Top Martial Arts Action Stars of the Century.by Eric-Scissorhands | created - 02 Mar 2011 | updated - 24 Aug 2011 | Public
These people are a masters of their craft and have appeared in film at least once.
"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." — Bruce Lee
1. Bruce Lee
Actor | Meng long guo jiang
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 ...
The Undisputed King of Martial Arts Cinema & the Greatest Martial Artist of the 20th century. His name is immortally synonymous with the words Kung Fu. Has been credited and dubbed as the Father of Mixed Martial Arts, he is the sole reason the genre exploded in the 70s to even today. With just 4 Completed Kung Fu films under his belt, his foot print on pop culture is still unmatched by anyone and have been referenced in countless films, television, music, and video games. he accomplished the impossible: He not only gave the Chinese people and nation an identity, but he also made Asian-American kids proud to be Asian. In the end, he inspired more people to practice the martial arts than anyone else in history. He also broke down racial barriers under the banner of using the martial arts as a path to brotherhood and self-expression. If it wasn’t for Lee giving Hong Kong movies and martial arts cinema legitimacy around the world, the martial arts film industry would not have the impact—or the box-office dollars—it has today.
He is founder of Jeet Kune Do.
2. Jackie Chan
Actor | Ngo si seoi
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 after his start in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry.
Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on April 7, 1954, on Hong Kong's famous ...
Described as a three way hybrid of Bruce Lee, Buster Keaton & Charles Chaplin. His Martial Arts skills, mind blowing DEATH DEFYING STUNTS, aswell as his Physical Comedy & light humor is what truly sets him apart from all the Bruce Lee imitators that followed the Death of a Legend.
Considered to be Bruce Lee's true successor, Infact He worked with Bruce Lee as a stunt coordinator during his Early Years in Film Cinema, Together with his "Dragon Brothers" Sammo Hung & Yuen Biao, they would make and perform some of the greatest fight scenes and stunts ever caught on film. Also an accomplished director he has about a hundred films under his belt and has successfully crossed over to the West aswell as remain as one of the Biggest stars in the East. A Living Legend.
3. Jet Li
Actor | The One
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,...
Born in 1963 and raised during the Cultural Revolution, Jet Li is the first Communist Chinese film star to make it in Hollywood. His first effort, The Shaolin Temple (1979), was the first kung fu movie made in China since Mao Zedong outlawed the traditional martial arts in 1949 and ordered the destruction of the real Shaolin Temple. Although Li’s a public figure in China, his belief in Tibetan Buddhism and a way of life frowned upon by his government has led him beyond the political quagmire and put him on a more philosophical path.
Stunts | Yip Man
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 ...
At age 10, Sammo Hung enrolled in a Beijing opera school, where he learned the skills that would eventually see him through more than 140 movies. He’s the man Jackie Chan calls “big brother” and regularly seeks council from. Many believe Hung’s films (Magnificent Butcher in 1980, Prodigal Son in 1981) feature better choreography than Chan’s. Hung later branched into muo shan shu (Chinese voodoo) moviemaking, where productions such as Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1981) and Dead and the Deadly (1982) mixed slapstick comedy with startling brutality. Although many Western fans know Hung as the portly monk who battled Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, his CBS series Martial Law was rated No. 1 in its time slot for two seasons.
5. Chia-Hui Liu
Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 2
Born with the Chinese name of Xian Qi-xi and the English name of Louis Sin, Gordon Liu Chia-Hui skipped school to practice the martial arts under the renowned Liu Zhan. Later, in honor of Liu Zhan’s skills, Gordon changed his name to Liu and was adopted into the family. He initially planned to become a policeman, but at the bequest of his kung fu brother, noted director Liu Chia-liang, Gordon Liu became an actor for Shaw Brothers in 1974. With his landmark role in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) playing real-life monk San Te, he quickly built a name that symbolized the Shaolin priesthood. The West knows him best for his roles as head of the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Bai Mei in Kill Bill Vol. 2.
6. Donnie Yen
Actor | Yip Man
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, Master Bow-sim ...
Although not as well known as the first four on this list in the west, he is extremely popular in Asia and for good reason. His fighting skill and choreography is nothing short but extraordinary. He has been in the business for a longtime starring in such gems as Wing Chun, Iron Monkey, & Hero, it wasnt until he starred in the Martial arts Biopic of the Grandmaster Yip Man simply entitled "Ip man" did he gain mainstream and world wide acceptance. And Since its release he has continued starring and choreographing some of the BEST martial arts action films today.
