Martial artist and Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen was born to newspaper editor Klyster Yen and martial arts master Bow Sim Mark. At the age of four Yen started taking up martial arts from his mother, who taught him wushu and tai chi until the age of eleven when his family emigrated to Boston, MA. From there he continued mastering wushi and tai chi...
“ Wushu, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing (Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
trained for two years with the Beijing Wushu Team ” - shaunalexanderrb
Scott Edward Adkins was born on June 17, 1976 in Sutton Coldfield, England, into a family that for generations were butchers. Along with his elder brother Craig, he was raised by their parents, John and Janet (Sanders) Adkins, in a loving middle-class family. Scott attended Bishop Vesey's Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield...
“ Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Jujitsu (black belts in all styles), Kickboxing, Wushu, Krav Maga
as a young man, he built and regularly bowed to a shrine dedicated to Bruce Lee ” - shaunalexanderrb
Bruce Lee remains the greatest icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure of modern popular media. Had it not been for Bruce Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, it's arguable whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced mainstream North American and European cinema and audiences the way it has over the past four decades...
“ Wing Chun (Hong Kong Boxing Champion; 2-time Long Beach International Karate Champion; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Jeet Kune Do (founder)
despite his amazing physical capabilities, Lee only had five years of professional martial arts training ” - shaunalexanderrb
Bolo Yeung was born in China. He began his martial arts training at the age of 10. Growing up he took an interest in bodybuilding. Later he became know as Chinese Hercules after becoming Mr. Hong Kong bodybuilding champion. He held the title for ten years. Because of his impressively muscular physique he was chosen for several bad guy movie roles...
“ Wing Chun, Tai Chi
former Chinese National Powerlifting Champion ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born in Philadelphia, Michael came from a line of German sailors on one side and American Delaware Indians on the other. As a 10 year old Michael directed his first film entitle The Tire. It was shot with a super-8 camera his mother bought him. He continued making short films into his late teens. During his early teens...
“ Tang Soo Do (1st Dan), Escrima, Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Aikido, Judo
was the body model for Charlton Heston for the "Planet of the Apes" re-issue poster ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jeff was born in Toronto, Canada and attended Ryerson University for Theatre. He worked on stage in Anne Of A Thousand Days, Play It Again Sam, Romeo and Juliet and in the Toronto Premier of Martin Sherman's play Bent. He moved to New York to study with Stella Adler, Michael Kahn, and Eli Rill. Director Paul Lynch cast him in the horror film classic Prom Night (1980)...
“ Shotokan Karate (5th Dan; Ontario Open & North American Open Champion), Tae Kwon Do (1st Dan)
once thwarted a mugging in New York City with his younger brother, fellow actor Michael Wincott ” - shaunalexanderrb
Don "The Dragon" Wilson is considered the greatest kick-boxing champion in the sport's history. A native of South Florida, Wilson began fighting in the late 1970s. In a career which spanned 4 decades, he won 11 world kick-boxing championships, among them the WKA, STAR, WKC, PKO Lightheavyweight World Championships...
“ Kickboxing (3-time WKO Champion; WKA, STAR, WKC, PKO, KICK, IKF, ISKA, & FCR World Light Heavyweight Champion; record: 72-5-2; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Pai Lum, Goju-Ryu Karate
producer Roger Corman “arranged” a fight between Wilson and Jean-Claude Van Damme when Van Damme claimed to hold a title occupied by Wilson; Van Damme consequently came clean ” - shaunalexanderrb
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White is an American actor and martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn. White portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy...
“ Kyokushin, Goju-Ryu & Shotokan Karate (3rd Dan), Kobudo, Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do, Wushu (black belts in all styles; 26 titles including US Open and North American Open)
has trained in martial arts since age 8 ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, to Eliana and Eugène Van Varenberg, an accountant. "The Muscles from Brussels" started martial arts at the age of eleven. His father introduced him to martial arts when he saw his son was physically weak...
“ Shotokan Karate, Kickboxing (European PKA Middleweight Champion; member of Belgium National Team; record: 18-1), Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai
after being sued for injuring an actor on the set "Cyborg", he has often insisted his fight scenes be filmed outside of America to avoid legal trouble ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jerry Trimble Jr. was born in Newport, Kentucky. At age 13 he was inspired by the late Bruce Lee and began studying the Korean art of Taekwon-Do. In six months he began teaching the art. At 15 Jerry earned the rank of first-degree black belt and became the number one point fighter in the Midwest U.S. At 18, he started Kickboxing and won the "Kentucky State Championship"...
