Action movies with stars who can actually practice what they preach are much more interesting than those that fool us by inserting martial arts experts. If an action star has never actually thrown a single punch in his life but portrays a character who’s willing to go against a battalion, the film loses credibility and becomes unbelievable. However, we’ve come up with a list of stars with street “cred” and have the skills to back it up both on and off the screen.
Mark Dacascos is presently pursuing his goal to be an eighth-dan black belt in wun hop kuen do, and he’s learning boxing, capoeira, muay thai, and Black Tiger Northern Shaolin kung fu. Dacascos starred in The Cradle 2 The Grave, and with this kind of martial arts background, he proves that he deserved the role.
Casamassa is an eighth-dan black belt in Red Dragon Karate and a third-dan black belt in shorin ryu. He is famous for his role as Scorpion in Mortal Kombat.
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White has earned a black belt in shotokan karate, tang soo do, kobudo, goju ryu karate, and kyokushin karate, and he also passed the standards set by the World Taek Won Do Federation and International Tae Kwon Do Federation. White also trained in MMA and Brazilian jiujitsu. To complete his incredible credentials, he also earned an eighth-dan black belt in Superfoot.
Sammo Hung is not considered a legend for no reason. This actor from Hong Kong attended the Bak Pei Peking Opera School, and he is well trained in pak mei, karate, wing chun, hapkido, lam kuen, and hung kuen.
Yip Man himself has studied wing chun, wushu, muay thai, MMA, parkour, wrestling, and tai chi. He also earned a black belt in judo and a sixth-dan black belt in tae kwon do, while earning a purple belt in Brazilian jiujitsu.
Training in tai chi, shotokan karate, and several forms of kung fu, Bolo Yeung is one actor who often plays the villain but is actually strong enough to play the lead role in a martial arts film.
If you get matched up with the great Bruce Lee, you have to be great yourself. With a black belt in judo, Okinawan Okinawa-te, Okinawan shorin ryu karate, Brazilian jiujitsu, and being a ninth-dan black belt in chun kuk do and tang soo do, as well as earning an eighth-dan black belt in tae kwon do, Robert Wall deserves every second he was given to face the Little Phoenix.
Chuck Norris‘s greatness isn’t staged. The actor has a ninth-dan black belt in tang soo do and a tenth-dan black belt in chun kuk do, which he founded himself. He is also a black belter in judo, Brazilian jiujitsu, and he has an eighth-dan black belt in tae kwon do, a fifth-dan black belt in karate, and an extensive background in jeet kune, which he got with the help of Bruce Lee himself.
Loren Avedon has an eighth-dan black belt in hapkido and a fifth-dan black belt in tae kwon do. Giving him a chance to star in The King of the Kickboxers was a good choice as he has the right background to play the role well.
Cung Le is not your ordinary guy as he is a former Strikeforce middleweight champion and has even competed in the UFC. He holds a black sash in sanshou, a first-dan black belt in tae kwon do and a purple belt in Brazilian jiujitsu.
Cynthia Rothrock is arguably one of the most lethal woman on earth. Rothrock earned a seventh-dan black belt in tang soo do and a black belt in wushu, karate, tae kwon do, pai lum tao kung fu, and northern shaolin kung fu.
Although he does not have the kind of background that will put him on the same level with the ones on this list, Jet Li, nevertheless, is a very skilled artist. He earned fifteen gold medals and one silver medal when he was still part of the Beijing Wushu Team.
Dan Inosanto is considered a martial arts guru, teaching muay thai, jun fan kung fu, silat, and eskrima. He has also earned a shodan black belt in American kenpo karate and a black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu.
Inosanto is also a world-renowned expert in jeet kune do. The Filipino-American’s acting career may be limited, but he had the chance to fight against his friend Bruce Lee in the film Game of Death.
Benny “The Jet” Urquidez
Known as one of the most famous kickboxers, Benny Urquidez is the founder of the Ukidokan Karate and he also has a black-belter in kickboxing and was once named a world champion. He has a black belt in aikido, white crane kung fu, lima lama, kendo, kajukenbo, tae kwon do, shotokan karate, jiujitsu, and judo.
This Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and The Street Fighter star wasn’t included in these famous films for no reason. Sonny Chiba has earned a fourth-dan black belt in ninjutsu and kyokushin karate, a second-dan black belt in judo, shorinji kempo, goju ryu karate, and a first-dan black belt in kendo.
We’ve now come down to Sai Fon. Bruce Lee might just be the most famous martial artist on this list. He founded the jeet kune do and jun fan kung fu. Even before he became a public figure, Lee has already proven his worth by being a high-school boxing champion in Hong Kong. He has studied judo, kali eskrima, wing chun, fencing, and karate.
By earning a second-dan black belt in judo and fourth-dan black belt in tae kwon do and having black belts in jiujitsu and another one from the Professional Kickboxing Association (PKA), Scott Adkins has established himself as one of the most diverse fighters. He also studies karate, wushu, krave maga, jeet kune do, gymnastics, capoeira, and ninjutsu.
Jackie Chan has a black belt in hapkido. He also has an extensive background training in judo, Brazilian jiujitsu, shaolin kung fu (both Northern and Southern), and wing chun. This, and for many more reasons, is why he’s called the world’s greatest stuntman.
The Bloodmoon actor has a second-dan black belt in tae kwon do. Gary Daniels has received a lot of awards, including being a World Kick Boxing Association and Professional Kickboxing Association light-heavyweight champion kickboxer.
The Protector and Ong Bak lead star, Tony Jaa, has received training in muay thai, aikido, judo, wushu, and muay boran. He also has a black belt in tae kwon do and is known for doing his own brilliant and amazing stunts.