Best Martial Artists of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Bruce Lee Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong American martial artist, action film actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, filmmaker, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do.

Anyone who disputes Bruce Lee as the best martial artists is a fool. He trained harder, longer and smarter than anyone. I always seem to run into people trying to tell me that Bruce wasn't a real fighter and he would get his ass handed to him in a real fight. If those people, who's willingness to give an opinion increases along with their ignorance on a subject, were to read a book or two or watch interviews with people who have fought Bruce and watched him fight, they would surely realize how stupid it is to claim that.

Bruce Lee was the best because of several reasons.
- He grew up fighting on the streets. Street fighting is very different than tournament fighting and is not controlled or sports-like. The mental strength required to willingly involve in a street fight makes one far more dangerous than a fighter inside a tournament ring.

- His physical fitness. He could probably outfight anyone, in terms of sheer endurance and stamina.

- Power and Speed. His ability to generate power in his punches and kicks and his have yet to be equaled to this day, over 40 years after his death!

- He was way ahead of his time. His training routine, his fitness, his emphasis on using simple and effective techniques alone, his incorporation of elements from other styles, his attitude to fighting and self defense in general, made him an all round fighting machine. Unlike fighters of today who have one predominant technique, he trained every part of his body to be useful. Maybe he wouldn't ...more

Bruce Lee is #1 hands down. Anyone who would disagree obviously is not aware of his abilities. It is a fact that Bruce Lee's speed was like no other. There were times when Bruce Lee was challenged in a street fight and Bruce Lee was victorious without his opponent even landing a single hit on him. No one can do Bruce Lee's one-inch punch like he could. Not to mention, Bruce Lee did not use normal punching sandbags. The normal weight of a punching sandbag is about 75 lbs. Some heavier sandbags weigh about 150 lbs. Bruce Lee used a specially made 300 lbs sandbag. Additionally, it was filled with metal instead of sand. There is no one and perhaps never will be anyone ever as good as Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee is awesome, but it's a shame that he was an Atheist. Whoever is reading this comment, please read all of what I have to say before you disagree with it. People ask yourselves this, If you died tonight do you know what would happen? Would you go to heaven or hell? Now I know a lot of people say that God sends us to hell, but that's not true, we send ourselves there when we refuse the gift that God gave us. We all have sinned and need forgiveness. Romans 6:26 says: we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Now some people say they have never sinned, but I know that's not true. Have you ever done something wrong, anything wrong you have ever done counts as a sin. Because we are not perfect, only God is. Now you know your a sinner, what next? Well, let me tell you. God sent his only son to die for you, your friends, your family, and even your enemies. Imagine this true story in your head as you read. A perfect man named Jesus has been condemned to death for nothing. ...more

2 Jackie Chan Chan Kong-sang known professionally as Jackie Chan, is a Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director, producer, stuntman, and singer. He is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts, which he typically performs himself, in the cinematic more.

In fact when we really want to talk about martial, its all about passion and endurance. When a person is said to be
A master we look at some features before the rank. I describe such as naive because it is very surprising that people compare let Li to Jackie chan. After Bruce Lee I see no reason why they should say jet li. Jackie chan is the best after bruce

Jackie Chan AKA "The Drunken Master" was a great fighter! From taking Zui Kuan, he learned the fact that he will become a great fighter like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, or maybe better. But in Jackie's hands, he's now a main actor for doing stunts, fights, and now he has faced great fighters like Jet Li or Benny The Jet. Jackie deserves to be at least second or first in this list. "The Drunken Master" is the king of Drunken Fist of Zui Kuan!

Jackie Chan fight is more realistic than many martial artists. Another is that his tricks are always shown to the entire populace. Some other artists can run on top of water but till date nothing has been revealed about that. He deserve second position. His amazing films just to mention a couple of them "I am who I am" and "Druken Master 1 & 2".

Jackie is the best martial arts actor after Bruce lee. He does all his stunts, not much fake in his movie, he has had so much injuries because of it, he has a unique way of presenting his skills in movies with a bit of comedy added,"One man can never beat 10-12 people in one time like in Hollywood movies its just fake".

3 Jet Li Li Lianjie, better known by his English stage name Jet Li, is a Chinese film actor, film producer, martial artist, and wushu champion who was born in Beijing.