“ Kickboxing (Southeast & United States Champion; PKA & PKC Light/Welterweight Champion; Kentucky State Champion; record: 36-2), Tae Kwon Do (6th Dan)
is officially one of the fastest kickers in the world, with a hook kick clocking 118 MPH ” - shaunalexanderrb
When he was 13 years old, he joined an entertainment troupe on tour of Singapore. During these years he began to study performing. In 1932 he debuted in the film "Gor Nui Ching Chiu" ("Sentimental Song of Companions' Tide") playing a bit part, shot in San Francisco (USA). Soon he came back to Hong Kong to participate in anti-Japanese opposition movement...
“ White Crane, Hung Gar
portrayed the Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-Hung over 70 times in film; Wong's last wife gave her approval by declaring he looked exactly like her late husband ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. Statham has done quite a lot in a short time. He has been a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished 12th in the World Championships in 1992. He has also been a fashion model...
“ Mixed Martial Arts, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
former member of British National Diving Team; he placed 12th in the '92 World Championships ” - shaunalexanderrb
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...
“ Muay Boran, Tae Kwon Do
on hiatus from filmmaking to study Buddhism at a temple in Surin, Thailand ” - shaunalexanderrb
Action film star Gary Daniels was a real-life kick-boxing champion. With rugged good-looks, a muscular build and a charming personality, it was a natural for him to move from the world of fighting to that of acting. Born Gary Edward Daniels on May 9, 1963 in Woking, Surrey, England, Daniels was a childhood fan of legendary martial arts film star Bruce Lee
“ Kickboxing (WKBA Champion & PKA Light Heavyweight Champion; record: 22-4), Tae Kwon Do (1st Dan), Sillum Wong Gar Kune, Muay Thai, Karate, Aikido, Judo
was disqualified three times from Tae Kwon Do tournaments in England for knocking out his opponents ” - shaunalexanderrb
Dolph Lundgren was born in Stockholm, Sweden, to Sigrid Birgitta (Tjerneld), a language teacher, and Karl Johan Hugo Lundgren, an engineer and economist for the Swedish government. He lived in Stockholm until the age of 13, when he moved in with his grandparents in Nyland, Ångermanland, Sweden. Despite an early interest in music and the fine arts...
“ Kyokushin & Goju-Ryu Karate (3rd Dan; captain of Swedish Karate Team; 5-time Swedish/British/Australian Open Champion), Tae Kwon Do, Judo
former personal bodyguard of Grace Jones, whom he lived with for four years ” - shaunalexanderrb
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
Born in Hong Kong, Sammo Hung's acting career began while he was training in acrobatics, martial arts and dance as a child at the China Drama Academy, and he received acclaim for his performance with a troupe called "The Seven Little Fortunes." He made his feature film debut as an actor at the age of 12...
“ Wing Chun, Judo, Hapkido
the distinctive scar on his upper lip is the result of a legitimate street fight in Kowloon ” - shaunalexanderrb
Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success via his early beginnings in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry. Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on Hong Kong's famous Victoria Peak on April 7...
“ Karate, Hapkido, Judo, Tae Kwon Do (Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
does not feint blows in his movies; his onscreen opponents are often required to wear padding on account of Chan hitting them in earnest ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens, he was already a national coach...
“ Wushu (Chinese National Champion; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Baguazhang, Tai Chi, Xingyiquan, Zui Quan, Tang Lang Quan
an impressed Richard Nixon jokingly requested Li be his personal bodyguard after watching him perform in the United States at age 11 ” - shaunalexanderrb
Steven Seagal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome (often with ponytail) action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. film Above the Law
. Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical technician...
“ Aikido (7th Dan; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Kenjutsu, Karate, Judo
was the first American to operate a dojo in Japan ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tang Soo Do (6th Dan), Tae Kwon Do, Eagle Claw, Wushu, Northern Shaolin, Pai Lum (black belts in all disciplines; 5-time World Champion in Weapons & Forms; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
remains the only Weapons & Forms Champion to win the title 5 years in a row ” - shaunalexanderrb
Muscular African American sports star, actor, media identity and inventor of the phenomenally popular "Tae Bo" fitness system, derived from his extensive martial arts training. Blanks was born in Eerie, Pennsylvania in 1955 amongst humble backgrounds and grew up as one of 15 children, battling dyslexia and tendon problems...
“ Karate, Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do (7th Dan; 7-time PKL World Karate Champion; Karate Hall of Fame entry; captain of US Olympic Karate Team)
creator of the Tae-Bo exercise program ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tang Soo Do (10th Dan; 6-time World Karate Champion; record: 183-10-2; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Tae Kwon Do (8th Dan), Chun Kuk Do (founder), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (1st degree black belt)
one of only eight Americans to achieve an 8th degree black belt or higher in Tang Soo Do ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Wun Hop Kuen (2-time Long Beach International Champion; 2-time Hamburg Karate Champion; Italian & European Kung Fu and Karate Champion), Chin Na, Shui Jao, Capoeira
won his first international tournament at only 9 years of age ” - shaunalexanderrb
Yuen Biao is regarded as one of the most acrobatic martial artists ever. Unfortunately, he is still underrated and not as popular as other contemporaries such as Jackie Chan
, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung
, and Jet Li
even though he is the most critically acclaimed out of all of them and the most talented as well...
