Silver Screen Darlings: Martial Artists That Enjoyed Success in Hollywood

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We have mentioned before about the fact that martial arts and their practitioners are heavily featured in our popular culture.  Today, we wanted to take a look at those who have enjoyed significant success in Hollywood.

Jackie Chan

This martial artist is notorious for doing his own dangerous stunts. It’s gotten so bad that it is rumored that no sane insurance company will want to offer him a policy. He practices Chinese martial arts, Hapkido, and even Taekwondo. In some of his films, he showcases Judo and even Jeet Kune Do.

jackie - Silver Screen Darlings: Martial Artists That Enjoyed Success in Hollywood

He’s had massive successes in his Asia but it was his crossover to Hollywood that made him a legitimate international sensation. His movies include Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and even a remake of The Karate Kid

Jet Li

Anyone who enjoyed movies will have either seen or heard of The One. A wholly unique take on how amazing Jet Li is as an actor and a fighter as he played both main characters. Jet Li practices Chinese Martial Arts, Baguazhang, and Wushu.

These were evident in his films Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, Unleashed, Cradle 2 the Grave, and in The Expendibles franchise. One of the reasons why Jet Li was so endearing was the fact that he was not taking the ‘unassuming’ character route that Jackie Chan did with his persona.

Bruce Lee

Of course, if we were making an article about well-known Hollywood martial artists, Bruce Lee would have to be in it. Arguably one of the more famous people to have graced the world, Bruce Lee opened up the gateway for other martial artists to be commercial successes in their own right.

bruce - Silver Screen Darlings: Martial Artists That Enjoyed Success in Hollywood

While Bruce Lee started as an extra and an eventual minor character, he captivated the world with his charisma and his utilization of Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, and Chinese martial arts. His films include Fist of Fear: Touch of Death, Enter the Dragon, and The Game of Death. It is highly unfortunate that he passed on while still in the prime of his life.


We can actually say that it is thanks to these individuals that the spark of interest keeps getting ignited for the newer generations. These particular martial artists are special because their actions are forever secured in the films that they have created. If there was ever a person who wanted to explore the world of someone who could practice martial arts, they will have a lot of options to pursue.

What other martial artist would say enjoyed Hollywood success?

Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

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Martial Arts have long had a hand in building childhoods in more ways than one. For anyone who is a fan of video games, they will be the first to tell you about the fact that there are so many video games out there that heavily feature martial arts. It only makes sense, doesn’t it; given the fact that martial arts can be used for fighting if required by the practitioner.

With that in mind, we posed the question for those in our writing team that played video games. Which video games did they believe heavily featured martial arts? After all, they can’t all be ranked the same since some will be able to give martial arts justice more than others. That said, we would like to share our Top 5 games:

#5: Dead or Alive

While there has been massive controversy about this particular game series because of the gratuitous exposure of the female fighters in various states of undress or poses, one should not discount this. Dead or Alive is one of the pioneer versus games that was on the very first Playstation.

dead - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

This game series focused heavily on hand to hand combat. While there were some the veered into the realm of impossibility, there were others that still had martial arts at its core.

#4: Dynasty Warriors

While this game is of the hack and slash genre, it still heavily features martial arts. Martial arts does transcend past hand to hand combat. There are martial arts that are weapon based. There would be kenjutsu which is heavily focused on sparring. There would also be Aikido which has been known to use the staff.

This particular game follows the selected warrior as they utilize their weapon against massive armies.

#3: The King of Fighters

kof - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

Another one of the older genres of fighting games! King of Fighters introduced some pretty popular video game characters like Mai Shiranui. We placed this game into the list because we believe that this game helped to cast a wide net for the concept of martial arts. While the fighting styles in the game might be fictitious, they had real world styles at their core.

#2: Tekken

This continues to be one of the more popular games that have reached worldwide fame. Tekken while a hand to hand fighting game, boasts the fact that the move set of their characters are primarily based on real world fighting styles.

Karate, Kenpo, Aikido, Capoeira, and so many more are all carried by their characters.

#1: Street Fighter

streetfighter - Top 5 Video Games That Heavily Feature Martial Arts

Of course, our number one pick is the one that started it all. The Street Fighter series introduced the world to the idea of fighting games. The main characters of Ken and Ryu both use a style that is very reminiscent of karate. The character of Sagat was centered on Muay Thai which also represented the country he was from.


Mind you, the picks we have are chosen because of our own set of preferences. So you are more than welcome to build your own top 5 list of martial arts video games. In any case, one of the reasons why martial arts remains alive and well in the consciousness of newer generations is the fact that video games like the ones we listed above exist.

What video games would you add to this list if you could?