Top 10 Best Martial Artists of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Bruce Lee Bruce Lee (November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a Hong Kong and American martial artist, martial arts instructor, actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and philosopher. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Lee is considered by critics, media,... read more

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 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.

2 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

3 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 world. He has trained in Wushu or Kung Fu and Hapkido, and has been acting since the 1960s, appearing... read more

Personally, I'd say Jackie Chan is my favorite Martial Artist of all time because of his charismatic personality that he portrays in films and in real life. Unlike a lot of Martial Artists, Jackie Chan has a comedic side to his character in movies and films, and he knows how and when to make people laugh. This guy is an inspiration to millions of people, and he'll be officially known as the greatest Kung-Fu artist in history. Other than that, his skill and speed is phenomenal.

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!

4 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".

5 Wong Fei-hung

Courageous and respected fighter and also a part of Chinese and Shaulin History, More storied should be told about him I am currently just scratching the surface about his life and training, One of the last Monks to leave Shaulin at the turn of the century. Many great techniques died with him

6 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.

7 Chuck Norris Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American actor and martial artist. He is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo. After serving in the United States Air Force, Norris won many martial arts championships and later founded his own discipline Chun Kuk Do. Shortly after, in Hollywood, Norris trained celebrities in martial arts. Norris went on to appear in a minor... read more

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.

8 Huo Yuanjia

Yip man was not ths only grandmaster because Huo Yuanjia was one way before him. Huo was considered a hero in china for defeating foreign opponents...a true hero.

Who ever posted this knows their fighters.. He is no doubt the greatest of all his fight record speaks for itself

9 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.

Should be 3rd on the list. Chuck Norris is good but not that great, the real Yip Man didn't do half the things the movie portrayed, and Jackie Chan was never even that great of a martial artist. He was mostly a stunt man.

10 Gichin Funakoshi
The Contenders
11 Jigoro Kano

Mr. Kano codified and modernized Japanese JiuJitsu, creating Judo. He helped promote Karate. Without Jiguro Kano Brazillian JiuJitsu would never have existed.

12 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.

13 Chojun Miyagi

A great man and the founder of goju-ryu karate. The example for Mr. Miyagi in The karate kid movies.

14 Helio Gracie
15 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

16 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.

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.

17 Bill "Superfoot" Wallace

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

18 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 a UFC record 16 consecutive victories in that span. UFC president Dana White, UFC commentator... read 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.

Actually look up bruce lee he is trained in many real martial arts. and look up chuck norris he is a tenth degree tang so do black belt and is a retired undefeated middleweight fighter

Anderson Silva is the greatest by far! Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and those other fakes don't come close

19 Masahiko Kimura
20 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 middleweight divisions.

"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 fighters, GSP tirelessly worked on every aspect of his game, trying to become the ultimate fighter. In his entire career, GSP had two losses - both of which he avenged, trying to become better than who he was before. And on top of all of that, he always showed respect for his opponents. That is just his qualities as a martial artist - but as a fighter, he was unequaled. Before his title reign, title shots were often handed out to almost anyone. The "greatest welterweight of all time" before GSP, Matt Hughes, was given a title shot in only his 3rd fight in the UFC! Something that would almost never happen in today's MMA. BJ Penn was also given a title shot immediately after he moved to welterweight. These two were considered some of the greatest fighters ever, and GSP overcame both of them. After Georges became champion, he was given Matt Serra - Georges underestimated him and lost. But when he came back, he never underestimated anyone again. After he demolished John Fitch, who was... more

21 Vidyut Jamwal

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

His deserve in top list he is the best martial artists right now in the world..

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

22 Michael Jai White

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

23 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.

24 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.

25 Morihei Ueshiba

O Sensei.. Creator of Aikido. He is by far the best martial artist ever lived.

This man was like people as bruce lee,... Superhumans!
Ome of the few who could actually achieve something unic in martial arts. He should be ranked in top 3 at least!

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