Notable Martial Arts Actors (no order)

by brucenatelee | created - 03 Dec 2016 | updated - 03 Dec 2016 | Public

I love martial arts films. However, as the Matrix series has shown us, some actors can just learn some techniques for the big screen. This is a list of actors/actresses who are well known martial artists. Please help out, if possible.

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. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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 ...

5. 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 ...

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme

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 ...

7. 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 ...

8. Elodie Yung

Actress | The Hitman's Bodyguard

Elodie Yung was born in Paris, France, of Cambodian and French descent. She grew up in Seine-saint-Denis, in Le Bourget, where she practiced karate and obtained her black belt. She graduated from University of La Sorbonne in Paris and has a law degree. She then decided to study acting at London ...

9. 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 ...

10. 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 ...

11. Michelle Yeoh

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, ...

12. 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 ...

13. 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 ...

14. Ronda Rousey

Actress | Furious Seven

Ronda Rousey burst onto the women's MMA scene in August of 2010. Born in Riverside County, California on February 1, 1987 to parents Ron Rousey and AnnMaria DeMars, little Ronda was born with an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck that damaged her vocal cords. She didn't speak coherently until ...

15. Taylor Lautner

Actor | Twilight

Taylor Daniel Lautner was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Deborah, a software company worker, and Daniel Lautner, a pilot for Midwest Airlines. He, and younger sister Makena, were raised in a well-mannered, Roman Catholic household in Hudsonville, Michigan. He is of English, German, Dutch, and ...

16. Jon Foo

Actor | Tekken

Jon Foo was born October 30th, 1982 in London England. He is known for his roles in The Protector (2005) Tekken (2010) WEAPONiZED (2016) and Rush Hour (2016) . He studied Art and Design, excelled in sports and took up a career in Film, with his main body of work existing in London, Thailand, Hong ...

17. Summer Glau

Actress | Serenity

Summer is a native of San Antonio, Texas. She's been a ballerina most of her life. Her debut was in various commercials and a guest appearance on the WB's Angel (1999). She has gone on to star on the TV series Firefly (2002) as well as its follow-up movie Serenity (2005) and the TV series ...

18. Milla Jovovich

Actress | The Fifth Element

Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element (1997), Ultraviolet (2006), and the Resident Evil (2002) franchise.

Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich ...

19. 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. ...

20. Neil Brown Jr.

Actor | SEAL Team

Born in a rough neighborhood to strict, but loving parents. Neil Brown, Jr, who was a gifted martial artist and self proclaimed "knucklehead ", received his first role in film purely by chance, when a producer Patty Thomas Robinson walked into his karate Dojo looking for a kid to be in the TV ...

21. Naomi Watts

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

Naomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts (Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and...

22. Evan Rachel Wood

Actress | Thirteen

Evan Rachel Wood was born September 7, 1987, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her father, Ira David Wood III, is a theatre actor, writer and director, and her mother, Sara Wood, is an actress and acting coach. She has two older brothers--Dana Wood, a musician, and Ira David Wood IV, who has also acted. ...

23. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Actress | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Emmy Award-winning Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City, the daughter of Rosellen (Greenfield), who taught at a nursery school, and Arthur Gellar, who worked in the garment industry. She is of Russian Jewish and Hungarian Jewish descent.

Eating in a local restaurant, ...

24. 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 ...

25. 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 ...

26. 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 ...

27. Sammo Kam-Bo Hung

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 ...

28. 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 ...

29. 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 ...

30. 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 ...

31. Yun-Fat Chow

Actor | Wo hu cang long

Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of western audiences via his roles in the high-octane/blazing guns action films of maverick HK director John Woo.

Chow was born in 1955 on the quiet island of Lamma, part of the ...

32. Cynthia Rothrock

Actress | Cui hua kuang mo

Cynthia Rothrock was born on March 8, 1957 in Wilmington, Delaware, USA as Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock. She is an actress and producer, known for Undefeatable (1993), Lady Dragon (1992) and Honor and Glory (1993).

33. 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...

34. 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 ...

35. 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 ...

36. 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 ...

37. 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 ...

38. 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...

39. Maggie Q

Actress | Divergent

Margaret Denise Quigley was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a father of Polish and Irish descent (originally based in New York) and a Vietnamese mother. Her parents met during the Vietnam War. Maggie has two older half-siblings from her mother's previous marriage, and two older sisters. The family ...



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