Actress | Wo hu cang long
Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, ...
The undisputed Queen of Martial Arts Cinema. She has proven to hold her own alongside the like of Jet Li, (Twin Warriors) Donnie Yen, (Wing Chun) Sammo Hung (The Stuntwoman) & even the great Jackie Chan (Supercop).
Born in Malaysia with the name Yang Zi-chong, Michelle Yeoh trained in ballet at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her physical prowess brought her opportunities to star in The Heroic Trio (1992), Wing Chun (1994), Magnificent Warriors (1987) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Among many others. The Hong Kong stunt biz is a male-dominated industry, so when action-directors Ching Siu Tung, Stanley Tong, Sammo Hung, Yuen Woo-ping and Jackie Chan say Yeoh is the best stuntwoman-fighter in the film industry, that about says it all. Ironically, she doesn’t practice the martial arts.
Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 1
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...
Japans answer to Bruce Lee. A Force to be wrekoned with, he trained under the legendary Mas Oyama and even portrayed his sensei in the Karate Bullfighter Trilogy.
Born in 1939 as Sadao Maeda, Sonny Chiba studied Noh (classical Japanese drama) and was a contender for Japan’s Olympic gymnastics team until he injured his back and began practicing karate under Mas Oyama. Joining Toei Studios in 1961, he used his muscle-bound body to become its answer to Bruce Lee. Chiba’s ultrabrutal The Streetfighter (1974) was the first movie released in America with an X-rating for violence. Its success spawned three sequels. Capping a career that spans 40 years and 140 films, Chiba co-starred in Kill Bill as Hattori Hanzo, a character he once played on Japanese television.
9. Tony Jaa
Actor | Ong-bak 3
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 at the local ...
Along with Donnie Yen, Jacky Wu, Jeeja Yanin, Scott Adkins, & Rina Takeda, Jaa is credited for bringing back the Martial Arts genre from obscurity and back into the mainstream, with his debut film Ong Bak, he was able to showcase and utilize his incredible skills in Muay Thai Boxing aswell as his Jackie Chan inspired Stuntwork.
Ladies and Gents, Meet the Next Generation of Martial Arts Cinema.
10. Pei-Pei Cheng
Actress | Wo hu cang long
Born in Shanghai, Cheng Pei Pei trained as a ballet dancer. She was abandoned at age 15 and forced to fend for herself and her younger sister. Shaw Brothers discovered her in 1963. Cheng was groomed to play male characters in opera films until a young director named King Hu chose her to star in a new-wave swordswoman film titled Come Drink With Me (1965). It set new standards for all wu xia movies to come. (Director Ang Lee admitted that it was the inspiration behind Crouching Tiger and the reason he cast Cheng in it.) With Cheng’s subsequent success, she was dubbed the first “Queen of Kung Fu Films.”
11. Biao Yuen
Actor | Bai ga jai
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 ...
the most Acrobatic man in Martial Arts Cinema. A Member of the infamous Dragon Brothers, which consists of Jackie Chan & Sammo Hung, all three started working and have appeared under Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, & Fist of Fury as extras and stuntmen.
12. Toshirô Mifune
Actor | Yôjinbô
Toshiro Mifune achieved more worldwide fame than any other Japanese actor of his century. He was born in Tsingtao, China, to Japanese parents and grew up in Dalian. He did not set foot in Japan until he was 21. His father was an importer and a commercial photographer, and young Toshiro worked in ...
13. JeeJa Yanin
Actress | Chocolate
Yanin "Jeeja" pronounced "ChiCha" Vismitananda was born in Bangkok, Thailand. Her mother is Prasita Vismitananda and her father, Pawadol Borirak, was a businessman who died when his daughter was 17, she has an older brother, Nantapong "Jeed" Vismitananda. She is mainly of Thai descent with some ...
The Future of Martial Arts Cinema. She can Kick Your Ass & look cute as hell doing it. Michelle Yeoh better watch her crown. Theres a new girl intown. :-D
Described as "the Female Tony Jaa," i can honestly say its fitting. Like Jaa, she does ALL of her own stunts and fighting, Like Jaa, her films uses little to NO cgi effects and wires, and like Jaa, Jeeja's debut film, 'Chocolate' is mindblowingly good, especially for long time fans of hardcore wireless Martial Arts action. Not to mention theyre both from Thailand and work with the same directors.