For me, Jet Li should be on top of the list, and this is my reasons as to why. He transformed the image of Hong Kong movies into real interesting movies to watch. He took on the role of acting, real acting mixed with martial arts, that's something that movie directors in China never understood. They initially thought martial arts movies were just about fights, running and kicking. When Jet Li stars, he mixes all that, but most importantly, and I think he learned this from American Movies, he knew he had to be a good actor, with good writer to connect with the viewers and get the viewers to like you. His best movies were "Once upon a time in china I" and "Fist of the Legend". I can watch those two movies forever and never stop liking them.

This is a list about martial artists. This alone is my reason to put Jet Li on the top. He is the best martial artist and master out there. He is an example to follow and his performance shows dedication and honest devotion.
--- The best fighter list would be some one else... like an awesome MMA fighter or a great Krav Maga master. -- Actors are Actors... they make a living acting... Fighters (like me) bet their health and life on the line... ! Well all listed here are cool and cool list!
"Ninja smoke poof".

Li Lianjie, better known by his English stage name Jet Li, is a Chinese film actor, film producer, martial artist, and wushu champion who was born in Beijing. He is a naturalized Singaporean citizen. Jet Li, is an amazing martial artist and should be recognized a lot more than 3rd place. After three years of intensive training with Wu Bin, Li won his first national championship for the Beijing Wushu Team. After retiring from Wushu at age 19, he went on to win great acclaim in China as an actor making his debut with the film Shaolin Temple (1982). He went on to star in many critically acclaimed martial arts epic films, most notably the Once Upon A Time In China series, in which he portrayed folk hero Wong Fei-hung. As a member of the team, he received wushu training and went on to win fifteen gold medals and one silver medal in Chinese wushu championships, where, despite his young age, he competed against adults. The guy is a legend!

Jet Li is the best martial artist ever. I watched Bruce Lee's movies and I truly liked him, I just think Jet Li moved the whole industry to a new level, people should realize that and start respecting this guy while he's still around. For me he's a genius, just like Albert Einstein.

4 Yip Man

The Yip Man is the very existence of Bruce Lee and it is stupid to not categorise him higher than Bruce Lee, Look at yourself being trained would you ever really be better than your master? The man who taught you? No matter the hours your master is your master and he will win hands down, blindfolded and so on and before you vote watch yip man, he was thought to be a stupid fool for training what was originally a FEMALE martial art which has now become one of the most popular martial arts today

You all are crazy to think that the top three are bruce lee, jet li, and jackie chan are top 3. bruce lee should be number two at best. Any true fan of martial arts would recognize Grandmaster Ip Man to be the best. He was the master of Bruce Lee and the originator of wing chung which is the founding technique used by Bruce Lee himself. A young Ip Man vs Bruce Lee in his prime would clearly lead to an Ip Man victory outcome and besides, a lot of bruce lee's skills derived from theatrics. You can't claim fights on movies to be accurate enough to claim one to be the best

Bruce lee is a very renowned martial artist. He created JKD, and studied under Ip Man. However, Bruce Lee's impatience and aggressiveness led him to leave wing chun and create a style that is more suited to his aggressive tactics. Ip man, however, was dedicated to preservation of his art, and his technique. Ip man understood that martial arts aren't about just fighting, but also about internal value, and self respect. No disrespect to Bruce Lee at all, he had those qualities, but I think he had more of a mindset towards fighting only.

The Master who taught Bruce Lee, must then himself be the best. He would not have sought acclaim for his skills. Though I am sure in China he was very well known. While it is possible that Bruce could have surpassed his teacher, one must also realize that not everything can be learned from ones teacher. Plus Yip Man out lived his student who pushed himself in death.

5 Chuck Norris Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris is an American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter. He was born in March 10, 1940, in Ryan, OK. He is famous for mostly starring in western and action movies.

