When you ask someone why they chose to practice martial arts, undoubtedly many will give credit to movie action stars for the inspiration.
Here is our list of our favourite Martial Artists form the silver screen:
Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee was a well-respected Hong Kong-American actor, film director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He lived from 1940 until his tragic death in July of 1973. Many martial arts films gained popularity because of Bruce Lee, the phenomenon. See him in Enter the Dragon (1973), The Way of the Dragon (1972), and the TV series, The Green Hornet (1966).
Chuck Norris: As one of the internet’s favourite subject for memes, Chuck Norris paved the way for North American action stars. As a member of the American Air Force, he studied martial arts after spending time in Korea. Upon his return home, he began studying, teaching and competing in karate. Chuck Norris was encouraged to start acting by his student and friend, actor Steve McQueen. He typically plays good guys and despite having punishing martial arts skills, would always rather find a better solution than fighting. His most famous works include Walker, Texas Ranger (1993), Missing in Action (1984), The Expendable 2 (2012).
Jet Li: Jet Li is a Chinese actor, traditionally trained at the Beijing Wushu Academy (wushu is China’s national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles). Jet Li was one of the biggest stars of the Kung Fu film industry. He is best known for his roles in Hero (2002), Unleashed (2005), Fearless, (2006), Kiss the Dragon (2006). Quoted as saying: “You can beat me up, but don’t touch my hair, I will kill you!” Remind you of anyone?
Cynthia Rothrock: She is the inspiration for the Mortal Combat character, Sonya Blade. Cynthia Rothrock in countless martial arts films in Hong Kong and America, including Undefeatable (1993), Huang jia shi jie (1985) and Above the Law (1986). She has black belts in 5 different systems: Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do (both Korean), as well as Wushu, Eagle Claw Kung Fu, and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu (all three Chinese).
Jean-Claude Van Damme: An actor that has seen great success and some even greater disappointments in Jean-Claude Van Damme. He was born in Belgium and was very active in the martial arts and kickboxing community. He later trained with Chuck Norris who thanks to Chuck Norris he referred him for a job as a bouncer at a club. Norris gave then offered Van Damme a small role in the movie Missing in Action (1984). He can also be seen Cyborg (1989), Lionheart (1990), Double Impact (1991) and Universal Soldier (1992, and his big breakthrough $100 million worldwide hit Timecop (1994).
Keep training and maybe one day you can be featured in an action film. Now go and practice!