14. Tak-Hing Kwan
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 ...
In 1949 filmmaker Wu Peng revived the dying Cantonese cinema of Hong Kong by casting Cantonese opera star Kwan Tak-Hing to play legendary folk hero Huang Fei-hung. Born in 1906, Kwan was dubbed the “Patriotic Entertainer” for raising funds in the United States for the Chinese war effort against Japan. A master of the white crane and hong styles of kung fu, he was also an expert lion dancer and calligrapher. Over the course of 85 films, his name became synonymous with Huang Fei-hung, and his movies were seen as the official start of the gung fu pian (kung fu film genre).
Actor | Lat sau san taam
Philip Kwok began his career as a circus acrobat and worked in the Peking Opera, unlike many others, he had not aspired to work in the film industry. He began working as a stuntman and eventually worked his way into leading roles. His performance in Boxer Rebellion caught Director Chang Cheh's ...
Leader of The “Five Venoms”
Although based on five actors (really six) from the Shaw Brothers classic The Five Venoms (1978), the “Five Venoms” is a group of actors who worked together to make 20 of the most intricately choreographed weapons films ever. The actors were Philip Kwok, the leader, usually playing a good guy; Chiang Sheng, noted for humor and using double weapons; Lo Meng, the muscle-and-fists fighter; Sun Chien, the kicker; Lu Feng, usually a villain; and Wei Bai, who worked mostly behind the camera because of Tourette’s syndrome.
16. Jimmy Wang Yu
Actor | Wu xia
Jimmy Wang Yu was born on March 28, 1944 in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China. He is an actor and producer, known for Dragon (2011), Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) and The Dragon Flies (1975). He was previously married to Jeanette Lin Tsui.
Born in 1942, Jimmy Wong Yu was originally named Wong Zheng-quan. After making plans to further his civil-engineering and business background while studying abroad, on a lark he auditioned at Shaw Brothers Studios. Out of 5,000 hopefuls, he was one of three who made the grade. At a time when romances and musicals overshadowed action films, director Chang Cheh cast Wong Yu in a macho, heroic bloodshed film titled One-Armed Swordsman (1967), and it shot him to stardom. In The Chinese Boxer (1969), he launched a new type of movie that blended the “rival school” and “crippled hero” motifs. He’s renowned as the first star to do all his own fights and stunts.
17. Stephen Chow
Actor | Kung fu
Stephen Chow was the only boy of his family, and has grown up as a Bruce Lee fan and a martial arts addict. His career started on TV, where he presented a children show ( "430 Space Shuttle" (1983)) and started becoming popular. He got some supporting roles, after that, and won the Taiwanese Golden...
Considered more of a Funnyman/Comedian than a "Serious Martial Arts Action Actor" Chow, also an accomplished Director, Producer, & Writer, is a key figure in Hong Kong Cinema history. Dubbed the "Jim Carrey of the East," he alongside Jackie Chan & maybe Andy Lau were the biggest Hong Kong Box Office draws of the 90s & 00's. He is included on this list for his work and contribution to the genre in the brilliant and hilarious King of Beggars, Forbidden City Cop, Fist of Fury (1991), Love on Delivery, God of Cookery, Kung Fu Hustle & Shaolin Soccer (among numerous others) Were he mastered the art of "Kung Fu Comedy." He is also a known Bruce Lee fanatic and references him often in his films.
18. Shintarô Katsu
Actor | Zatôichi to Yôjinbô
Shintarô Katsu was born on November 29, 1931 in Fukagawa, Tokyo, Japan as Toshio Okumura. He was an actor and director, known for Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970), Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman (1971) and Kaoyaku (1971). He was married to Tamao Nakamura. He died on June 21, 1997 in Kashiwa, ...
Shintaro Katsu is best-known for playing a blind nomadic gambler and masseur named Zatoichi, whose humble facade hid a swordsman with a breathtaking quick-draw. From 1962 to 1989, Katsu made 26 Zatoichi feature films, with new installments coming out bimonthly in 1964. Katsu also produced the manga-based Lone Wolf and Cub film series (aka Shogun Assassin), which starred his brother, Tomisaburo Wakayama. A remake of Zatoichi starring Takeshi Katano was made in 2003.
