The Greatest Martial Arts Actors

by mccormackkevin89 | created - 22 Jan 2014 | updated - 10 May 2014 | Public

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 ...

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 ...

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,...

4. 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 ...

5. 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 ...

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 ...

7. Steven Seagal

Actor | Exit Wounds

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 (1988).

Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical ...

8. Michael Jai White

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 ...

9. Scott Adkins

Actor | Doctor Strange

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 ...

10. 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. 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 ...

11. 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...

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 ...

13. David Carradine

Actor | Kill Bill: Vol. 2

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 ...

14. Ray Park

Actor | Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

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 ...

15. Pat Morita

Actor | The Karate Kid

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 (1984), the sparkling Noriyuki Morita was back again dishing out Eastern philosophy and martial arts lessons for The Karate ...

16. Mark Dacascos

Actor | Le pacte des loups

Mark Dacascos was born on February 26, 1964 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA as Mark Alan Dacascos. He is known for his work on Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), Only the Strong (1993) and Drive (1997). He has been married to Julie Condra since January 5, 1998. They have three children.

17. Rain

Actor | Ssa-i-bo-geu-ji-man-gwen-chan-a

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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. Michael Dudikoff

Actor | Platoon Leader

Michael Dudikoff was born on October 8, 1954 in Redondo Beach, California, USA as Michael Joseph Stephen Dudikoff. He is an actor, known for Platoon Leader (1988), American Ninja (1985) and Bachelor Party (1984). He has been married to Belle since September 18, 2004. They have three children.

20. 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.

21. 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...

22. Iko Uwais

Actor | The Raid 2: Berandal

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...

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 ...

24. 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 ...

25. Sasha Mitchell

Actor | Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor

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 (1994). A black belt in tae kwon do, Sasha was once an ...

26. Matthias Hues

Actor | Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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. Maria is the niece of Engelbert Humperdinck, composer of the opera Hansel and Gretel.

Matthias was very involved in sports from an early age on. By the ...

27. Will Yun Lee

Actor | Altered Carbon

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 ...

28. Yu Wang

Actor | Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi

Yu Wang was born on March 28, 1944 in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China. He is an actor and producer, known for Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976), Du bei dao (1967) and Dragon (2011). He was previously married to Jeanette Lin Tsui.

29. Tom Laughlin

Actor | Billy Jack

Tom Laughlin was born on August 10, 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA as Thomas Robert Laughlin. He was an actor and director, known for Billy Jack (1971), The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) and The Born Losers (1967). He was married to Delores Taylor. He died on December 12, 2013 in Thousand Oaks, ...

30. Robert Wall

Actor | Enter the Dragon

Robert Wall was born on August 22, 1939 in California, USA. He is known for his work on Enter the Dragon (1973), The Way of the Dragon (1972) and Game of Death (1978). He has been married to Lillian Prescott since November 16, 1968. They have two children.

31. 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 ...

32. Ralph Macchio

Actor | The Karate Kid

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 (1980), then a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight Is Enough (1977) followed...

33. Martin Kove

Actor | The Karate Kid

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 ...

34. William Zabka

Actor | The Karate Kid

William Zabka was born on October 20, 1965 in New York City, New York, USA as William Michael Zabka. He is an actor and producer, known for The Karate Kid (1984), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and The Karate Kid Part II (1986). He has been married to Stacie Lynn Doss since 2008.

35. Ted Jan Roberts

Actor | Milk

Ted Jan Roberts was born on September 24, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Theodore Jan Roberts. He is an actor and producer, known for Milk (2008), Hollywood Safari (1997) and Tiger Heart (1996).

36. Gerald Okamura

Actor | G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

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...

37. Al Leong

Actor | Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

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

Actor | Little Fish

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 ...

39. Rongguang Yu

Actor | Shanghai Noon

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 ...

40. Jason Scott Lee

Actor | Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

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. His ...

41. Tony Chiu-Wai Leung

Actor | Faa yeung nin wa

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 (1983) or Jue...

42. Takeshi Kaneshiro

Actor | Shi mian mai fu

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 ...

43. Andy Lau

Actor | Mou gaan dou

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...

44. Rain

Actor | Ssa-i-bo-geu-ji-man-gwen-chan-a

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 ...

45. Silvio Simac

Actor | Transporter 3

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 (1997). Silvio's martial arts background served him well for a part in the action film Undisputed ...

46. Kane Kosugi

Actor | Tekken: A Man Called X

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 ...

47. Byron Mann

Actor | Altered Carbon

Byron Mann was born as Byron Chan. He is an actor, known for Altered Carbon (2018), Skyscraper (2018) and The Big Short (2015).

