Martial arts is more than just breaking bones, and today with the help of this guide, we are introducing you to the world of traditions of combat. Even though martial art has become a popular subject worldwide, only a fraction of people have been able to call themselves martial artists in the true sense. Do you want to know who these people are and what it took them to reach here? If yes, then our informative guide containing the list of top martial artists in the world can help you do so.
For many people, martial arts is about defending themselves or a way to boost self-confidence. However, there is always something more in martial arts than you usually think. Aside from teaching you skills to defend yourself, martial arts offer many character-building values and health benefits. If you are thinking of practicing martial arts, then learning more about this traditional art form can be helpful to you. Even if you are already a martial artist, you can enhance your knowledge about martial arts and the top 10 martial artists in the world.
This guide contains detailed information regarding the best martial arts in the world, top martial arts movies that you can watch, history and facts related to martial arts, and the list of top martial artists in the world. Check out the complete guide and gain knowledge about martial arts in the world.
Table of Contents
Top Martial Artists in The World
There are certain names that instantly come to our mind whenever we hear the word “martial arts.” These names are well-known for their unique fighting choreography and dangerous moves. Top martial artists in the world are experts in what they do and have shown the importance of self-discipline and patience in their martial arts form.
Today, we are going to introduce you to these popular names that are top 10 martial artists in the world in 2021. These popular names are ranked based on their dangerous moves. Here we are also going to highlight some of their famous works and a brief history of their struggle.
Bruce Lee is considered an iconic actor and holds the first position in the list of top 10 martial artists in the world. He was also a martial arts instructor, director, and actor. Many top martial artists in the world consider him as an inspiration. Bruce Lee was also the founder of Jeet Kune Do, which is a hybrid martial arts philosophy. Jeet Kune Do has paved the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Bruce Lee was first introduced to martial arts through his father. The birth name of Bruce Lee was Lee Jun-fan which means “return again.”
Aside from his contribution to martial art, Bruce Lee is also highly recognized for changing the way Asians were presented in American cinemas. He was the one who popularized the concept of mixed martial arts through his Jeet Kune Do philosophy. Bruce Lee has gained many awards and recognition for his contribution in the field of martial arts. Here are some of the most popular movies of Bruce Lee that have inspired many youngsters to practice martial arts:
- Enter the Dragon (1973)
- Fist of Fury (1972)
- The Way of The Dragon (1972)
- The Orphan (1960)
- The Big Boss (1971)
Jackie Chan one of the top Martial Artists
Jackie Chan holds the second position in the list of top martial artists in the world. He was born in Hong Kong and is currently known worldwide for his dangerous moves and fighting choreography. Jackie Chan is an actor, martial artist, director, and stuntman who is also very popular for his unique stunts and comic timing. He is also a philanthropist and was on the list of top ten most charitable celebrities by Forbes magazine. Numerous movies from all over the world have taken inspiration from the stunts of Jackie Chan.
Aside from being a martial artist, Jackie Chan is also an entrepreneur and businessman. He owns or co-owns production companies like JC Group China and Jackie & JJ Productions. He also won Academy Awards (2016) for his extraordinary achievements in films. Here are some of the popular movies of Jackie Chan for which he is known worldwide:
|The Legend of Drunken Master||1994|
|Kung Fu Panda||2008|
|Drunken Master 2||1994|
Vidyut Jamwal is one of the best martial artists in Indian and the rest of the world.
The Indian film actor and stunt performer Vidyut Jamwal holds the third position in the list of top martial artists in the world. Vidyut Jamwal is a practitioner of Kalaripayattu and is popularly known in India for his dangerous stunts and moves in the Commando film series. He started studying the art of Kalaripayattu from the age of three and now is one of the top 10 martial artists in the world.
Vidyut Jamwal was born in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir and trained in Kalaripayattu in an ashram run by his mother in Palakkad, Kerala. He has been a part of many South Indian and Bollywood movies. In 2019, Vidyut Jamwal won the Jackie Chan Action Movie Awards in the Best Action Sequence Choreographer category for his movie “Junglee.” Here are some of the popular movies of Vidyut Jamwal that show his dangerous stunts and moves:
- Sanak (2021)
- Khuda Hafiz (2020)
- Commando (2013)
- Junglee (2019)
- Commando 3 (2019)
Jet Li is a famous Chinese actor, martial artist, and retired Wushu champion. He was part of many epic martial arts films such as Hero, Fist of Legend, and the Warlords. Jet Li was born in Beijing, China, and started preparing for Wushu in his childhood. Currently, he holds a fourth position in the list of top martial artists in the world.