“ Wing Chun, Judo, Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do
attended the Peking Opera Academy alongside Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung ” - shaunalexanderrb
After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1980, while attending college Loren Avedon signed up at the Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do Karate school in Los Angeles. He received his first "break" while training late one night at the Karate school. Producer Roy Horan
was looking for an actor/martial artist to be the star of No Retreat, No Surrender 2
“ Tae Kwon Do (5th Dan), Hapkido (8th Dan)
his initial film roles were the result of producers calling his master's dojo in need of extras ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born in Oakland, California, USA, Brandon Lee spent the first eight years of his life in Hong Kong. By the time he was able to walk, he was already involved in learning about martial arts from his father, martial arts expert and famed actor Bruce Lee
. After Bruce Lee's untimely death, Brandon...
“ Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Yee Chuen Tao (Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
received most of his martial arts training from Dan Inosanto, often considered his father's best student ” - shaunalexanderrb
Richard Norton's big screen appeal was undeniable when he debuted as the menacing assassin Kyo in "The Octagon" (1980), even though the character remained cloaked by a ninja mask. In the recent "Under a Red Moon" (2008), the Melbourne native plays a hardline judge who unravels when his son succumbs to drug addiction...
“ Goju-Ryu Karate (5th Dan), Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (4th degree black belt), Zen Do Kai (co-founder, 5th Dan), Chun Kuk Do (5th Dan), Judo, Aikido, Muay Thai
a former "bodyguard to the stars", having personally protected the Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, David Bowie, ABBA, John Belushi, Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks ” - shaunalexanderrb
Master Simon Rhee is a 7th-Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and a 4th-Degree Black Belt in Hap Ki Do. He is a World-Class Martial Artist known for his beautiful kicks and incredible forms, and is a many-time Grand Champion of the tournament circuit. Karate Illustrated noted that "Simon Rhee has the prettiest kicks...
“ Tae Kwon Do (7th Dan), Hapkido (4th Dan), Wing Chun ” - shaunalexanderrb
Phillip Rhee is a master martial artist, actor and filmmaker best known for creating the "BEST of the BEST" film franchise with his producing partner and mentor Peter E. Strauss (Executive VP and Mandalay Pictures) and Frank Giustra, a Canadian Billionaire and founder of Lions Gate. The first "Best of the Best" starring academy award nominated actors...
“ Tae Kwon Do (6th Dan), Hapkido (3rd Dan), Kendo (1st Dan), Wing Chun ” - shaunalexanderrb
Korean-American born Ho Sung-Pak is best known for two accomplishments in martial arts. A wushu champion, Ho was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 1991. His first accomplishment was that he played both Liu Kang and Shang Tsung in the video game that started a fad and 2 movies, Mortal Kombat...
“ Wushu, Tae Kwon Do, Shaolin & Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Lama Pai (Black Belt Hall of Fame entry; member of Professional Karate League & North American Karate Association)
was filmed as the model for the characters of Liu Kang and Shang Tsung in the "Mortal Kombat" video game ” - shaunalexanderrb
Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School for the Performing Arts (popularized in Fame
“ Shotokan Karate (5th Dan), Hapkido (2nd Dan), Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
was delayed at the gym on September 11, 2001, while his NYC home was destroyed; had he been home at the time, he presumably would have died ” - shaunalexanderrb
was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he became a All-American springboard diver in high school. He broke records in his school's district and conference all without ever having a coach. Determined to go to college, he worked for six years and graduated with honors from Missouri State College...
“ Kenpo (8th, 4th, and 2nd Dan under different masters; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Goju-Ryu Karate (7th Dan)
founder of the AKKS karate organization, currently operating 50 schools internationally ” - shaunalexanderrb
Robin Shou is the fourth child of a Shanghai tailor and homemaker. His family moved to the US in 1971. Their first home in Los Angeles was a 2 bedroom apartment near Olympic and Vermont, today known as Koreatown. Shou didn't start attending martial arts classes until he was 19. He took Kenpo (Karate) classes while attending California State University...
“ Wushu (International Forms Champion; former member and Gold & Silver medalist of Chinese National team; 4-time Traditional Forms Grand Champion), Kenpo
ceased studying Kenpo and began studying Wushu at a young age after seeing a demonstration and declaring "This is Chinese!" ” - shaunalexanderrb
It seems that right at birth, Tak Sakaguchi was bound to be a force to be reckoned with. From an early age, he exhibited excellent motor skills and cat-like reflexes; putting these skills to use and excelling in martial arts such as Judo and boxing. Surprisingly, even with his stunning looks and charisma...
