The Greatest Martial Arts Actors

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1.
Bruce Lee
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...
 
2.
Jackie Chan
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...
 
3.
Jet Li
Actor, Ying xiong
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...
 
4.
Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris is familiar to fans worldwide as the star of action films such as The Hitman, The Delta Force and Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection. He also starred in Missing in Action and its sequels, Firewalker and Sidekicks. He was an executive producer of Walker, Texas Ranger as well as the star. Chuck Norris was born in Ryan...
 
5.
Tony Jaa
Actor, On-Bak 2
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...
 
6.
Donnie Yen
Actor, Yip Man
Biography Early Life Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China. His mother, Bow-sim Mark, was a kung fu master and his father, Kylster Yen, a newspaper editor and amateur musician. When Donnie was just two years old, the family moved to Hong Kong and then, when he was 11, to Boston, Massachusetts. There...
 
7.
Steven Seagal
Producer, Under Siege
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...
 
8.
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...
 
9.
Scott Adkins
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...
 
10.
Jason Statham
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...
 
11.
Stephen Chow
Born Chow Sing-Chi in Hong Kong on June twenty-second, 1962, Stephen Chow spent his youth days with three sisters in Shanghai, China. He developed an interest in the martial arts after witnessing the talent of Bruce Lee, where he began training in the style of Wing Chun, which was one of Bruce Lee's specialties...
 
12.
Wesley Snipes
Actor, Blade
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)...
 
13.
David Carradine
David Carradine was born in Hollywood, California, the eldest son of legendary character actor John Carradine, and his wife, Ardanelle Abigail (McCool). He presided over an acting family that included brothers Keith Carradine and Robert Carradine as well as his daughters Calista Carradine and Kansas Carradine, and nieces Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton...
 
14.
Ray Park
Actor, X-Men
Raymond Park was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He moved with his parents, younger brother and sister to London, England. He was raised in London from the age of seven. His father introduced him into Martial Arts from a young age. Ray always wanted to be in the movies, or be like the heroes in movies but he was most inspired by martial arts...
 
15.
Pat Morita
Abundantly busy and much loved Asian-American actor who became an on-screen hero to millions of adults and kids alike as the wise and wonderful Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid, the sparkling Noriyuki Morita was back again dishing out Eastern philosophy and martial arts lessons for The Karate Kid Part II and The Karate Kid Part III...
 
17.
Rain
Rain was born in Seoul, South Korea, on June 25, 1982 with the birth name Jung Jihoon. He was extremely shy in elementary school, stating in interviews that he barely spoke a word. He caught the desire to become a dancer when, at a school talent show in sixth grade, no one from his school stepped forward to dance so he gave it a try...
 
18.
Phillip Rhee
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...
 
21.
Robin Shou
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...
 
22.
Iko Uwais
Iko Uwais was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Maisyaroh and Mustapha Kamaluddin. His grandfather, H. Achmad Bunawar, was a master of silat, an Indonesian traditional martial art, and founded a silat school. Iko himself has been learning silat since he was 10 years old. He became National Champion in 2005 in Silat Demonstration category...
 
23.
Brandon Lee
Actor, The Crow
Born on February 1, 1965 to Bruce Lee (Martial Arts idol) and Linda Lee Cadwell. Brother to Shannon Lee. In 1970-71, they moved to Hong Kong where Brandon became fluent in Cantonese by the age of 8. He attended Boston's Art-Oriented Emerson College in Massachusetts. He studied Martial Arts and drama...
 
24.
Daniel Bernhardt
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...
 
25.
Sasha Mitchell
Sasha Mitchell is a model, actor, and kick-boxer, who will forever be known for two roles. From 1990 to 1993, he took over for Jean-Claude Van Damme in the Kickboxer series, ending it with the fourth installment, Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor. A black belt in tae kwon do, Sasha was once an amateur kickboxing champion, and it helped him land the role of a boxer in 1988's Spike of Bensonhurst...
 
26.
Matthias Hues
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...
 
27.
Will Yun Lee
Will Yun Lee was born in Arlington, Virginia, to Jung Ja Lee and Soo Won Lee, who had recently emigrated from Korea. He was raised by both immediate and extended family and moved often, exposed to life on the tough Bronx streets and idyllic Hawaiian beaches. By his teens he was living in the San Francisco area with his father...
 
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31.
Richard Norton
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...
 
32.
Ralph Macchio
Ralph George Macchio was born on November 4, 1961 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He started out in various TV commercials in the late 1970s before appearing in the puerile comedy movie Up the Academy, then a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight Is Enough followed by a decent performance...
 
33.
Martin Kove
Martin Kove was born on March 6, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. Strong-featured, narrow-eyed actor who has portrayed a mixed bag of both good guys and bad guys! First turned up on screen in several minor roles, and got himself noticed as the villainous Nero the Hero in the low-budget road race Death Race 2000...
 
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36.
Gerald Okamura
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...
 
37.
Al Leong
Actor, Die Hard
Asian American actor & stuntman has picked up a cult fan following based around his numerous appearances in high voltage action flicks from the mid-1980s onwards. Al nearly always turns up as a bad guy with his lean muscled physique, incredible agility, amazing martial arts skills, wispy black hair...
 
38.
Dustin Nguyen
Dustin Tri Nguyen, after moving to the US from Vietnam in 1975, went on to establish himself as one of Hollywood's premiere Asian-American actors coming out of the martial arts world, having starred on such hit TV shows as "21 Jump Street," "Seaquest DSV," "VIP," as well as feature films like MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS 2...
 
