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The 10 strongest martial arts athletes of all time

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The greatest martial arts champions ever . Are you looking for the greatest martial arts athletes of all time? The champions who have dominated the world scenes of Karate, Judo, Kung-Fu and all other martial specialties? You have landed on the right page!

After extensive research we have selected the strongest athletes, unforgettable champions who have won the most. In consideration of the many martial arts we have tried to identify athletes in the various disciplines. The list is in strict alphabetical order.


Bruce Lee (Jeet Kune Do)


Lee (San Francisco, November 27, 1940 – Hong Kong, July 20, 1973) was a Chinese actor, martial artist, philosopher, director, screenwriter, and film producer with a US passport. Lee is widely regarded as one of the most influential martial artists of all time, as well as the most remembered actor for introducing Chinese martial arts to the world.

His films, produced in Hong Kong and Hollywood, raised martial arts films and interest in martial arts to a new level of popularity and appeal in the West. The direction and tone of his works profoundly influenced Hong Kong martial arts films which, until then, had shown more of a theatrical than a realistic sense of the scenes. The martial art he synthesized is called Jeet Kune Do.

Chang Tung Sheng (Shuai jiao)


Sheng (1908-1986) was a martial art champion.

Of all the masters from Hebei province in northeastern China over the past 2000 years, one of the prominent is the legendary grandmaster Tung-Sheng Chang , perhaps the greatest fighter in the last 300 years of the respective style and certainly the most tested and proven in this century. He was one of the best known practitioners and teachers of Chinese wrestling (also known as Shuai jiao).

Chuck Norris (Tvaekwondo/Karate)


Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris (Ryan, March 10, 1940) is an American actor, martial artist, film producer and writer. He enlists in the US Air Force which takes him to Korea; here he has his first contacts with martial arts and specializes in the indigenous art of Tangsudo.

Back in California in 1962, he dedicated himself to teaching martial arts, opening several schools and becoming a competitive athlete. He won for 7 consecutive years, from 1968 to 1974, the title of world champion in karate and in 1968 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame reserved for black belts for the achievement in 1996 of the eighth Dan in WTF-style Taekwondo. In 1975 he was appointed Instructor of the year, while in 1977 he became “Man of the Year”.

Norris created the martial art Chun Kuk Do , which was based on tangsudo and included other things from every fighting style he knew. Like many other martial arts, Chun Kuk Do includes a code of honor and rules of life. However, he received the most important recognition in 1997 when he was appointed eighth grade black belt grandmaster (dan) of taekwondo . This represents one of the most important honors in this martial art, and Chuck Norris was the first Westerner to obtain it.

Cung Le (Sanda, Strikeforce)


Lê (Saigon, May 25, 1972) is a former mixed martial arts fighter, former sanda wrestler and naturalized American Vietnamese actor. In MMA he was middleweight champion in Strikeforce , and at the end of his career he fought four fights in the prestigious UFC, winning half of them; he is known for his spectacular and effective kicking technique. Undefeated world heavyweight champion IKF di sanda is an actor specializing in martial arts films, and has taken part in the cast of internationally notable films such as Tekken .

Fedor Emel’janenko (Mixed Martial Arts / Sambo / Judo)


Fëdor Vladimirovič Emel’janenko (Rubižne, 28 September 1976) is a Russian sambo and mixed martial arts fighter . A recurring transliteration of the name is Fedor Emelianenko.

He remained undefeated for an entire decade and, for four consecutive years, the undisputed heavyweight champion in the Japanese organization Pride, at the time considered the best mixed martial arts federation in the world; he was also the winner of the Pride Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament in 2004. In his palmarès he can also boast the victory of the openweight and absolute class RINGS tournaments, both in 2001, as well as the WAMMA heavyweight title , won and defended between 2008 and 2009.

Many newspapers and industry experts consider him not only the best heavyweight fighter of mixed martial arts ever but also the best ever, so much so that he was awarded as the best fighter of all time by the experts of the American television program Inside. MMA. He retired on June 21, 2012, at the age of thirty-five, ending a career spanning twelve, with a personal best of thirty-four wins and four losses. Before practicing MMA he was one of the most successful sambo combat athletes having won four world championships, one European and six national championships between 1999 and 2012 in the over 100 kg category; in 1998 and 1999 he also won two bronze medals at the national judo championships.

Hirokazu Kanazawa (Karate)


Kanazawa (May 3, 1931) is a Japanese karateka and karate master. He is considered to be one of the greatest karate masters ever. Kanazawa’s martial career begins with Judo while he attends Nippon University. Kanazawa soon became the favorite pupil of the late Master Shotokan, Masatoshi Nakayama (10th Dan), and is one of the privileged few (still alive) to have also trained with Gichin Funakoshi, considered the founding master of modern Karate.

In 1957 he participated for the first time in the All Japan Karate Championships tournament. On that occasion Kanazawa had a broken wrist and managed to win all the matches. Since then he has won the tournament two more consecutive times. Kanazawa is currently the president and chief instructor of the largest Shotokan Karate organization in the world, the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation. In April 2000 he was promoted to the grade of 10th Dan .