“ Bājíquán, Shaolin Kenpo, Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts
was a well-known underground street fighter prior to his film career ” - shaunalexanderrb
Johnny left Vietnam at the age of 8, uncertain of what destination lied ahead. As a boy, he already loved Hong Kong cinema. Johnny would soon start training in martial arts and now has over 18 years of experience in Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Japanese Aikido. Johnny is now also an expert in Wushu, which he does for over 10 years. Johnny has won a gold medal from Pan America Form and Sword...
“ Wushu (member of US National Team; Pan-American Form & Sword Gold medalist), Lien Feng Kwon, Tae Kwon Do, Vovinam, Tai Chi, Aikido
is the grandson of Nguyễn Lộc, the founder of Vovinam ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Hung Gar
used to skip school as a youth to attend martial arts training ” - shaunalexanderrb
Lorenzo Fernando Lamas was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of actors Arlene Dahl
and Fernando Lamas
. His father was Argentinian and his mother was American, of Norwegian descent. Lorenzo was raised in Pacific Palisades, California. In 1968, his family moved to New York. He attended private school...
“ Tae Kwon Do (3rd Dan), Karate, Kenpo, Jujitsu (black belts in all styles)
has appeared in over 630 episodes of different TV shows, among them "Falcon Crest", "The Bold and the Beautiful", and "Renegade" ” - shaunalexanderrb
Easily the best known actor/martial artist during the 1980s ninja cinema craze, Kosugi was a proficient martial artist & skilled weapons performer which was highlighted in his several starring roles. Kosugi grew up as the youngest child and only son of a Tokyo fisherman, and began his martial arts training at the age of five studying karate at a local dojo...
“ Ninjutsu (All Japan Karate Champion) Judo, Kendo
performed motion capture for the main character in the "Tenchu: Stealth Assassins" video game ” - shaunalexanderrb
Blonde, blue-eyed, tall and intimidating German actor Matthias Hues has an international reputation for playing action heroes, sinister villains to hilarious off beat characters. Matthias Hues was born on Valentine's Day in Waltrop, Germany, to the late Dr. Josef Hues and Maria Humperdinck Hues who still resides in Germany...
“ Tae Kwon Do (1st Dan), Kickboxing
standing 6'5 and weighing 250 pounds in his prime, Hues has often needed to do his own stunts in movies for the simple fact that there aren't many stuntmen as large as him ” - shaunalexanderrb
Olivier Gruner was born on August 2nd, 1960 in Paris. His father is a successful surgeon with his own surgery. His two brothers also made academic careers. When Olivier was 18, he went to an elite force of the french army, where he stayed 4 years. Most of this time he was in Djibouti and Somalia. At this time he already trained karate...
“ Kickboxing (French National Champion; World Middleweight Champion), Shotokan Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
France's first-ever national champion in kickboxing ” - shaunalexanderrb
Pivotal figure in the 1970s explosion of martial arts cinema as lethal "fists for hire" trouble shooter, Takuma (Terry) Tsurugi, starring in the phenomenally popular and ultra violent "The Street Fighter" series of action films. Sonny Chiba wasn't a graceful, fluid fighter like screen icon Bruce Lee
“ Goju-Ryu & Kyokushin Karate (2nd & 4th Dan), Ninjutsu (4th Dan), Judo (2nd Dan), Kenpo (1st Dan), Kendo (1st Dan)
trained extensively for the 1964 Olympic Gymnastics team, but never participated due to a hip injury ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jason David Frank
Jason David Frank is well-known for his role of Tommy Oliver in the long-running children's television show Power Rangers. His character has morphed into the most different power rangers in the show's twenty year history. He first morphed on the scene as the Mighty Morphin Green Ranger, a bad boy turned good...
“ Karate (7th Dan; World Karate Union & Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Toso Kune Do (founder), Muay Thai (MTIA gold medalist), Mixed Martial Arts (record: 4-0)
was scheduled to fight boxer Ron McMasters in 2007, but opted out when told that he would not be able to use MMA techniques ” - shaunalexanderrb
Rob Van Dam
He was trained by the Original Sheik, Ed Farhat, who was one of pro-wrestling's classic and greatest bad guys. Even though their styles are quite different (Sheik being a wild hardcore-style brawler, known for throwing fire, cutting his opponent's forehead's up with foreign objects like a pencil, fork...
“ Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Aikido, Kendo, Kickboxing
inventor of the "Van Dam Lift", an officially-sanctioned exercise in which a dumbbell is raised while performing the splits ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Wushu (Harbin team member; National Chinese Junior, All-Around & Martial Arts Champion), Tai Chi
qualified to be a member of China's national team but pursued his career in show business instead ” - shaunalexanderrb
Marko Zaror Aguad (Santiago, Chile) is a Chilean martial arts action star and fight choreographer, currently residing in Los Angeles, California, and Santiago, Chile. His career began as a young boy with a passion for martial arts and fighting, inspired by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jean Claude Van Damme...
“ Tae Kwon Do, Karate
has stunt-doubled for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born in Beijing China in 1974, he was sent to train at Beijing Wushu Academy when he was 6 years old as both his Father and Grandfather were also Martial artists. In 1995 he was spotted by Yuen Woo-Ping who had come to the academy to look for a martial artist for the film Tai Chi 2 (aka Tai Chi Boxer)...
“ Wushu (former assistant coach of Beijing team; Chinese National Champion)
is a big fan of Akira Toriyama's "Dragon Ball" comics ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Judo (4th Dan), Kenpo, Iaido, Kendo, Bo-Jutsu
came from a family of Kabuki performers, but abandoned theater prior to his film career to teach Judo professionally ” - shaunalexanderrb
Started his martial arts career at the University Of South Carolina in 1971 and in only two years, earned his 1st degree Black Belt. Competed in regional tournaments and major events throughout the world. Was World Karate Champion and US National Karate Champion for 3 consecutive years. (1978-1980)...
“ Karate (3-time World Karate/US National Champion; PKA National Champion; Officials Karate's Legion Of Honor; Diamond Nationals & Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
was named one of the top ten fighters of modern times by Black Belt Magazine ” - shaunalexanderrb
Benny Urquidez was raised in a very athletic family. His mother was a professional wrestler and his father a professional boxer, with all of his siblings black belts. He has earned black belts in nine different martial arts and trained in other styles. The Jet decided to pursue full-contact karate as a career in 1974...
“ Kickboxing (8-time WKA Champion; record: 58-0; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry), Ukidokan Karate (founder), Judo, Kajukenbo, Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Lima Lama, White Crane kung fu, Jujutsu, Aikido
remains the longest-reigning world champion of all professional sports in modern history ” - shaunalexanderrb
Siu-Wong Fan was born in Hong Kong in 1973, the son of 1970s kung fu film actor Mei-Sheng Fan. At the age of 14, Siu-Wong traveled to Xushou on the request of his father to take up martial arts because he was virtually a toothpick. There, Siu-Wong studied gymnastics, kung fu, and taekwondo. Fan made his film debut as a teen in Zhi fa xian feng (1986)...
“ Tae Kwon Do
began his martial arts training at the urging of his father, who was concerned about his son's frailty ” - shaunalexanderrb
Karen Sheperd is an American actress in film, television and theatre. Her recurring guest-star role as "The Enforcer" on television's "Hercules, The Legendary Journeys", opposite Kevin Sorbo, received the highest ratings ever for the entire series. Karen recently appeared on "Criminal Minds" with Joe Mantegna...
“ Kajukenbo, Wun Hop Kuen (US Open Karate Grand Champion; US Black Belt Forms Champion; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry; WKC Gold medalist)
was the first female Grand Champion of the US Open Karate tournament ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Shotokan Karate, Wushu
has trained in gymnastics at l'École de cirque Annie Fratellini since he was 14 ” - shaunalexanderrb
Daughter of a Chinese woman, who spent her childhood in Nishi Ku (Fukuoka City). When she was in elementary school, her parents divorced and she went to live with her mother, who ran a little restaurant. Being a child she practiced karate in junior high school, represented Kyushu in several competitions and finally won the woman national karate championship...
“ Gōjū-Ryū Karate (Japan National Women's Champion)
was inspired to enter the film business by watching Sing Lung's "Young Master" ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born in Hilo, Hawaii in 1940. Gerald started Martial Arts with Judo in 1953. He has practiced Kendo, Aikido, Taekwondo, and he is currently a 5th degree black belt in Kung Fu San Soo (his sensei was the late Jimmy H. Woo). Gerald is a designer of various types of weaponry that have been featured in dozens of movies and publications across the world...
“ San Doo (5th Dan), Judo, Kendo, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do
also a Hollywood weapons designer; his creations have been featured in more than twenty movies ” - shaunalexanderrb
From his humble beginnings of watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Matt Mullins has risen to become world renown in martial arts, and as a star in the CW4Kids show "Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight". With 5 martial art world titles in hand, Matt moved from Naperville, IL to Hollywood and quickly began booking national spots for top brands such as Nike...