Jet Li has worked in many American, Chinese, and Hong Kong films. He is also a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. Jet Li was awarded the Golden Horse Film Festival for the special award category in 1995. He has also won different awards for his contribution to the films. Here are some of the popular movies of Jet Li:
- Fearless (2006)
- Hero (2002)
- Fist of Legend (1994)
- Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
- The Warlords (2007)
Steven Seagal holds the fifth position in the list of top 10 martial artists in the world. He is a well-known American martial artist, screenwriter, actor, and producer. Steven Seagal started his acting career with his debut film Above the Law (1988). He is also a guitarist and has released two studio albums.
Steven Seagal has also worked as a stunt instructor in many films. Here are some of the most popular movies of Steven Seagal:
- Out for Justice (1991)
- Under Siege (1992)
- Above the Law (1988)
- Executive Decision (1996)
- Marked for Death (1990)
Wesley Snipes is considered one of the top martial artists in the world. He is an American martial artist, actor, and producer. Wesley Snipes was featured in many epic movies that are popular worldwide. Wesley Spins has been training in martial arts since the age of 12. He was born in Florida and brought up in New York.
Wesley Snipes also owns a production company to develop different projects for films and television. He has won many awards and recognitions in different categories, such as the best villain, best actor, and best supporting performance. Here are some of the most popular movies of Wesley Snipes:
- White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
- Major League (1989)
- U.S Marshals (1998)
- Demolition Man (1993)
- The Expendables 3 (2014)
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme holds the seventh position in the list of top martial artists in the world. He is a Belgian martial artist, actor, and fight choreographer. Jean-Claude Van Damme was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, and started training in martial arts at the age of ten. He was featured in many action movies and also played supporting roles in popular films such as The Expendables 2 (2012).
In 2014, Jean-Claude Van Damme won the Golden Lotus Award for the “outstanding achievement of action movies show” category. Here are some of the well-known movies of Jean-Claude Van Damme:
- Bloodsport (1988)
- Kickboxer (1989)
- A.W.O.L: Absent Without Leave (1990)
- Hard Target (1993)
- Universal Soldier (1992)
The Hong Kong actor, martial artist, and action director Donnie Yen holds the eighth position among the top 10 martial artists in the world. Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China, and is currently one of Hong Kong’s top action stars. He has choreographed MMA in many of his films, and this is why he is also credited for bringing MMA into mainstream Asian movies.
Donnie Yen has won many awards and recognitions for different categories. Some of his awards include the Golden Horse Awards for the best action choreography (2003) and the 15th Huading Awards in the best actor category (2015). Here are some of the popular movies of Donnie Yen:
- Rogue One (2016)
- Mulan (2020)
- XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
- Raging Fire (2021)
- Ip Man (2008)
Tony Jaa is a well-known martial artist, actor, and action choreographer from Thailand. He was born in Surin, Thailand. Tony Jaa holds the ninth position in the list of top martial artists in the world. He has worked in many movies that are popular for their action sequences. Tony Jaa started training in Muay Thai at the age of ten.
Tony Jaa has won the Star Entertainment Award in the category “actor in the leading role of the year” for his film Ong-Bak. In 2009, his film Ong-Bak won many awards. The Ong-Bak series is one of the most popular works of Tony Jaa. Here are some of the popular movies of Tony Jaa:
- Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)
- The Protector (2005)
- Skin Trade (2014)
- Ong Bak 2 (2008)
- Warrior King 2 (2013)
Johnny Trí Nguyễn
Johnny Trí Nguyễn holds the tenth position in the list of top martial artists in the world. He is a Vietnamese-American martial artist, film actor, and stuntman. Johnny Trí Nguyễn was born in Vietnam, and later his family migrated to America. Johnny Trí Nguyễn has worked as a stuntman in many popular movies such as Spider-Man 2 and Jarhead.