48. Rick Yune

Actor | Die Another Day

Rick Yune was born on August 22, 1971 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Richard Yun. He is an actor and producer, known for Die Another Day (2002), Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and The Fast and the Furious (2001).

49. 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 ...

50. Daniel Wu

Actor | San ging chaat goo si

Daniel Wu was born on September 30, 1974 in Berkeley, California, USA as Daniel N. Wu. He is an actor and producer, known for San ging chaat goo si (2004), Wang jiao hei ye (2004) and Warcraft (2016). He has been married to Lisa S. since April 6, 2010. They have one child.

51. Yoyao Hsueh

Actor | The Man with the Iron Fists

Yoyao Hsueh is an actor and producer, known for The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Linsanity (2013) and 234 Shuo ai ni (2015).

52. Johnson Phan

Stunts | Star Trek: Beyond

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...

53. Ian Anthony Dale

Actor | The Hangover

Ian Anthony Dale was born on July 3, 1978 in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. He is an actor, known for The Hangover (2009), Hawaii Five-0 (2010) and Salvation (2017). He has been married to Nicole Garippo since October 2016. They have one child.

54. Darren Shahlavi

Actor | Alone in the Dark

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...

55. Brian Tee

Actor | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

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 ...

56. Aleks Paunovic

Actor | War for the Planet of the Apes

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 ...

57. Tahmoh Penikett

Actor | Trick 'r Treat

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, ...

58. Michael Rogers

Actor | Beyond the Black Rainbow

Michael Rogers was born on May 18, 1964 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada as Michael John Rogers. He is an actor and writer, known for Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010), Sollers Point (2017) and Continuum (2012).

59. Eric Jacobus

Actor | Rope a Dope

Jacobus is a stuntman, martial artist, and actor based in California. Jacobus began his film career in his hometown of Redding, CA in 2001 with the formation of The Stunt People. Originally a gymnast and weightlifter, Jacobus enlisted the help of local martial artists and gymnasts to create short ...

60. Dan Southworth

Stunts | The Scorpion King

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...

61. Shane Warren Jones

Actor | Mortal Kombat

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 ...

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 ...

63. Ryan Robbins

Actor | Sanctuary

Ryan Robbins was born on November 26, 1972 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada as Ryan John Currier. He is an actor, known for Sanctuary (2008), Apollo 18 (2011) and Spectral (2016). He has been married to Karyn Michelle Baltzer since 2014. They have one child. He was previously married to ...

64. 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 ...

65. Eric Steinberg

Actor | Star Trek: First Contact

Eric Steinberg was born in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. He is an actor, known for Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Day Break (2006) and Supergirl (2015).

66. Casper Van Dien

Actor | Starship Troopers

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 ...

67. Michael Chaturantabut

Actor | The Time Machine

Mike Chat as his friends call him, represents a new wave of Kung Fu, with over 14 years of experience, combining Okinawan Shorei-Ryu as a 4th degree black belt, Tae Kwon Do, Chinese Wushu, Kickboxing, yoga, ballet, dance and acrobatics. Mike was inducted in the World martial Arts Hall of Fame in ...

68. Taimak

Actor | The Last Dragon

Taimak was born on June 27, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Taimak Guarriello. He is known for his work on The Last Dragon (1985), Dreamers (1999) and Repeat Offenders: Jamais Vu (2011).

69. Jason David Frank

Actor | Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe

Jason David Frank is well-known for his role of Tommy Oliver in the long-running family television show Power Rangers. He is the voice of Emissary in Transformers: Titans Returns and brings Bloodshot to life in the highly-anticipated project Ninjak vs.the Valiant Universe. Always one looking for ...

70. David Yost

Actor | Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie

David Yost was born on January 7, 1969 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA as David Harold Yost. He is an actor and producer, known for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) and Power Rangers Zeo (1996).

71. Walter Jones

Actor | Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

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 (1993). He has been featured as a series regular or guest star in over 150 episodes of various ...

72. Johnny Yong Bosch

Actor | Bleach: Burîchu

Johnny Yong Bosch was born on January 6, 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as John Jay Bosch. He is known for his work on Bleach: Burîchu (2004), Akira (1988) and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995). He has been married to Amy Bosch since March 21, 2003. They have two children.

73. Ted Jan Roberts

Actor | Milk

Ted Jan Roberts was born on September 24, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Theodore Jan Roberts. He is an actor and producer, known for Milk (2008), Hollywood Safari (1997) and Tiger Heart (1996).



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