Actor | Black Rain
Tomisaburô Wakayama was born on September 1, 1929 in Tokyo, Japan as Masaru Okumura. He was an actor and producer, known for Black Rain (1989), Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) and Shogun Assassin (1980). He died on April 2, 1992 in Kyoto, Japan.
a Japanese actor, best known for playing Ogami Ittō, the scowling, 17th century ronin warrior in the six Lone Wolf and Cub (Shogun Assassin) samurai movies. At the age of 13, he began to study judo, eventually achieving the rank of 4th dan black belt in the art. Wakayama went on to star in many films, performing in a variety of roles. It has been estimated that he appeared in between 250 to 500 films. His only roles in American movies were as a baseball coach in The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978) and as a yakuza boss in Ridley Scott's Black Rain (1989).
Brother of Shintaro Katsu.
20. David Chiang
Actor | Ci Ma
David Chiang was born in Suzhou, China on June 29, 1947. His mother Hung Wei and father Yim Dut were very popular movie stars. Young David began his acting career at a very early age, appearing in black & white films while he was only 4 years old. "John" is David's real English name, while "David" ...
21. Kuan Tai Chen
Actor | The Man with the Iron Fists
Prior to pursuing a career in film, Chen Kuan-Tai was a Hong Kong fireman and the 1969 light-heavyweight champion of the Southeast Asian Chinese Martial Arts Tournament. A kung fu practitioner since the age of 8, he was the first martial arts champ to enter moviemaking. He began as a stuntman in Kuan Tak-hing’s Huang Fei-hung movies, then made his mark in Boxer From Shantung (1972), which was co-directed by John Woo. Chen starred in more than 80 films, struck gold directing Iron Monkey (1977) and won critical acclaim for his role in Killer Constable (1980).
22. Chia-Liang Liu
Actor | Jui kuen II
Chia-Liang Liu was born on August 1, 1936 in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He is known for his work on Drunken Master II (1994), Legendary Weapons of China (1982) and My Young Auntie (1981). He was married to Jing-Jing Yung and Hsiu-Hsia Ho. He died on June 25, 2013 in Hong Kong, China.
Lau Kar-Leung is a famous Hong Kong martial arts filmmaker, choreographer, and actor. He is best known for his movies which he made during the 1970s and 1980s for the Shaw Brothers Studio. One of his most famous films is The 36th Chamber of Shaolin which starred his martial brother, Lau Kar-fai, as well as Drunken Master II which starred Jackie Chan.
23. Lung Ti
Actor | Ying hung boon sik
Lung Ti was born on August 19, 1946 in Guangdong Province, China as Tam Fu Wing. He is an actor and director, known for A Better Tomorrow (1986), Drunken Master II (1994) and Dynasty of Blood (1973). He has been married to Min-Ming Tao since May 22, 1975. They have one child.
Trained in wing chun, Ti Lung was a competent tailor before being cast with longtime cohort David Chiang in Dead End (1969). He attained superstar status with Blood Brothers (1972), which was co-directed by John Woo. After the trio broke up, Ti’s status was cemented with The Sentimental Swordsman (1977) and The Deadly Breaking Sword (1979), making him one of Shaw Brothers’ perennial heroes. Although replaced by Jet Li for Once Upon a Time in China (1991), Ti co-starred in Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master II.
24. Kara Wai
Actress | Wu xia
Born Kara Hui Ying-Hung on in Shandong, China. Her Family moved to Hong Kong in 1966 and she started working at night clubs at fourteen. Her family lost their savings from her father's business acquaintances. Being left penniless, Hui's mother, herself and her siblings were forced to peddle goods ...
Kara Hui Ying-Hung (born 3 February 1960) is a Hong Kong actress of Manchu ancestry.
After working at nightclubs, Hui was discovered by Kung Fu film director Lau Kar Leung and cast in Lau Kar Leung's Challenge of the Masters (1976). After that, she participated in various films of Lau with whom she also was rumoured to have had an affair.
Hui reached her career apex in My Young Auntie (1982), for which she was awarded the Best Actress Award in the 1st Hong Kong Film Awards. She won the Best Actress Award for the second time at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards. Her other notable roles include those in Eight Diagram Pole Fighter & Dirty Ho.
Hui is the sister of actor Austin Wai.
25. Lieh Lo
Actor | Tian xia di yi quan
Born in Indonesia to Cantonese parents, Lo migrated to Hong Kong in his teens, where he attended acting school and in 1962 joined the Shaw Bros. film company. By 1969 he had become the first kungfu superstar, preceding the legendary Bruce Lee. He acted in more than 100 films, usually cast as ...
