Top 10 martial artists in the world: The ancient discipline of martial arts is growing popular in many cultures as it spreads around the globe. One of the key reasons for the popularity of martial arts is that it can assist a person in a variety of ways. It makes you more active, more self-aware, and more disciplined. Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Wushu, and Mixed Martial Arts are some of the most prominent kinds of martial arts. The movie industry is partly responsible for martial arts’ enormous popularity. It has given us some of the finest martial artists who have elevated the art to new heights and captured the public’s interest. Leading film actors like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li are to name a few artists who have seamlessly showcased the art even at the cost of their health. Bollywood actor Vidyut Jammwal has recently been added to the list of the world’s top martial artists. We are now hopeful that the Indian type of martial arts would gain fame across the globe as a result of the actor’s efforts.
1. Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, the ace actor and one of the most well-known cinematic characters in the world, is deserving of the top spot on the list of the world’s top 10 martial artists in 2022. He’s best known for his slapstick acrobatic fighting style and inventive stunts, which are scripted to near-perfect perfection and frequently delivered in a comedic manner. He is one of the rare actors who performs all of his dangerous stunts without the use of a body duplicate, frequently at the sacrifice of his health. He was the one who brought Asian Martial Arts into mainstream Hollywood cinema, following in the footsteps of the renowned Bruce Lee.
He began his acting career in 1960 and has since appeared in over 150 films. Drunken Master, Police Story, Dragons Forever, The Legend of Drunken Master, Wheels on Meals, Armour of God, Rumble in the Bronx, New Police Story, Who am I, Rush Hour, and Snake In The Eagles Shadow are some of his films with the most difficult scenes and choreography. In addition to his feats, the actor is a well-known humanitarian as well as a comedian.
2. Jet Li
The renowned actor and film producer Li Lianjie, alias Jet Li, is next on our list of the top 10 martial artists in the globe. Wu Bin, the renowned Wushu teacher, has taught him Wushu. Jet Li then went on to star in the making critically acclaimed Martial arts movies that include Zhang Yimou’s Hero, Fist of Legend, and Once Upon a Time in China series. Aside from Chinese film, the actor has created a name for himself in French film with films like Kiss of the Dragon, Unleashed, The One, and War. He is well known for his kickboxing-inspired technique, which combines power, quickness, and control.
3. Vidyut Jammwal
The handsome hunk and a famous Bollywood actor, Vidyut Jammwal, is the latest to make its way in the top martial artists in the world list. With the caption Jai Hind, the fitness enthusiast and Hindi film action actor shared the same news on Instagram. When he was three years old, the actor began studying in martial arts, specifically Kalaripayattu. Kalaripayattu is a type of Martial arts that is performed on the battlefield along with weapons.
If we have to pick one of his best action movies in which Vidyut showcased his art, it would be the Commando series (all the three parts) that garnered him many accolades. He started his career with a Telugu movie- Shakti, in 2011 and the same year, he debut in Bollywood with Force.
4. Donnie Yen
The stalwart Donnie Yen is a Hong Cong Chinese actor, film director, martial artist, action choreographer and stunt man. Not many know Donnie is also the champion of the Wushu tournament. The actor came into the limelight with his Mixed Martial Art that he brought into mainstream Asian cinema with his movies. One of his movies that gained him stardom was Ip Man, in 2008, in which he played the role of Bruce Lee’s teacher- Wing Chun grandmaster.
The actor then went on to gain fame internationally with his film Rogue One: A Star Wars for his portrayal of blind battle monk Chirrut. Yen is also credited for making Wing Chun popular. Wing Chun is a well-known form of the self-defence and concept based style of traditional Southern Chinese Kung fu involving quick arm movements and strong legs.
5. Tony Jaa
How can we miss Tony Jaa in our list of top martial artists in the world in 2022. Tony or Tatchakorn Yeerum, aka Jaa Phanom, is an acclaimed Thai martial artists, choreographer, director, stuntman, actor and a Buddhist monk. At the age of 10, Tony began his training in Martial arts at a local temple. He then worked as a stuntman for 14 years for Muay Thai Stunt, the martial art form of Thailand, and appeared in numerous movies of Panna Rittikrai-director and martial artist. In 2003, he choreographed action Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and Tom-Yum-Goong in 2005, which made him famous as one of the greatest martial artists in the world.
