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, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West. He is credited with promoting Hong Kong action cinema and helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.

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.

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

I think Bruce Lee is the best because of his speed and power. He could punch 9 times in 1 second, he could punch 9 inches in 1 second, and he created the 1 inch punch and knocked someone completely off their feet 5 to 6 meters away and his punching bag weighed 300 pounds of metal and not sand because if it was sand, it would break through. He could kick in 200 milliseconds, that's under 1 second, and 1 second is 1000 milliseconds, and he could do 8 spinning kicks in 2 second and 6 front kicks in 1 seconds. He could do 1500 pushups by 2 hands and 500 pushups by 1 hand and 200 pushups with 2 fingers and 100 pushups with 1 thumb.

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

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.

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 in over 150 films.

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!

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".

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".

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.

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 role in the spy film The Wrecking Crew (1969). Friend and fellow martial artist Bruce Lee invited him to play one of the main villains in Way of the Dragon (1972). While Norris continued acting, friend and student Steve McQueen suggested him to take it seriously. Norris took the starring role in the 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.

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."

This is a weird list. The question is who's the best martial artists, NOT who's the best MOVIE martial artist. The best martial artist would be a real mma fighter, like Fedor or GSP or anderson Silva. but if we are talking about what movie star is the most lefit martial artist, than the answer is Chuck Norris. Norris was a legitimate kickboxer and was also a black belt in BJJ and trained with the Gracie's. He even helped bring the Gracie's to America and make them famous, which eventually led to the creation of the UFC, which was co-founded by Rorion Gracie and the first 3 tournaments were won by Royce Gracie, and the first Pride tournament was won by Rickson Gracie (widely considered to be the best BJJ fighter ever) - Chuck Norris is a legitimate martial artist

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 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 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.

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

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.

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

He is master in many arts and even a fearless stuntman.

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

Michael jai white should be around fifth or sixth on this list, he has eight black belts in different martial arts.

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.

Scott adkins should at least come second because of his vast knowledge of martial arts plus if he had to go against some of the people on top of the list he'd most probably win for more proof watch "Boyka undisputed" coming out in 2017 and he's previous movies such as Ninja, Ninja shadow of a tear.

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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