Martial Art Actors

by manu_matias | created - 30 Jun 2014 | updated - 30 Jun 2014 | Public

Karate & Kung Fu Masters

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. 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 ...

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. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Actor | Mortal Kombat

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa got his first big break as an actor when he was cast in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987). A US Army brat, he was born in Tokyo and lived in various cities while growing up. His father was in the army, stationed at Ft. Bragg (NC), Ft. Polk (LA) and Ft. Hood (TX). His...

7. 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...

8. 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.

9. 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 ...

10. 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 ...

11. 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 ...

12. 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 ...

13. Steven Seagal

Actor | On Deadly Ground

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 ...

14. 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 ...

15. 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 ...

16. 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 ...

17. 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 ...

18. 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 ...

19. 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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. 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...

22. 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 ...

23. 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 ...

24. Dennis Chan

Actor | Kickboxer

Born in 1949 in Hong Kong, Dennis Chan Kwok-sun is the younger brother of actor-director Philip Chan. While still in school, Chan appeared with his band on a television variety show and was invited by a RTHK director to audition. He was accepted and performed regularly in TV dramas in the 1970s. In...

Actor Kickboxer ,Adversar Van Damme

25. 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 ...

Adversar Van Damme in Double Impact

26. 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 ...

Kickboxer 2

27. 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 ...

28. 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 ...

29. 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 ...

30. Simon Rhee

Stunts | Inception

Simon Rhee is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and a 4th Degree Black Belt in Hap Ki Do. He is a World-Class Martial Artist known for his beautiful kicks and incredible forms, and is a many-time Grand Champion of the tournament circuit. Karate Illustrated noted that, "Simon Rhee has the ...

Actor Adversar ,Best Of the Best

31. 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. ...

32. 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). ...

33. 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 ...

34. 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.

35. 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 Cui hua kuang mo (1993), Honor and Glory (1993) and Above the Law (1986).

Kung fu Woman

36. Tanit Phoenix Copley

Actress | Gallowwalkers

Tanit Phoenix Copley was born on September 24, 1980 in Durban, Natal, South Africa. She is known for her work on Gallowwalkers (2012), Safe House (2012) and Hardcore Henry (2015). She has been married to Sharlto Copley since February 15, 2016. They have one child.

Thai Chi & Muay Thai

37. 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, ...



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