6. Johnny Tri Nguyen
Vietnamese–martial artist, Johnny Tri Nguyen, has worn various hats as he has also choreographed in many American action movies, acted in films and performed stunts in the Vietnamese film industry. He was only 9 when he competed in on the U.S. National Team as Martial artists. He then rose to fame as a stuntman in Hollywood with movies like Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Jarhead (2005).
Johnny Tri Nguyen then starred in Vietnamese movies like The Rebel in 2007, Clash in 2009 Để Mai tính in 2010, and Tèo Em in 2013, in which he showcased his art to the fullest. These films broke many box office records and earned Johnny Tri Nguyen the title of one of the best martial artists in the world.
7. Wesley Snipes
The American Martial artists, film producer and actor, Wesley Snipes professes multiple arts. Snipes was 12 when he started his training in martial arts. He holds a 2nd-degree black belt in Hapkido and 5th-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate that helped him become one of the top martial artists in the world. Wesley Snipes has also received training in Capoeira under Mestre Jelon, Kickboxing, kung fu at the USA Shaolin Temple and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He was 23 when he made his debut as an actor in Wildcats in 1986. He then appeared in many shows, music videos and feature films that include Martin Scorsese, “Bad”, and Streets of Gold, respectively. By 90’s he became a famous name in American Cinema, but it was his breathtaking roles in movies like New Jack City in 1991, Passenger 57 in 1992, Blade film trilogy (1998–2004) and The Expendables 3 in 2014 that made him a star.
8. Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, aka Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a renowned film-maker, fight choreographer and one of the best veteran Martial artists in the world. Talking about Jean-Claude Van Damme childhood, he was just 12 when he started learning Karate at the National School of Karate. He continued his training for four years. He later learned other forms of martial art such as kickboxing and full-contact Karate and made his directorial debut with his martial art film called The Quest in 1996.
JCVD is also known for a couple of martial arts action movies that include Kickboxer in 1989, Death Warrant in 1990, Street Fighter in 1994 and Maximum Risk in 1996.
9. Michelle Yeoh
She is amongst the few best female martial artists who have received fame through their art. This Malaysian actress is best known for her Hong Kong action films. In 1997, Michelle Yeoh was internationally acknowledged for her strong role in the Bond film – Tomorrow Never Dies. It was her martial arts films and series Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Star Trek: Discovery that got her immense recognition on the OTT platforms.
The beautiful actress had also won the Miss Malaysia pageant in 1983. Rotten Tomatoes has ranked the actress as one of the greatest action heroines of all times. That’s not it in 1997; she was listed amongst the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People.
10. Iko Uwais
The heartthrob, Iko Uwais, who has garnered a huge fan following through his ongoing Netflix web series- Wu Assassins, is also a popular martial artist in the world. The young actor got his big break through martial art movie Merantau released in 2009, and since then, the actor has worked in many phenomenal projects such as The Raid 1 and 2 (2012), in which he showcased his natural martial art.
Not many know that Iko Uwais’ grandfather was Silat master, a type of martial art that is famous in many areas of South-eastern Asia, who founded a Silat school; thus, martial art is definitely in the actor’s blood.
Special Mention: Bruce Lee
Our list of best martial artists in the world would surely be incomplete without naming the God of martial arts, the late Bruce Lee. He was adept in a number of arts and had a wide range that spanned acting, directing, martial arts performer, as well as the instructor. Building upon his knowledge of the martial arts, he developed a hybrid martial arts philosophy and laid the foundation of Modern Mixed Martial arts. Lee learnt martial arts from his father and then studied Wing Chun.
He produced Hollywood and Hong Kong movies that raised classic martial arts films to global popularity and integrated them into countless mainstream movies. Bruce Lee died young in 1973, leaving behind a legacy that has been very ably carried forward by the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. The legendary Bruce Lee has left an indelible impression on the fans of martial arts or maybe just good-old action movie buffs.
Top 10 martial artists in the world Conclusion
Top 10 martial artists in the world: In this blog, we have curated the top 10 martial artists in the world with the special mention of God of Martial arts-Bruce Lee. Though, the list is endless as there are hundreds of martial artists across the globe who has carved a niche in this genre. However, these have made it to the list because of their cinematic presence, widespread popularity, commercial appeal and passion for taking martial arts to another level. Do let us know if we have missed any of the artists that deserve to be in the list.