Martial Arts Actors

Bruce Lee

Widely regarded as the mixed martial arts (MMA) grandfather of the modern era, no single fan, coach, fighter, or even promoter of the sport can dare deny Lee’s influence. Virtually every lover of MMA will praise this movie icon in one way or another, for his contribution to the art. It would even be a sin to mention martial arts without mentioning Lee.

Before his tragic demise, Lee featured in 4 films, all of which were big hits. His appearance in The Green Hornet TV series was his first action taste. And then came the 1972 Fist of Fury and the 1973 Enter the Dragon, which is his legacy jewel- clearly the greatest masterpiece he ever acted. This film still influences many movies and even video games up to date. One thing that perhaps surpassed Lee’s physical perfection was his wealth of wisdom. As a matter of fact, many actors and filmmakers today still try to figure out what made this film icon so brilliant on the screen.

Lee was famous for his defensive and offensive art. He was never malicious or violent. You may not believe this, but if you look at Lee’s one-inch punch, his most famous technique, your entire perception about this man will change. Contrary to what many people believe, the punch was not meant to inflict pain or cause fear to other people; rather, it was meant for self defence. Yes, no other actor has ever used this technique in MMA, but Lee’s quest for kindness and mercy towards another human being was a recurring theme in his work. Many actors and even real-life fighters today have applied this restraint when dealing with opponents. Who can forget what Floyd Mayweather said after knocking out Conor McGregor? Floyd did not want to cause brain damage to his opponent because he believed that he (Conor) still had a fighting career to pursue.

Lee also believed in the training of the body. We have seen people and actors in peak physical conditions out there (think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Georges St-Pierre, etc)- their body was their job. However, to this day (as of 2018), no human being can compare to Lee when it comes to having a perfect, compact body. Lee pushed his body to great physical heights- he broke the barriers that no one may ever accomplish. Today, there are many actors who strive to have a physique like Lee’s. It is worth noting that these same actors may not have the endurance and flexibility that Lee had.

Although Lee never fired a gun or executed any high-octane stunt, he is credited for taking martial arts cinema to another level. The story elements and fighting styles found in his films have been replicated in numerous action films.