26. Hiroyuki Sanada
Actor | Tasogare Seibei
Hiroyuki Sanada was born on the 12th of October, 1960 in Tokyo. He made his film debut when he was 5 in Game of Chance (1965) (Shin'ichi Chiba played the lead role.) Sanada's father died when he was 11. Sanada joined Japan Action Club, organized and run by Sonny Chiba, when he was 12. Sanada first ...
27. Jing Wu
Actor | Zhan lang
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 ...
28. Siu Tin Yuen
Actor | Zui quan
Already a veteran of the Peking Opera, he starred in countless black and white costume dramas before son Woo-Ping Yuen cast him in _Snake in Eagle's Shadow_ , the film which launched Jackie Chan's career. He then went on to feature alongside Chan and Jung-Lee Hwang(_Snake in Eagle's Shadow_'s main ...
29. Woo-Ping Yuen
is a Chinese martial arts choreographer and film director, renowned as one of the most successful and influential figures in the world of Hong Kong action cinema. He is one of the inductees on the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong. Yuen is also a son of Yuen Siu-tien, a renowned martial arts film actor.
Yuen achieved his first directing credit in 1978 on the seminal Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, starring Jackie Chan, followed quickly by Drunken Master. The films were smash-hits, launching Jackie Chan as a major film-star, turning Seasonal Films into a major independent production company, and starting a trend towards comedy in martial arts films that continues to the present day.
Yuen went on to work with such figures as Sammo Hung in Magnificent Butcher (1979), Yuen Biao in Dreadnaught (1981), Donnie Yen in Iron Monkey (1993), and Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh in Tai Chi Master (1993) and Wing Chun (1994).
Yuen's works, particularly his action choreography on Fist of Legend (1994), attracted the attention of the Wachowski brothers, who hired him as the martial arts choreographer on The Matrix (1999). The success of this collaboration, plus his action choreography on the following year's hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, made him a highly sought after figure in Hollywood. He went on to work on the Matrix sequels and Kill Bill (2003).
More recent action choreography duties in Hong Kong cinema have included Kung Fu Hustle (2004), starring Stephen Chow, and Fearless (2006), starring Jet Li.
30. Jung-Lee Hwang
Actor | Ying zhao tie bu shan
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...
31. Corey Yuen
Actor | Zhi fa xian feng
is a Hong Kong actor, filmmaker and producer. He was a member of the Peking Opera Schools and one of the Seven Little Fortunes.
Corey was one of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao's best friends during their days in the China Drama Academy Peking Opera School. They spent those days training in a harshly disciplined style under the watch of Master Yu Jim-yuen. He would go to appear as an extra in Hong Kong films during the "chop socky" era of the 1970s.
32. Sheng Fu
Actor | Jue dai shuang jiao
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 ...
Alexander was born as Cheung Fu-Sheng in 20 October 1954 in Hong Kong, the son of a wealthy New Territories indigenous inhabitant businessman. His youth was characterized by his quick temper, disinterest in school, and fighting in the streets. As a child, his family lived in Hawaii for a few years and there he began training in judo and karate.
Fu Sheng's films are still revered in Hong Kong. He is not as well known in the U.S. as other Hong Kong martial arts film stars due to his short life and limited availability of his films. But he has a strong cult following among genre fans. Fu Sheng's old makeup cubicle at the Shaw Brothers studio features a shrine constructed to appease his ghost, which is said to haunt the backlot.
Actor | Double Impact
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 ...
34. Angela Mao
Actress | Enter the Dragon
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 ...
35. Scott Adkins
Actor | Boyka: Undisputed IV
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 ...
36. Mas Oyama
Mas Oyama was born on July 27, 1923 in Gimje, Jeollabuk-do, Korea as Choi Yeong-eui. He was an actor and writer, known for Bodigaado Kiba: Hissatsu sankaku tobi (1973), The Strongest Karate Part 2 (1976) and Bodigaado Kiba (1973). He died on April 26, 1994 in Japan.
Other than Bruce Lee this man is also considered as one of the Greatest Martial Artists of the 20th Century. Nicknamed "The God Hand" he has The ability to sever bulls' horns with his bare hands. Born in South Korea in 1923, Choi immigrated to Japan in 1938, where he established his first dojo in 1953. Since its inception, Kyokushin Karate has spread to more than 120 countries, with more than twelve million practitioners, making it one of the largest martial arts styles in the world. Choi Bae-dal (Mas Oyama) was portrayed by actor Dong-kun Yang in the South Korean biographical film "Fighter in the Wind" (2004).