I will be honest, I'm torn between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, they are both my favorite martial artists, sadly, Bruce Lee died when I was only three years old so he was just a little before my time in a way. I grew up on Chuck Norris movies, and I absolutely love him in Walker, Texas Ranger. Chuck is an awesome person in real life and he has given back as much as he ever got from his career. Chuck Norris is a prime example of what a person can do with there life if they only have the courage and determination to follow their dreams. Bruce Lee thought enough of Chuck Norris to ask him to star in one of his movies with him and like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris worked and trained hard to to become one of the best martial artists of his time. Even at 74 years old now, I still wouldn't mess with Chuck Norris laugh out loud.

Simply put, it would have been am incredibly close match. Bruce Lee had speed, Chuck was more known for his strength. Bruce was a street fighter and Chuck was a competition fighter. Both of their achievements are practically unobtainable. I would have loved to have seen them fight though it sadly never happened. Return of the Dragon was a movie. Bruce Lee told Chuck Norris when he offered him the role that he was the star of the movie and that he would win. It wasn't real, people.

Movies suck and this is why; everyone thinks chuck Norris was one of the worlds best martial artists.RUBBISH, let me repeat-that is a load of RUBBISH look at his championship'fight its awful: slow, weak, technically not very proficient at all. Compared to many, many fighterstoday,they'd murder him (pretty much) if he was in his prime. His movie acting skills at fighting aren't even that good far better actors in movies today. Additionally let's take wkf karate for instance; which is very similar to what style he competed in the world championships then take some athletes who are competitive where I train and have competed when I see 2 people spar it's much faster, stronger, more technical by Far than chuck's championship fight-or any of his other competitions/fights/seminars whatever.

I absolutely agree that Chuck Norris was the greatest competitive martial artist of all time. His professional fighting career of 183-10-2, and verified 30 tournament wins against the best in the world will not be bested, ever. He and Bruce Lee trained under the same instructor, who, in his own words stated "if Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris ever fought in a sanctioned world championship, Bruce would have a major disadvantage with the powerful punches of Mr. Norris, and Mr. Lee did not have the knock out power."

6 Donnie Yen

Donnie yen should be higher than chuck Norris and jackie chan based on martial art skill, but Jackie chan will still be better in general as he has better success in the film industry and has mastered many arts. Chuck Norris Is good but not as good as both Donnie and Jackie and is only known by his participation in the movie return of the dragon which still needed Bruce lee's help to get into... so to conclude Donnie yen should be higher than both chuck and Jackie.

On the chuck norris subject super foot bill wallace held the karate champion kick boxing title. Also jim kelly R.I. P was an awesome African American karate champion in real life and as norris an out standing martial artist actor. Also bruce was the best martial artist in my opinion he for ever changed the martial arts for better mix martial arts god father.

Most entertaining and talented I've seen out of martial arts movies. I respect bruce lee, ip man, and jackie chan, etc.. All are awesome! But for present day, donnie yen really pulls it off. All is amazing to me! Amazing job to all!

Clearly you have not seen all of Donnie Yen because he did not make it to mainstream hollywood, JetLi is a joke, though Jackie is good he more subtle and much slower than Donnie also, he clearly deserves second place to Bruce.

7 Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa is by far one of the best. I admire him alike as Jean Claude Van Damme
If he wanted to be the number 1 he could, but I think he has other purposes in his life too, all about bruce lee's life was around martial arts he started at young age and was dedicated that's why he deserved the first spot.

Tony Jaa is a man will rise of our generation... those martial artist (which is Jackie Chan, Jet li, Chunk Norris) all those martial artist are getting old, and Tony Jaa is going to be the number one martial art super star of this generation!

Tony jaa is better than chuck Norris and jackie chan. He can produce amazing stunts and martial arts, I think he should be in second place.

We have all seen his great stunts, form and technique when it comes to fighting I say at least in the top 5, all he has to do is prove himself.

8 Keith Black

Honestly I think keith black is the greatest martial artist in the world. He can kick anyones but who ever steps up to him... Ain't that right tyler?

You are the best

9 Helio Gracie

He just made it so I have to train to beat annoying BJJ guys who can't fight standing up. JKD and Ninjutsu for the win again..

10 Bill "Superfoot" Wallace

A true sportsman and a great teacher. I've seen Bill "hold back" not to make his opponent look bad.

The Contenders
11 Anderson Silva Anderson da Silva (born April 14, 1975) is a Brazilian professional mixed martial artist currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is a former UFC Middleweight Champion and had the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days. This started in 2006 and ended in 2013 and included more.