39.
Rongguang Yu
Born on August 30, 1958 in Beijing, China, Yu Rongguang, also known as Ringo Yu, is a Chinese actor and martial artist who started his career in Hong Kong. He is an actor and director, known for The Karate Kid (2010), Iron Monkey (1993) and Shanghai Noon (2000). He is best known for the title role in Iron Monkey along with Donnie Yen as well as being featured in films such as The East Is Red...
 
40.
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...
 
41.
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung
Actor, Ying xiong
Tony Leung Chiu Wai was born in Hong Kong on 27 June 1962. He and his younger sister were raised by their mother after his father left them. In 1982, after passing the training courses of TVB, Tony became a TV actor and became famous for his comedy style in such TV shows as Lu ding ji or Jue dai shuang jiao...
 
42.
Takeshi Kaneshiro
The 1/2 Taiwanese and 1/2 Japanese Takeshi Kaneshiro may have started out as a puerile teen idol in the Chinese entertainment scene, but he's since become a proper film star in his own right. Whether by his own design or not, the boyishness that marked his first steps into showbiz has evolved into a cool...
 
43.
Andy Lau
Andy Lau Tak-wah, (born 27 September 1961) is a Hong Kong actor, singer-songwriter, presenter, and film producer. Lau has been one of Hong Kong's most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time...
 
44.
Rain
Rain was born in Seoul, South Korea, on June 25, 1982 with the birth name Jung Jihoon. He was extremely shy in elementary school, stating in interviews that he barely spoke a word. He caught the desire to become a dancer when, at a school talent show in sixth grade, no one from his school stepped forward to dance so he gave it a try...
 
45.
Silvio Simac
Silvio Simac, was born in Croatia. A dedicated martial artist, Silvio trained in Taekwondo and became a world champion during his competitive years. His film career began in 2001 on an episode of Lexx. Silvio's martial arts background served him well for a part in the action film Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing...
 
46.
Kane Kosugi
Born in California, he is half Japanese and half Chinese. He began his training in martial arts at the age of one and a half. Since moving to Japan at the age of 18, he has done numerous movies and TV shows becoming one of the nation's most popular and recognizable talents. He has worked with some of the action movie greats including Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
 
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49.
Cung Le
Cung Le made his first appearance on the professional M.M.A. stage in 2006, and shortly after won the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship in 2008, setting high standards through his powerful kicks, skillful strikes, and well-timed take-downs. This U.S.-Viet Namese champion, actor, producer and action director is a household name in many parts of East Asia and is equally adored in Hollywood...
 
52.
Johnson Phan
Stunts, Godzilla
Johnson Phan was born in a refugee camp located in Malaysia (KL) August 6th 1980. His parents and older brother had successfully escaped from communism in Vietnam. Soon after Johnson's birth the Canadian government helped the Phan family safely transition to Canada, and they would eventually settle down in Vancouver calling it home...
 
54.
Darren Shahlavi
Actor, 300
Darren Shahlavi was seven years old when he started training in martial arts in an old drama theatre in Manchester, England. Inspired by Bruce Lees films and other action movies such as Star Wars, he dreamed of being a movie actor and would show up to his Judo class at the drama hall early to watch the actors rehearsing and performing plays...
 
55.
Brian Tee
Brian Tee was born in Okinawa, Japan, to a Japanese father and a Korean mother. His family moved to Hacienda Heights, California, when he was two years old. Tee was a star football captain at his Glen A. High School. During high school, he worked at Blackjack Pizza, where fellow Hacienda resident Fergie frequently visited...
 
56.
Aleks Paunovic
Aleks Paunovic was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a Croatian mother and Serbian father. The result of this remarkable blend of bloodlines is the 6'5" ruggedly handsome actor appearing on screens around the world at a rapidly escalating rate. Acting came to Aleks while he was onstage in his hometown playing in a heavy metal band...
 
57.
Tahmoh Penikett
He is the son of former Yukon premier Anthony David John Penikett (Tony). A graduate of the Victoria Motion picture school, Tahmoh also studied at the Lyric School of Acting in Vancouver. Tahmoh and his family (his father, and his twin sisters Sarah and Stephanie) make their home in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 
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Dan Southworth
Dan Southworth is an accomplished actor with wide experience in feature films, television shows, motion capture, voice over, and commercials. Power Ranger fans know him as Eric Myers, the Quantum Ranger from Power Rangers Time Force. Mortal Kombat fans enjoyed his portrayal of Kenshi in the popular web series Mortal Kombat Legacy 2...
 
61.
Shane Warren Jones
Actor, Run!
Shane Warren Jones was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.After Graduating from Baylor University in 2005 he moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in Acting. Since then he's worked as an actor on Spike Tv's "Deadliest Warrior", "All My Children", J.J Abram's "Fringe" as well as starring as the character "Cyrax"...
 
62.
Matt Mullins
Stunts, Divergent
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...
 
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Peter Shinkoda
Actor, I, Robot
Peter Shinkoda was born and raised in Montreal. After having studied Civil Engineering at the University of Western Ontario and Post Production for Film and Television at UCLA in the 90's, Peter decided to focus on his acting and put his then job as an assistant film editor on hold. Since then Peter has consistently worked as an actor in projects such as "I,Robot"...
 
66.
Casper Van Dien
Casper Van Dien's breakthrough role was as the lead in Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi film Starship Troopers (1997). Still one of the most talked about films of 1997 that has one of the largest cult followings in film history. He was also in Tim Burton's critically acclaimed film Sleepy Hollow (1999), as Brom Bones...
 
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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...
 
71.
Walter Jones
Walter is an actor, dancer and singer. Walter is internationally known for his creation of the character Zack The Black Ranger from the Children's Action Adventure Phenomenon Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He has been featured as a series regular or guest star in over 150 episodes of various shows and has been featured in several films...
 
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