One of Choi Bae-dal's (Mas Oyama) students is the reknowned Japanese actor Sonny Chiba of "Street Fighter" and "Kill Bill" fame. Chiba appeared as Mas Oyama in 3 biographical films in Japan under the titles "Karate Bullfighter" (1975), "Karate Bearfighter" (1977), and "Karate for Life" (1977). Oyama Cameos in this series during the opening Credits. He is the founder of Kyokushin Karate.
37. Chun Ip
Actor | Yip Man chin chyun
He is the eldest son of the legendary Martial Arts master Yip Man that trained Bruce Lee Wing Chun in his early years, he appeared in the Ip Man: The Legend is Born as one of his fathers teachers. He is also an exceptional Wing Chun Master.
38. Collin Chou
Actor | The Matrix Reloaded
Collin Chou was born on August 11, 1967 in Taiwan as Hsiao-Lung Chou. He is known for his work on The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and The Forbidden Kingdom (2008). He has been married to Wanda Yung since December 10, 1997. They have two children.
Former member of the Hung Ga Ban (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo Stuntman Association).
39. Ken Lo
Actor | Rush Hour
Ken Lo was born on March 19, 1957 in Laos as Kenneth Lo Wai-Kwong. He is known for his work on Rush Hour (1998), Police Story 4: First Strike (1996) and Shinjuku Incident (2009). He was previously married to Suk Yin Lai.
is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist and a ex-member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team born in Laos on March 17, 1959. But in 1975, he moved from Cambodia when he was 15 years old to Udon Thani, Thailand, then 5 years later, in 1980 he fled to Hong Kong in where he took a job as a tour guide.
His idol was Bruce Lee, King of Kung Fu, which led him to practice Thai Boxing and Tae Kwon Do in Thailand. He won the freestyle fighting Championships seven times so his chance finally came with his first movie Working Class (1985) starring Samuel Hui directed by Tsui Hark.
In 1986, Lo met Jackie Chan in a popular disco in Hong Kong, where he was head of security and Jackie hired him as his own bodyguard. He not only became Jackie Chan's bodyguard but also acted in many martial arts movies. One of his famous roles is John, the main villain and right-hand man of the British ambassador in Legend of Drunken Master (1994) in which he and Jackie Chan engage in a protracted final fight; Lo stepped in when another actor was injured. That climactic ten-minute fight sequence has become legendary: Roger Ebert called it "one of the most remarkably sustained examples of martial arts choreography ever filmed."
40. Yasuaki Kurata
Actor | Jing wu ying xiong
David Kurata, is a Japanese actor specializing in action movies. An accomplished martial artist, he has dan ranks in karate (5th degree), judo (3rd degree), and aikido (2nd degree). He is perhaps best known for his extended battle against Jet Li in Fist of Legend and for his villainous role in So Close. He is fluent in Cantonese.
41. Wenzhuo Zhao
Actor | Su Qi-er
Chiu Man-cheuk, is a Chinese actor and martial artist. Zhao is best known playing the role of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung in the Once Upon a Time in China film and television series.
42. Chuck Norris
Actor | Walker, Texas Ranger
Chuck Norris is familiar to fans worldwide as the star of action films such as The Hitman (1991), The Delta Force (1986) and Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990). He also starred in Missing in Action (1984) and its sequels, Firewalker (1986) and Sidekicks (1992). He was an executive ...
He has recently become the butt end of countless jokes. Nevertheless. Dont *beep* with the Chuck.
43. Dan Inosanto
Actor | Game of Death
Noted Filipino-American martial arts practitioner, who studied "jeet kune do" from fellow martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. Always seeking to improve his knowledge, Inosanto holds numerous belts in various martial arts including Asian, American & Brazilian disciplines such as Muay Thai, Pentjak ...
45. Qiu Yuen
Actress | Kung fu
Qiu Yuen apprenticed Chinese martial arts and Beijing-opera skills with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung as well as Kam-Bo under the same master, Yu Jim-yuen, whilst at the Beijing Opera School (part of the Chinese Drama Academy).
Early in her career, Cheung Cheun Nam (aka Qiu Yuen) worked briefly as a ...
47. Siu-Lung Leung
Actor | Kung fu
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...
48. Shô Kosugi
Actor | Ninja Assassin
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 ...
49. Casanova Wong
Actor | Sadaetonguimun
Former taekwondo champ in the Korean Army. Nicknamed Human Tornado for spinning kicks.