Everyone else voted for a movie star. I voted on someone who actually proves his skills for a living laugh out loud! Bruce Lee is cool but he is a movie star not a martial arts fighter. And for everyone who keeps saying stuff like "there's a difference between a competition with rules and the street" do you really think that mma fighters aren't trained with techniques to fight dirty? MMA fighters also have unmatched athleticism for any other martial arts style... They do it for a living.

Even though he is one of the all time greatest UFC fighters, there are many other people I would pick over him to make the all time list of martial artists. Not taking anything away from his abilities in the ring, but against a true martial artist he would more than likely get his butt kicked. Just my opinion

While you trying to compare Anderson silva to bruce lee ask yourself who the first mixed martial is, I think it was bruce lee, as a matter of fact I know it was bruce lee ( do your homework) Anderson silva is good I like his style unpredictable right?.. Yonder where he got it from um maybe bruce?... ( BROKENRTHYME)

The guy who said Bruce Lee is just a movie star and not a "martial arts fighter" has to be the most ignorant human to ever mumble the words "martial arts"..

12 Jacky Wu

He is one of the best and unique martial artist. some people call him new jet lee but he was to good than jet lee his move's are so cool but fatal. He must be in top 5.

13 Michael Jai White

To put j c van damme ahead of s seagal is way of base seagal multiple styles and fluent movement and the ease which he applies his craft are a thing to behold definitely belongs in top five.

He is one of the few true martial artist on the screen. He still goes back to the dojo to teach and share his knowledge. Most are too busy with their fame to remember where they came from.

Put any of them in a ring and Michael Kai white has the speed accuracy strength and knowledge In my opinion he would beat them all.

This list isn't suppose to be based on movies and how good they act in a fight. I agree with bruce lee being up top but come white would kill jet li or chuck norris

14 Kanō Jigorō
15 Jean-Claude Van Damme Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme and abbreviated as JCVD, is a Belgian actor, martial artist, screenwriter, film producer, and director best known for his martial arts action films.

Some people have rude and disrespectful comments about JCVD, out of jealousy! Give the man his well deserved credit! He got the looks, the skill and the class that a true martial artist should have

Van Damme WAS ok. He actually fought in karate competitions but he was also a skilled gymnast. This gave him the flexibility and agility that he used in movie performance. During his prime time in movies, Van Damme wasn't even a black belt.

Van Damme was a great martial artist but research guys like Miyamoto (book of five rings) the undefeated samurai. Steven Seagal should of been before Jean Claude Van Damme. The only american at that time to ever teach Aikido in Japan

Van Damme is the greatest. The way he executes his punches and kicks is incomparable; they are realistic. And he's got both style and substance.

16 Royce Gracie

Royce gracie is one of the greatest grapplers this world has seen in ages. There's something to say about a man who fights for pride and glory for 20 years. He asks for no recognition just better yourself. I see a lot of actors in the top spots. I guess being popular makes you better than other true artists.

He is the first person to demonstrate the power of Jujitsu over most other martial arts styles. He defeated opponents from multiple styles who were much bigger and stronger than himself. Pound for pound one of the best fighters of all time.

If he were to get his hands on anyone. He would win.

The gracies have won against pretty much any martial art, like judo, karate, kung fu, tkd, hapkido, and more, I think Royce should be towards the top.

17 Georges St-Pierre Georges St-Pierre (born May 19, 1981) is a Canadian retired professional mixed martial artist. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. He is a two-division champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) having won titles in the welterweight and more.

"Best martial artist" can mean a lot of things, but one of those things has to be most effective. There is no more potent professional martial artist than Georges St-Pierre in history. End of story. On top of this, he is also a prime exemplar of the more philosophical aspects of martial arts. Discipline, humility, and a constant desire to learn and improve. That anyone could vote for a movie star who has never been in an actual fight in their lives over GSP blows my mind, and indicates to me a drastically different understanding of the Martial Arts than my own.

While most people voted for movie stars, I am going to vote for someone who has proven real fighting experience. Bruce Lee may be one of the most influential martial artists of the modern era and was clearly skilled, but he just does not have enough documented fights for me to consider him the absolute greatest.