He started his acting career in Hollywood with his debut film Cradle 2 The Grave. Johnny Trí Nguyễn was the part of the following popular movies:
- The Rebel (2007)
- Kiss of the Death (2008)
- Power Kids (2009)
- Clash (2009)
- Fanatic (2016)
Best Martial Arts in The World
Different countries in the world have their own unique style of combat or defense. In a similar vein, there are certain forms of martial arts that are popular worldwide. Many people train in these martial arts for different purposes such as self-defense, military operations, entertainment, and competitions. Here we are naming the best martial arts in the world that can help you learn fighting techniques and boost your self-confidence. After learning about the top martial artists in the world, let us find out more about the best martial arts in the world.
- This form of martial art was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom of Japan.
- The practitioner of Karate is known as Karateka.
- Karate is focused on hand/elbow strikes, punches, knee strikes, and kicks.
- There are many sub-styles of Karate, such as Wado-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Shotokan, and Kyokushin.
- Muay Thai is a martial art that originated in Thailand and is also referred to as “Thai Boxing.”
- This form of martial art is similar to kickboxing.
- Muay Thai also involves knee and elbow strikes.
- A Muay Thai practitioner is called nak muay.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu one of the top Martial Artists
- This is one of the best martial arts in the world and originated in Brazil.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is focused on ground fighting.
- There are many MMA fighters who train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to master grappling and submission techniques.
- Kung-Fu is a popular Chinese martial art.
- In China, Kung-Fu is used to refer to any study or practice that requires patience, time, and energy.
- Kung-Fu is focused on kicks, hand/arm strikes, and weapon training.
- Some of the popular sub-styles of Kung-Fu are Tiger Claw Kung-Fu and Shaolin Kung-Fu.
- Taekwondo is a Korean form of martial arts and is one of the best martial arts in the world.
- It is focused on blocks, punches, kicks, and strikes.
- Taekwondo is also an Olympic sport.
- This military self-defense and the fighting system was developed in Israel.
- Krav Maga is focused on winning in real-life situations.
- This martial art is focused on self-defense training.
- Aikido is a modern Japanese martial arts form.
- Some of the popular sub-styles of Aikido are Iwama Ryu, Shodokan Aikido, and Ki Aikido.
- This martial art form is focused on redirecting the attack away.
- Aikido is focused on traditional Japanese weapons, joint locks, and throwing.
Best Martial Arts For Women
Today, more and more women are training in martial arts for different purposes, such as learning self-defense and keeping themselves healthy. Moreover, martial arts is also considered one of the greatest forms of women’s empowerment. Here we are mentioning some of the best martial arts for women. All in all, these martial arts forms can help women in many ways, such as learning self-defense, improving cardiovascular health, and strengthening bones. Women can train in the following martial arts forms:
- Muay Thai
- Krav Maga
5 Best Martial Arts Movies
If you are interested in watching some of the best martial arts stunts and techniques in the history of cinema, then here are some of the best martial arts movies that you can watch:
- Ong-Bak: Featuring Tony Jaa
- Police Story: Featuring Jackie Chan
- Enter the Dragon: Featuring Bruce Lee
- Hero: Featuring Jet Li
- Ip Man: Featuring Donnie Yen
Best Institute in India For Martial Arts Training
Martial arts is now extensively popular in India. What’s more, there are many practitioners of martial arts in India, and this is why there have been establishments of different institutes that provide training in various martial arts forms. Here we are mentioning some of the best institutes in India for martial arts training:
- National Martial Arts Academy India
- MMA Delhi
- Dynamic Kickboxing, Noida
- The School of Martial Arts, Bangalore
- Alpha Omega Combat, Kolkata
History of Martial Arts
The cave paintings from Eastern Spain, which date back to 10,000 to 6,000 BCE, are the oldest work of art that shows the scenes of battle. There have been several excavations that show similar evidence of warfare. Wrestling is considered the oldest combat sport, and there were many excavations that show evidence of wrestling.
Certain traditional styles of martial arts existed throughout the world. With cultural advancements and development, these traditional styles converted to modern forms of martial arts. However, there are still many practitioners who train in traditional martial arts styles. Due to the western influence in Asian countries such as China, India, and Japan, martial arts styles from different regions reached different parts of the world.
Martial Arts Facts: Conclusion
Most of the martial arts that you practice today were developed in Japan, Korea, and China. Martial arts can be categorized in different ways, such as; traditional and contemporary styles, armed and unarmed styles, and based on the application of intent. So, now that you know the major facts about martial arts, including the best martial arts in the world, top martial artists in the world, and the history of martial arts, it can be helpful for you if you are planning to get trained in martial arts.
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