Trained in icy rivers during Korea's harsh winters
Also studied wing chun
50. Bolo Yeung
Actor | Bloodsport
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 ...
52. Benny Urquidez
Actor | Grosse Pointe Blank
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 ...
54. Wesley Snipes
Actor | Blade
Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Marian (Long), a teacher's assistant, and SMSGT 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 dance and the theatre were to be his career. He attended ...
55. Yukari Ôshima
Actress | Lik wong
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 ...
56. Jason Statham
Actor | Crank
Jason Statham was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, to Eileen (Yates), a dancer, and Barry Statham, a street merchant and lounge singer. He was a Diver on the British National Diving Team and finished twelfth in the World Championships in 1992. He has also been a fashion model, black market salesman ...
58. Tak Sakaguchi
Actor | Versus
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 ...
Actor | Black Dynamite
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 ...
60. Ho-Sung Pak
Actor | Lesser of Three Evils
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 ...
63. Steven Seagal
Producer | On Deadly Ground
Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical technician, and Samuel Seagal, a high school math teacher. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, and his mother had English, German, and distant Irish and Dutch, ancestry. The enigmatic ...
64. 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 ...
The Son of a Legend.
65. Dolph Lundgren
Actor | Rocky IV
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. ...
66. Bill Wallace
Actor | The Ultimate Throwdown
Bill "Superfoot" Wallace is a living legend in the world of martial arts and professional kickboxing. A pioneer in the sport, he began his martial arts career as a Karate point-fighter. He competed along with such immortals as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, and Skipper Mullins. After an ...
67. Cung Le
Actor | Pandorum
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 ...
68. Randy Couture
Actor | The Expendables 2
Randy Couture is a collegiate wrestler and fighter turned actor from Everett, Washington. He served as a four time US Olympic wrestling team alternate as a soldier in the U.S. Army, and is also a 6 time world heavyweight and light heavyweight UFC champion and Hall of Famer. He is a graduate of ...
69. Mark Dacascos
Actor | Le pacte des loups
Mark Dacascos is an actor, director, martial artist, and television personality. Whether seen on the big screen or small, playing the good guy or the bad, Mark has been making audience stand up and take notice for many years.
This May, Mark will be seen in highly anticipated film John Wick: Chapter ...
70. Siu-Ho Chin
Actor | Jing wu ying xiong
Siu-Ho Chin was born on January 26, 1963 in Hong Kong. He is known for his work on Fist of Legend (1994), Tai-Chi Master (1993) and The Masked Avengers (1981). He has been married to Sin-Ming Yau since 2001. They have one child. He was previously married to Sharon Kwok.
71. Don Wilson
Actor | Batman Forever
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 ...
72. Jim Kelly
Actor | Enter the Dragon
With his funky Afro hairstyle, super cool attitude and superb karate skills, Jim Kelly was instantly identifiable, and one of the top martial arts film stars of the early 1970s. After appearing in a minor film role, Kelly's second screen effort was as one of the invited guests to the deadly Han's ...
73. Siu-Wong Fan
Actor | Lik wong
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 ...
74. Billy Blanks
Actor | The Last Boy Scout
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 ...
75. Iko Uwais
Actor | Serbuan Maut
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...
BRAD ALLAN: Born with an inherent fascination of all things Chinese, Brad Allan started studying martial arts, boxing, gymnastics and Chinese circus arts from the age of 10 years. At age 15 years, Brad met two of China's greatest wushu athletes Liang Chang Xing and Tang Lai Wei of the renowned ...
77. Jeff Speakman
Actor | The Perfect Weapon
Jeff Speakman 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 ...
78. Loren Avedon
Actor | The King of the Kickboxers
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 ...
80. Michel Qissi
Actor | Kickboxer
When he was seven years old Michel Qissi began training in boxing. He soon met and befriended a young Jean-Claude Van Varenberg (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who was studying Shotokan Karate, and the two traded techniques in their systems. They grew up together and shared the same love of action films ...
81. Richard Norton
Actor | Mad Max: Fury Road
A powerful screen presence, Richard Norton wins the applause of international audiences with his engaging ability to play either the hero or the heavy. Rare versatility and focused work ethic have enabled him to build an expanding library of almost 100 film and television titles. The disciplines ...
82. Robin Shou
Actor | Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
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...
