style, but you may be on to something with him. Still, he’s taught Anderson and Lyoto a lot, so . . .

      • I don’t mean to imply that Aikido is a brawling style, because it is not. In fact, the demonstrations that i have watched are very fluid and technical. I am just saying that Seagal does not do the style any justice. In my opinion, he just runs around in his movies slugging people and breaking bones.

  4. Yeah. Seagal doesn’t really run too fast at that!

  5. Pingback: BJJ Training | Pass Guard Side Control | Martial Art Training | World of Martial Arts

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