To me, the greatest unarmed martial artist of all time is Georges St-Pierre (GSP), because he embodies all of the qualities of a true martial artist to their fullest extent while being one of the most skilled fighters to have ever stepped into the octagon. He was always humble about his abilities, and very upfront about the fact that he was afraid. You can see this in any of his interviews - he often states that he is afraid to fight his opponents, knowing how skilled they are. He also embodied the true martial artist in his work ethic, constantly perfecting his technique, relentlessly trying to improve. Studying under Freddie Roach and other top-level trainers and ...more

A worthy fighter of many matches and styles whom excelled at his craft.

A smart fighter careful and cautious that's how he ranked to the top of mms.

18 Vidyut Jamwal

According to me he is a total Beast and can surely compete and win as many UFC titles as possible only if he is a true kalaripayattu practioner.

Vidyut Jamwal learnt the Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu since the age of three. his understanding of its philosophy to not only protect and fight, but also use it to heal. He is best in the world

Best in the world.
He is learning one of the most deadliest martial arts in the world "kalaripayatu" since the age of 4.
Many moves in kung fu are just part of kalaripayatu.

Number 1 in list should be Vidyut Jamwal. Trained artist since age of 4 in Kalirayapattu.

19 Scott Adkins

This list seems to be film orientated. Had white, has and Adkins HAVE to be in top five. For skill, speed and how the arts have developed I put jai white just in front of Adkins for first place. Lee was amazing in his day, THE pioneer but to watch his live action skills against these two week they just don't compare

For me you're the best martial artist in the whole world. Because you're the most complete fighter in the world. I love your all movies specially undisputed 4, awesome your amazing! I love you idol! Scott adkins forever!

I first saw Scott's awesome skills in Ninja 2 Shadow of a tear. I realize it was a movie, but I was blown away by his skills. He is part of the reason I started taking up the martial arts recently. A big fan.

I've been following fighters my entire life and scott adkins is 1 of the
Few martial Artists that in my proffessional opinion has the potential 2
Be one of the greatest fighters of all time. He has the speed, stamina and strenth 2 be world champion.

20 Don "The Dragon" Wilson

Don was the real deal not just an actor like David Carradene pretending to be a martial artist.P.S. I am aware David did get a black belt after the Kung Fu series ended. Real ability is displayed by fighting in tournaments not by paying for lessons leading to belts which are awarded subjectively.

Greatest kick boxer of all time.10 times world champion. The Ali of kick boxing. Friend to and instructed by bill Wallace. Both were undefeated champs.

I met Don, a 11 times world champion last week in Vegas... He is 60 years old and looks 45. He is in fantastic shape and a great person to talk to.

Consistently beats Thai kickboxers at their home turfs at their game throughout his kickboxing career.

21 Gichin Funakoshi
22 Ed Parker

One of the worlds real true grand-masters of the martial-arts!

Trained Bruce Lee in American Kenpo of which he was the only true 10th degree GM... Should be in the top 10 for sure.

23 Goku Son Goku (Kakarrot) is the main protagonist in Dragon Ball franchise created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. He has many abilities like, super strength, utilization of ki, flight, teleportation, super speed, enhanced reflexes, and Super Saiyan transformation that increase strength, speed, and durability. more.

Is Goku a real person?


Then why did they add him in the list?

Goku is not real, he just a character in DBZ.

What?! why is goku on this list if he was real he would kick anybodys butt by the way...

I agree he is just a character I'd buy that for a dollar is getting it is funny though

24 Mas Oyama

I saw Mas Oyamas team including Sonny China fight full contact, no head strikes allowed while I was stationed in Hawaii. It was some brutal and very hard hitting fighting and great respect as well. Sonny Chiba is no fake. He won his bout with great technique and a true warrior spirit. Mas Oyama fought. 50 bulls and broke off their horns with a I knife hand technique and won nearly every one of his 200 plus full contact bouts. He beat many of his opponents with 1 punch and most fights were less than 3 minutes. Read some of his training books, it is some of the most intense, painful and innovative methods that were on par with Bruce Lee, this was done in the early 1950's!. Mas Oyama was one of the best and toughest real fighters ever.

25 John Liu
8Load More
PSearch List