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Top 6 most successful movie martial artists

These six martial artists have made huge impacts in movies which have had an affect on martial artists around the world.
Jackie Chan

6) Jean Claude Van Damme

Jean Claude Van Damme is a Belgian-born martial artist who began training at the age of ten in Shotokan Karate. He earned his shotokan black belt at the age of eighteen, but also used weight lifting and ballet to supplement his martial arts training.

Van Damme was also an active karate competitor as a member of the Belgian Karate Team and helped them win a European Karate Championship in 1979. He was only ever defeated four times in competitive karate. [source : wiki href=""]

Van Damme begin acting in 1984, but it was his 1988 role as the legendary Frank Dux in Bloodsport that propelled him as a martial arts movie star. A year later he would star in Kickboxer and another year later Lionheart. These three are iconic movies in the martial arts genre.

Van Damme continues to act to this day and is even playing a role in a sequel to one of his most famous movies 'KickBoxer'. Kickboxer - Vengeance is set for release in 2016. [source : imdb href=""]

Next: #5

5) Chuck Norris

Although now mostly known for a set of endless jokes about how tough he is in his honor, Chuck Norris is a tremendously successful TV and film martial arts actor. Norris began training martial arts at the age of eighteen in the air force stationed in career. His primary discipline was Tang Soo Do in which he earned a blackbelt. In the early sixties, Norris competed in the International Karate championships.

Norris trained various martial arts including Taekwondo in which he was the first Westerner to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. He also trained an earned a black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. [source : wiki href=""]

Norris began acting in 1972, starring opposite Bruce Lee in the Way of the Dragon. He is most famously known for his role as Col. James Braddock in the Missing In Action movie and Maj. Scott McCoy in The Delta Force. In 1998, Norris transitioned to television staring in Walker, Texas Ranger about a law enforcement engagement who often used his martial arts skills to take down bad guys.

Next: #4

4) Jet Li

Chinese-born Jet Li is a former Wushu champion who transitioned to movie roles in 1982.

Li, born Li Liangjie, began training wushu when he was eight years old and went on to win fifteen gold medals in the Chinse Wushu championships competing against adults. Li has also trained in a number of other traditional chinese martial arts. [source : wiki href=""]

Jet Li began acting in 1982, first in main land China and then in Hong Kong, which was the center of the movie industry in China. He found great success as an actor in China, but it wasn't his debut role in Lethal Weapon 4 that Li become a star in the United States as well. His first lead role was in the film Romeo Must Die in 2000 and it was a box-office hit. Li continues to make films to this day and his status as an action movie icon was solidified by his inclusion in 'The Expandables' series of movies.

Next: #3

3) Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal began training martial arts at the age of thirteen under a shotokan karate expert and later in Aikido. He attained a 7th dan degree and Shihan in Aikido and also holds black belts in karate, judo, and kendo.

Seagal also made news in the MMA world when he was seen training world champions Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida who both credit Seagal for perfecting their front kicks. [source : wiki href=""]

Seagal began acting in 1998 and his most well known for his first group of movies, Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Marked for Death, and Under Siege. Seagal continues to act to this day with six movies currently in post-production.

Next: #2

2) Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee is the man that brought martial arts to Hollywood. The founder of Jeet Kune Do, Lee is one of the most influential martial artists of all-time.

Lee began his training at the age of sixteen in Wing Chun, but moved to the United States two years later. He began teaching martial arts in 1959, a style he called Jun Fan Gung Fu, which was basically his interpretation of Wing Chun.

Lee is also famous for his two-finger push-ups and one-inch punch. Lee developed Jeet Kune Do in 1967 as he wanted to create a system that emphasized practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency. [source : wiki href=""]

Bruce Lee began acting in China in the early forties, but didn't become famous in the United States until he played the role of Kato on the Batman TV series and then the Green Hornet. His last role in TV/Film was his most famous, playing Lee in Enter the Dragon, one of the most iconic martial arts films in history.

Next: #1

1) Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan might be the most famous martial artists in cinema history worldwide. His movies have grossed over $1.5 billion dollars at the box office world wide and is estimated his personal network is $350 million.

Chan began his martial arts career at a young age in Wing Chun and Kung Fu and is known for his acrobatic fighting style. He is a blackbelt in Hapkido and has also trained in karate, judo, taekwondo, and Jeet Kune Do.

Jackie Chan began his acting career in 1962 as a kid and has been credited in a 127 films as an actor, 43 as a producer, and 17 as a director.

Chan is most famous for his movies that had box office success in the United States including the Rush Hour franchise and Kung Fu Panda franchise.

Next: Five most influential martial artists of the past 100 years