83. Chris Casamassa
Actor | Mortal Kombat
Chris Casamassa is the son of American Martial arts pioneer Louis D. Casamassa. He is a world class Martial art expert with a 9th degree black belt in Red Dragon Karate and over 35 years of experience. Casamassa currently presides over the 12 Red Dragon Karate Schools in Southern California. He ...
84. Darren Shahlavi
Actor | I Spy
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...
85. Nicholas Tse
Actor | Shi yue wei cheng
Nicholas was born in Hong Kong, China. He attended school in Vancouver, Canada. He also attended school for a short time in Phoenix, Arizona before moving back to Hong Kong with his parents Patrick Yin Tse and Deborah Dik, and his sister, Jennifer (Ting Ting). Nicholas started his singing career ...
86. Johnny Nguyen
Actor | Tom yum goong
Johnny left Vietnam at the age of 8, uncertain of what lied ahead. As a boy, he already loved Hong Kong cinema. Johnny would 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 ...
87. Ray Park
Ray Park was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He moved with his parents, younger brother and sister to London, England, at the age of seven. Ray always wanted to be in the movies, and be like their heroes. He also began to nurture a love for martial arts from the age of seven, when his father's fondness ...
Diana Lee Inosanto is the daughter of legendary martial artist, Dan Inosanto and Sue Ann Reveal. She is also the goddaughter of global icon, the late Bruce Lee. Dan was such close friends to the late Bruce Lee, that in honor of his friend, he named his daughter, and first child, "Diana Lee".
Daughter of FMA master Dan Inosanto, aswell as being an accomplished martial artist in her own right.
89. Jerry Trimble
Actor | Heat
Jerry Trimble was born in Newport, Kentucky. He was an insecure, fearful and bullied kid. At age 14 he was inspired by Bruce Lee and began studying 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...
90. Rina Takeda
Actress | Iya monogatari: Oku no hito
Takeda Rina was born in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. She claims she decided to become an actress at age six. She has an older and younger brother. The younger brother is actor Takeda kazuma who has found roles in Rina's movies. She became interested in karate through her father Takeda Takeshi. ...
91. Gary Daniels
Actor | The Expendables
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 ...
92. Phillip Rhee
Actor | Best of the Best
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 (Former Chairman of Lions Gate) and Frank Giustra, a Canadian Billionaire and founder of Lions Gate. The first "Best of ...
Actor | Airplane!
Legendary US NBA basketball player with the Milwaukee Bucks (1969-1975) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1975-1989), the 7' 2" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Lew Alcindor) has made numerous guest appearances on US TV shows including Man from Atlantis (1977), 21 Jump Street (1987), Tales from the Darkside (...
94. Alexander Rei Lo
Actor | Hong men jue e zhe
Alexander Lo won the Taiwan 1978 Tae Kwan do championship, and got into the movie business after his older brother Tong Lung introduced him to director Robert Tai, with whom he most frequently collaborated. Alexander worked on many films about Ninjas, such as Wu Tang vs. Ninja (1987), The Super ...
95. Daniel Bernhardt
Actor | Atomic Blonde
Daniel Bernhardt was born on the 31st August 1965 in Worblaufen, 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 ...
96. Russell Wong
Actor | Romeo Must Die
Russell Wong has earned a reputation as a sexy, charismatic leading man whose good looks are matched by his skills as an actor. The sixth of seven children, Russell Wong was born in Troy, New York; the son of restaurateur William Wong and Dutch-American artist Connie Van Yserloo. When Russell was ...
97. John Saxon
Actor | A Nightmare on Elm Street
John Saxon has appeared in nearly 200 roles in the movies and on television in a more-than half-century-long career that has stretched over seven decades since he made his big screen debut in 1954 in uncredited small roles in It Should Happen to You (1954) and George Cukor's A Star Is Born (1954). ...
98. Kurt McKinney
Actor | No Retreat, No Surrender
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 ...
99. Ernie Reyes Jr.
Ernie Reyes Jr. was born on January 15, 1972 in San Jose, California, USA as Ernest E. Reyes. He is an actor and producer, known for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), The Rundown (2003) and Red Sonja (1985). He has been married to Lisa Reyes since November 11, 2009.
100. Gina Carano
Actress | Haywire
From pioneering women's MMA to blazing a trail in movies, GINA CARANO is one of Hollywood's most unique rising stars. Carano began her training with Muay Thai to competitive MMA, where she competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC. Her popularity led to her being called the "Face of Women's MMA" and she ...