10 Best Martial Arts Actors: Spark Your Kid’s Imagination

10 Best Martial Arts Actors: Spark Your Kid’s Imagination

The people we’ll be looking at in this article are deadly folk.

They’ve been kicking ass on the big screen for quite a while now and perform acrobatic martial arts moves at an intensity and speed that could make anyone pass out from, leave alone small kids.

Though, are (or were, in some cases) they that good to begin with? More importantly, how did these actors become such powerful and skilled martial artists, their style, and which paths they individually take?

If you’ve also wondered about this, then you’re exactly where you need to be right now.

In this article, we’ll look at what the best in the business did to sharpen their blades (so to speak) and harness their skills. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the best martial arts actors in the business and what they train in to make them some of the best to do it.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the best martial arts actors, we got you covered:

Martial Arts Actors

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1. Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Of course, we had to start with one of the most famous ever to do it, probably the greatest martial arts actor of our time, Bruce Lee. The “Little Dragon,” as he was also commonly referred to, had no specific and straightforward style.

He had a ‘style of no style’ because he was a martial artist with very many styles under his belt. His first teacher was his father, who taught him a bit of Tai Chi. His older brother was a fencing champion and taught him a little fencing as well.

However, his Wing Chun background put him on the map before he established a presence in America, where he picked up other styles from other practitioners. Here’s what the legend was very good at:

  • Jeet Kune Do (founded)
  • Jun Fan Kung Fu (also founded)
  • Wing Chun (taught to him by the Ip Man)
  • Boxing (in Hong Kong, he was a boxing champion in high school. Studied this art further in America)
  • Fencing
  • Judo (taught by Gene Lebell, a Judo legend)

2. Jason Statham

Jason Statham

Yes, Mr. Statham not only has many movies, but he also has many moves as well. He might not be a world-class martial arts actor, especially what we’ve come to expect a mainstream martial artist should be these days.

However, he does have a very solid background and has truly and well beyond achieved what your average martial arts actor does. Here’s a list of what he can use to hurt you with:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (a Purple Belt)
  • Wing Chun
  • Karate
  • Kickboxing/Muay Thai

3. Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White

He is yet another martial arts actor that has got some excellent skills and credentials. Even UFC commentators like Joe Rogan have claimed boldly that this man is no joke.

Not only does Jai White have many big-screen movies under his belt, but he also still competes in Kyokushin Karate Kumite (bare-knuckle fighting) and ranks highly in many kinds of martial arts.

It doesn’t come much more accurate than this guy. He’s one of those martial arts actors who can fight. He’s won around twenty-six martial arts titles, which includes the North American Open and U.S. Open. He’s also a New England Grand Champion.

Below is his crazy impressive background:

  • Kyokushin Karate (Third-Degree Black Belt)
  • Shotokan Karate (Third-Degree Black Belt)
  • Goju Ryu Karate (Third-Degree Black Belt)
  • WTF Taekwondo (Black Belt)
  • Kobudo (Black Belt)
  • MMA
  • Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

4. Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan

He’s one of the people, after Bruce Lee, of course, who helped introduce Asian martial arts to mainstream Hollywood.

He did this using his slapstick humor and incredible acrobatics, though most people filled the cinema halls because of his breakneck-paced kung fu.

Jackie Chan fuses hei long, taekwondo, Wing Chun, judo, and hapkido into his own unique, tight, and choppy fighting style. The greatest stuntman of all time is not a man you want to mess with.

If falling from super crazy heights and almost killing himself time and time again isn’t enough for you to take him seriously, let’s show you the martial arts training he’s managed to master over the years:

  • Pecking Opera Stunt Academy
  • Hapkido (Black Belt)
  • Wing Chun
  • Taekwondo
  • Shaolin Kung Fu (Southern and Northern)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

5. Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes

There aren’t many martial arts actors out there that are cooler than this guy. After all, he was ‘Blade.’ Wesley Snipes has been practicing martial arts since childhood. He’s a serious martial arts actor with some killer credentials. Let’s check some of them out below:

  • Shotokan Karate (Fifth-Degree Black Belt)
  • Taekwondo (Fifth-Degree Black Belt)
  • Hapkido (Second-Degree Black Belt)
  • Kung Fu
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

6. Dolph Lundgreen

Dolph Lundgreen

Dolph Lundgreen is the man. He’s fought Van Damme’s Luc Deveraux, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, and has even made some cameo appearances in the early James Bond flicks. He’s a powerful, tall, and built guy that has a solid martial arts background.