“ Shōrei-Ryū Karate (4th Dan; 5-time WKA World Champion)
is the leader of XMA performance team Sideswipe ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jalal Merhi is recognized worldwide as a premiere action-film producer / director after successfully delivering over 20 films worldwide within a decade, and numerous short film projects. Born in Brazil from to Lebanese parents, Jalal emigrated to Canada to study and eventually built an extension of his family jewelry business...
“ Shotokan Karate (2nd Dan), Tae Kwon Do, Choy Lay Fut, Hung Gar (Canada Cup Classic Grand Champion)
nicknamed "Beirut's Steven Seagal" ” - shaunalexanderrb
Kurt McKinney originally hails from Louisville, Kentucky. At the age of 21 he was already a black belt in taekwondo and an amateur kickboxing champion. He decided to become an actor and moved to Hollywood. He would go on to star in the 1985 film No Retreat, No Surrender as the lead. The film, one of the 1st Hong Kong-U.S...
“ Tae Kwon Do (1st Dan), Kickboxing
turned down future martial arts roles in "No Retreat, No Surrender 2" and "American Ninja 3" for fear of being typecast and uncertainty about the filming locations" ” - shaunalexanderrb
Angela Mao was born as Mao Ching Ying in 1950 as the third of eight children to a family of entertainers for the Peking Opera House. She had a successful career as a Chinesa Opera actress, where her flexibility and martial arts first developed. She was discovered by film producer Raymond Chow
who made her a star...
“ Hapkido (3rd Dan), Tae Kwon Do
made headlines in Hong Kong when she successfully defended herself against a mugger while walking home ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do (1978 Taiwan National Champion)
frequently collaborated with kickboxer Eugene Thomas ” - shaunalexanderrb
Kathy Long was kick-boxing first "sex Symbol". The Mia St. John of kick-boxing. Looked more like a blond surfer girl from southern California then a champion kick-boxer. Dominated women's kick-boxing in the 1980s. Retired with a 18-1 kick-boxing record. Fought briefly as a professional boxer with mixed results...
“ Kickboxing (5-time ISKA/WKA Champion; record: 18-1), Muay Thai
was Michelle Pfeiffer's stunt double for the fight scenes in "Batman Returns" ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born in Hong Kong in 1948, 'Bruce' Leung Siu-Lung was the eldest of twelve brothers (which included stuntman/martial arts actor/action choreographer 'Tony' Leung Siu-Hung) and he obtained his martial arts training from his father at the Cantonese Opera. He also learned different forms of Karate and Kung Fu from different masters...
“ Gōjū-Ryū Karate, Wing Chun
his career suffered a blow when he traveled to mainland China to promote his movies, which was viewed as disrespectful by his Hong Kong fans, who in turn stopped supporting his work ” - shaunalexanderrb
Blond, muscular, tall, handsome, and the greatest heavyweight point-fighter and kick-boxer of the 1960s and 70s, Joe Lewis coined the phrase,"American Kickboxing". He fought in the first kick-boxing heavyweight title fight in 1970. Had one of the greatest point-fighting careers in history. Lewis is one of only 5 men to defeat the legendary Chuck Norris
“ Kickboxing, Shorin-Ryu Karate (10th Dan; WPKC World Heavyweight Champion; US National Black Belt Kata & Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion; record: 14-4), Jeet Kune Do
won the first "official" martial arts tournament; upon victory, he received $1, making him the first "official" international champion ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jason Scott Lee
Of Hawaiian and Chinese descent, Jason Scott Lee was born in Los Angeles, California, but raised in Hawaii from the age of two. His interest in acting began while studying in high school. It blossomed further when he enrolled in Fullerton College, where he studied under acting coach Sal Romeo
“ Jeet Kune Do
trained under former Bruce Lee student Jerry Poteet ” - shaunalexanderrb
Eric started his training with his father after dinner. The martial art was Choi Li Fut. At that time, everybody practiced Kung Fu. Eric Lee was inspired by the black and white series Won Duck Hing. Eric and his family moved to California and at the age of 15 his formal martial arts training started...
“ Wun Hop Kuen (7th Dan), Kajukenbo (9th degree black belt), Jeet Kune Do, Northern/Southern Shaolin, Choy Lay Fut, Tai Chi, Chin-Na, Judo, Wing Chun, Hung Gar (Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
co-founder of World Blackbelt, "the world's first international internet martial arts community" ” - shaunalexanderrb
trained under Grandmaster Hwang In-Shik ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jang Lee Hwang
Hwang Jang-Lee is the ultimate bootmaster. Known for his powerful and deadly kicks on screen as well as off, Hwang has a reputation as the Lord of the Superkickers. Born in Japan, Hwang's family moved back to their native Korea, where at the age of 14, Hwang began taking the national martial art of Tae Kwon Do...