Jean-Claude Van Damme

Van Damme (Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, October 18, 1960), is a Belgian actor, director, screenwriter, film producer, bodybuilder and martial artist.

After studying martial arts intensively since the age of ten, passionate about Bruce Lee and Yip Man, Van Damme achieved success at home as a martial artist and bodybuilder, earning the title of “ Mr. Belgium Junior-Overall Winner 1978- 1979 “in the second discipline. He emigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue an acting career achieving success with No holds barred (1988) , based on the true story of Frank Dux. A well-known face of US action cinema, he achieved several box office successes; his most economically successful film, Timecop (1994) , had an international gross of over $ 100 million.

Joe Lewis  (Kickboxing, Point Karate)


Lewis (Knightdale, March 7, 1944 – August 31, 2012) was an American martial artist.

Kickboxing and Point Karate wrestler, he dominated the ring in the sixties and seventies. Twice in a row he has been voted “The Greatest Karate Fighter” and holds the titles of: “US Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion”, “Karate World Champion” in Heavyweight and “National Belt Champion” Black Kata from the United States. “

Masahiko Kimura (Judo)


Kimura was a Japanese judoka, considered one of the greatest of all time. Kimura was born in Kumamoto on 10th September 1917. He starts practicing judo at the age of ten. He receives the fourth dan at sixteen and the fifth at eighteen, making him the youngest godan ever. In 1937, at the age of twenty, he won the All-Japan Championships for the first time by defeating Nakashima.

It will remain undefeated for the next thirteen years. In 1950 he left sports judo and became a professional judoka and wrestler. Following this decision, he meets the professional wrestler Rikidōzan. According to Kimura, the match should have ended with the agreed result of a draw and that there would have been a series of re-matches. Contrary to the agreements, however, Rikidōzan repeatedly hit Kimura up to KO. In 2004 a Korean film retraced the event. In 1951 he met Hélio Gracie, at the time the greatest exponent of the Brazilian school of ju jitsu, in a match that would have ended only with a submission (strangulation or joint lever) of the opponent. Gracie managed to hold out for 13 minutes, but still had to succumb in the end. His rank in judo was suspended by the Kodokan after his transition to pro-wrestling,

Masutatsu Ōyama (Full Contact Karate)


Ōyama (Gimje, July 27, 1923 – Tokyo, April 26, 1994) was a Japanese karateka and writer . Known as Mas Oyama and founder of Kyokushinkai, probably the first and most influential style of full contact karate.

In 1953, Oyama opened his own karate dojo in Tokyo calling it “Oyama Dojo” while continuing to travel around Japan and the world, giving demonstrations, including the famous fights in which he knocked out bulls with his own hands for a total of 52 of which 3 killing them, and others in which he shattered 30 tiles with a single blow.

The “Oyama” developed a reputation for being a hard, difficult, intense style in which you hit hard and finally, in a ceremony in 1957, it was named “kyokushin”. Over the years he developed a reputation for being too rough a teacher as he often hurt his students during training sessions. As the reputation of the dojo grew, many students were attracted to enroll both from Japan and elsewhere and the number of students grew considerably.

Michael Milon (Karate)


Michaël Milon (Tours, March 3, 1972 – Paris, March 13, 2002) was a French karateka and karate master. He is considered one of the most famous European karateka of the late nineties . At the age of 8 he began training in the martial discipline of Shotokan Karate. In 1986, at the age of 14, he won the French Karate Championship. His dedication to martial teachings doesn’t end in competition: by training hard every day, Milon lives by the martial doctrine he loves.

This dedication allows him to become world champion of kata for three times , the part of Karate that involves a solitary execution of forms and techniques, and European champion for 10 times. However, such a promising career was broken on March 13, 2002 when, at the age of 30, Milon died in Paris of a heart attack following a cocaine overdose.

Steven Seagal (Aikido)

Seagal (born April 10, 1952) is an American actor, martial artist, film producer, entrepreneur, and musician with Russian citizenship. He is part of the group of actors (Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Sonny Chiba, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan), who have become famous thanks to their skills in the field of martial arts. Aikido 7th Dan black belt , he was the first foreigner to open a dojo in Osaka, Japan. He is known throughout Latin America as La Tortuga, which means ” the turtle ” in Spanish, due to the relatively slow but very efficient way of fighting.

Wong Shun Leung (Beimo)


Leung (黃 淳 樑; Hong Kong, May 8, 1935 – Hong Kong, January 28, 1997) was an important Chinese martial artist. He was a respected Wing Chun teacher and student of Yip Man. Considered by many to be an excellent fighter due to his technical ability and speed of movement, he was famous for earning the title of ” King of Beimo “, which means “king of the combat-challenge ”, that is, fights without rules and protections that at the time were organized so that each fighter could test their skills and, in case of victory, bring fame and honor to their own clan. Wong was also Bruce Lee’s teacheralong with Yip Man, as well as his “mentor”, as he was the main person responsible for his fighting formation in the days of Hong Kong, introducing him to the Beimo and helping him to fight fear in combat.

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