He’s won many full-contact Karate competitions, even almost beating a world champion. When he still only had a green belt, he had a second-degree black belt. Some of the things he’s well-versed in include:

  • Kyokushin Karate (Third-Degree Black Belt)
  • Goju Ryu Karate
  • Judo

7. Jet Li

Jet Li

This is another huge name in martial arts cinema. Not only is he one of the biggest martial arts actors worldwide, but he’s also one of the few martial arts actors that hail from Hong Kong.

That said, he does not have such a varied background compared to the other martial artists we’ve highlighted in this article. However, he still has very impressive credentials.

While still in school, this acrobatic action stalwart became a national coach and has been a wushu champion before. President Nixon himself even asked this fighting prodigy to join his security team.

After conquering the Chinese market, Jet Li made his way into mainstream Hollywood via Lethal Weapon 4. His flowing, kickboxing-based fighting style is all about power, control, and speed.

Below are the martial arts he’s mastered:

  • Wushu (part of the Beijing Wushu Team. Won 15 gold medals and 1 silver medal)
  • Kickboxing
  • Karate
  • Wing Chun

8. Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen

You can’t make a list of the best martial arts actors without including Donnie Yen. He’s one of the best to do it and is one of the biggest, most famous martial arts movie stars out there.

Donnie Yen is well-known for expressing different kinds of martial arts and fighting styles in his films. He’s wowed his fans by bringing his vast martial arts knowledge to the silver screen.

This multi-talented martial artist and Hong Kong heartthrob’s most influential film is undoubtedly the 2008 classic, Ip Man (Bruce Lee’s master’s biopic). It helped popularize Wing Chun all around the globe.

However, what’s even more impressive is that it took Yen only a measly nine months to master this fighting technique.

Below is all that Yen has under his belt:

  • Tai Chi
  • Taekwondo (Sixth-Degree Black Belt)
  • Judo (Black Belt)
  • Wing Chun (trained by Ip Chun, Ip Man’s son)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Purple Belt holder)
  • Wushu Gold Medalist
  • Parkour
  • Wrestling
  • Muay That
  • Mixed Martial Arts

9. Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins might just be one of the most entertaining martial arts actors doing movies today.

Not only is he an incredible performer, but he also has a solid martial arts background and has this uncanny ability to be able to switch from a polite, quiet-spoken gentleman to this highly-animated, tough character when in front of the silver screen.

Just think about when he was playing Boyka…legendary.

This guy is not going anywhere anytime soon, and below is what he’s learned to ensure he stays at the top:

  • Taekwondo (Fourth-Degree Black Belt)
  • Judo (Second-Degree Black Belt)
  • Jiu-Jitsu (Black Belt)
  • PKA Kickboxing (Instructor/Black Belt)
  • Karate
  • Wushu
  • Ninjutsu
  • Krav Maga
  • Capoeira Jeet Kune Do
  • Gymnastics

10. Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa

Last but certainly not least is the man that doesn’t need any introduction, Tony Jaa. To some degree, with his 2003 hit Ong Bak, Jaa has managed to breathe new life in the martial arts cinema world.

It doesn’t come more legit than this guy. Not only was his father a Thai boxer, but he has also taken part in several Thai fights at a Thai camp he used to attend from his childhood days and had never lost the bout.

Here’s what he knows:

  • Muay Thai
  • Taekwondo (Black belt)
  • Muay Boran
  • Aikido
  • Judo
  • Wushu

Wrapping Up

Martial Arts is still very much alive in mainstream Hollywood thanks to the help of the actors we’ve just highlighted above. Yes, some are no longer with us anymore, but they’ve left things in good hands.

Any one of these actors can spark your child’s imagination. Just go out and get one of their movies and then see what we mean.

The ten people on this list are some of the best to do it, and any movie is sure to display some crazy martial arts skills.

Hopefully, now you know which martial arts actors you’ll always need to keep an eye out for.

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