“ Tae Kwon Do (9th Dan)
killed a self-proclaimed "knife expert" in self-defense following an argument with a single roundhouse kick ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Karate (5th Dan), Judo (3rd Dan), Aikido (2nd Dan), Kendo
is chief advisor to the All Japan Nunchaku League ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Hung Gar, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai
trained in Jiu-Jitsu by John Machado ” - shaunalexanderrb
Born Chang Fu-Sheng to a wealthy family on October 20th, 1954, in Hong Kong. His English adopted name was Alexander. He was the ninth of 11 siblings. He was considered his father's favorite. Unlike the rest of his family, he showed little interest in academic and had no desire to try his hand in business...
“ Judo, Karate
lived in what was Bruce Lee's Hong Kong residence and died almost exactly ten years after Lee's own death ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Wi Kuen Do (founder), Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Choy Lay Fut, Tae Kwon Do
is also an amateur boxer, with a record of 18-7 ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do
was the youngest Korean action/martial arts director in history at age 25 ” - shaunalexanderrb
Keith Cooke is a man of many qualities, accomplished in the arts of Wushu, Tae Kwon Do and Karate. He started his WuShu training in 1973, under Roger Tung. In 1980 he went to China and he trained for 5 hours a day and entered the competition circuit in 1983. He immediately gained a second place in both Weapons and Forms Divisions (lost to George Chung)...
“ Wushu (WAKO World Champion in Forms & Weapons, 5-time US World/Open Karate Grand Champion), Tae Kwon Do, Karate
is of Scottish and Japanese ancestry ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Karate (7th Dan), Kickboxing (WKA & UK Super Middleweight Champion)
is a coach in the World Combat League ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Kickboxing (2-time WKA Super Welterweight Champion)
was born and raised in China ” - shaunalexanderrb
Ching-Ying Lam was born on December 27, 1952 in Shanghai, China, the third of six children. He attended Shun Yi Association Elementary School in Hong Kong for 2 years. He later attended the Chun Chau Drama Society to learn Peking Opera, where he portrayed female roles and did stunt-doubling for actresses...
“ Wing Chun
was rumored to be rivals with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung; Hung, however, carried the urn at his funeral in 1997 ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Shorei-Ryu Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, Kickboxing (ISKA, WAKO, NASKA & US Grand Open Champion in Weapons & Forms; Black Belt & World Martial Arts Hall of Fame entry)
co-creator Xtreme Martial Arts ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Iaido, Wing Chun, Judo, Jujitsu
his birth name is Brad Simpson ” - shaunalexanderrb
Daniel Bernhardt was born on the 31st August 1965 in Warblaufen, Bern in Switzerland. After finishing high school, he studied architectural design for four years and graduated in Bern. At the same time he opened a martial arts school with his brother. After completing his studies, Daniel moved to Paris and started to work as model...
“ Kickboxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do
was discovered by producer Mark DiSalle whilst filming a martial arts-themed commerical for Versace jeans alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme ” - shaunalexanderrb
Michael Benardo started his martial arts training at the age of 8. His parents put him on to Judo, to gain self confidence, and from there he became interested in Karate at the same school. Michael trained at four schools and got his black belt from Richard Kim in California. At the age of 17, he started Bernardo Karate Academy...
“ Judo, Karate (7th Dan; 15-time Canadian/North American Forms, Weapons & Fighting Champion, 4-time American Middleweight Fighting Champion; Black Belt Hall of Fame entry)
began teaching the martial arts at age 17 ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tang Soo Do (3rd Dan; MAI Junior Karate Champion)
trained under Chuck No ” - shaunalexanderrb
Hakim Alston is a kick boxing champion with over 20 years of martial arts experience including Karate and a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His skills brought him to be a member of the USA Karate Team from 1984-1990. His brother Shah Alston is also a great fighter. After being a great champion and winning many titles he started instructing other champions and teaching fitness...
“ Kickboxing (ISKA, WKC, PKL, NASKA & WUKO Champion/Gold medalist), Tae Kwon Do (4th Dan; member of US National Karate Team)
is 6'8", making him officially one of the tallest kickboxers to compete professionally ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Gōjū-Ryū Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu ” - shaunalexanderrb
Kariim Ratcliff was born in Brooklyn, New York to Levester and Ida Ratcliff. Kariim's early interest in the martial arts led him to an acting career. Growing up in Bedford Stuyvesant, the middle child of ten, his seven brothers showed great ability in basketball, while Kariim showed no interest, turned to martial arts after seeing a demo at the Salvation Army boy's club...
“ Tae Kwon Do (7th Dan), Kemet-Jitsu (co-founder) ” - shaunalexanderrb
Scott Coker is the founder and CEO of the Mixed Martial Arts company Strikeforce
. His career in combat sports begun as a student of acclaimed martial artist and fight choreographer Ernie Reyes Sr.
. Coker earned a 5th degree Taekwondo black belt and became an original member of Reyes' West Coast Demonstration Team...
“ Tae Kwon Do (5th Dan), Muay Thai ” - shaunalexanderrb
Mrs. Bannon-Rodriguez is one of the leading female martial artists. Her skills took her to be a great WAKO Champion and member of Team Paul Mitchell. She has a 4th degree black belt in Oki-Ryu Kempo and Wushu. Her impressive stats are: 1997 KRZ Magazine's Number #1 Fighter of the '90s 1995 WAKO-PRO...
“ Oki-Ryu Kempo (4th Dan; 4-time WAKO Champion), Wushu ” - shaunalexanderrb
Gokor grew up on the streets as an aggressive child beating up others. When Gokor was 5 years old (!!!!) a studio owner invited Gokor to train at his place in wrestling, and Gokor turned out to be a natural. Within one year, Gokor would begin training in SamBo for at least 4 hours a day. In 1971 Gokor would compete and win all matches at the Armenian Junior National Sambo Championship...
“ Sambo (2-time Armenian Junior National Champion), Judo, Muay Thai ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do ” - shaunalexanderrb
Rebekah Chaney made her directorial and writing debut with the critically-acclaimed short Waste Land, starring noted film actor and Academy Award nominee Ryan O'Neal. Waste Land garnered several awards--in the Boston International Film Festival, Action on Film Festival Long Beach, and the Salento International Film Festival--including Best Short, Best Director, and Best Actor...
“ Tae Kwon Do (2nd Dan) ” - shaunalexanderrb
Michael Matsuda's training began in 1968 in Judo. Michael enrolled a Hung Gar gung fu school in 1974. Two years later he transferred to the main school headed by Vernon Rieta. Later Paulie Zink also joined the class and became friends with Michael and worked out together. When Paulie began teaching Monkey Kung Fu...
“ Judo, Hung Gar, Tai Shing Pek War ” - shaunalexanderrb
Dan was born in Queens, New York. His mother BettyAnn Fazio was a Queens native and of Italian descent. His father Supujana Mayid was born in Bankok, Thailand and moved to New York when he was only sixteen years old. Dan's acting career started when he was discovered by Don "The Dragon" Wilson in Atlantic City...
“ Kenpo (3rd Dan) ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do
qualified for the Tae Kwon Do Olympic trials at age 19 ” - shaunalexanderrb
Pan Pan Yeung
Born in Hong Kong of Shanghai and Sechuan parents. Started martial arts and Chinese opera training when she was 4 year-old, and later at the Fan Kok Fa opera academy. Learned different styles from top masters, including Lee Kwan Hung, of Choy Lay Fatt kung fu; Dan Inosanto of jeet kune do; western boxing from John Ladawski; karate from Bruce Leung...
“ Choy Lay Fut, Jeet Kune Do, Karate
frequently performed over 30 kung fu movements for indivudal shots in her fight scenes ” - shaunalexanderrb
Jason Yee is an actor, director and producer who transitioned from an acclaimed career as a professional martial artist. He was born and raised in Boston's inner city by his single mom and grandparents. In his early 20s Jason won numerous martial arts championships and became the first American to medal at the First World San-Shou Free-Fighting Championship in Beijing, China...
“ Sanshou (Unified Super-Middleweight Sanshou Champion; Kung Fu Hall of Fame entry), Wushu (Beijing Free Fighting Champion)
has trained Al Lorieux, Marvin Perry, Rudi Ott, Josh Bartholomew, Albert Pope, and Mike Norman ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun
a champion in the South Korean army circuits, he often trained in icy rivers during winter to build up his phyical endurance ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tang Soo Do (9th Dan; 1970 PKC Champion; PKA Hall Of Fame entry), Kickboxing, Okinawa-Te & Shorin-Ryu Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
victim of a false rumor stating that his 'broken bottle scene' with Bruce Lee in "Enter the Dragon" was unscripted and that he was intending to kill Lee ” - shaunalexanderrb
Starring in the award winning indie film The Honorable
served to win Vandenberg the lead role in a series of Timex spots for director Tim Burton. Shortly afterward he was hired to train and teach Leonardo Di Caprio in antique knife fighting techniques for Martin Scorcese's Gangs of New York
. Whilst in Italy filming...
“ Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai
served in the French Foreign Legion Special Forces for five years ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do, Karate
was discovered for his first film role while attending martial arts class as a youth ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Tae Kwon Do (Korean National Champion)
former martial arts trainer to Yuen Biao ” - shaunalexanderrb
“ Karate, Judo, Tae Kwon Do (black belts in all styles)
was honored by Hong Kong audiences with the proclamation that while "Bruce Lee is the dragon, Polly is the phoenix" ” - shaunalexanderrb