I will be the first to say that I am an action movie junkie. I especially enjoy movies that are packed with high intensity fight scenes that feature a heavy dose of martial arts combat. 

Some of the movies that I absolutely loved that featured martial arts combat include: 

  • Kill Bill - One of the few 2hr plus movies aside from Casino and Godfather that I have watched from beginning to end. I love mafia movies too.

  • Exit Wounds - Steven Seagal is not the fanciest guy in the world but he sure is effective.

  • Fearless - Jet Li is a just a beast.

  • Blade - All of the Blade series have amazing fight scenes.

  • Ninja Assassin - If you haven't seen this movie and you love action, then this is must see.

  • Bourne Identity - What I love about the fight scenes featured is that they are authentic.

I could go on and on naming action movie after action movie but the list above is my short list. 

After years of watching countless fight scenes featuring different martial artist I have decided to compile a list of the top 5 martial artist that I would want on my side if I had to go to war or, in other words, engage in a bar fight.

So here is the basic criteria for choosing my top 5 martial artists: 

  1. They have to practice martial artists in real life.

  2. They have to be living. (I would love to have Bruce Lee on the team. RIP Bruce.)

  3. They have to be able to fight dirty. (No such thing as a fair fight in real life. Sorry.)

  4. They have to be able to fight with efficiency. (Inflict pain with little effort and time.)

#1 Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal(134038)
Credit: Steven Seagal

Steven is a 7th degree black belt in Aikido. His fighting style has been featured in movies like Hard To Kill, Above The Law, and Exit Wounds. Unlike most martial artists featured in movies Seagal is not known for high, flashy kicks. On the contrary, he is known for inflicting serious pain in the most efficient manner possible. His fights do not last very long and it is not uncommon to see his foes literally broken up after a fight.   

Steven Seagal Fight Scene

#2 Jet Li

Jet Li(134039)
Credit: Jet Li

Li is a master of several different styles of Wushu. At the age of 12 he won 1rst place in a Chinese Wushu Championships against competitors more than twice his age. He has showcased his skills in movies like Fearless and Unleashed. For such a little guy he is able to inflict pain on guys twice is size. Jet Li fights with great efficiency. Another good thing about Li is he is able to fight effectively in the smallest spaces.  

Jet Li Fight Scene

#3 Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes
Credit: Wesley Snipes

Snipes is a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and 2nd degree Hapkido. Snipes, who started practicing martial at the age of 12, has displayed his skills in movies like Blade and Passenger 57. He can get a little flashy at times with his technique. Nevertheless, he is able to inflict pain on his opponents with brutal efficiency when it is absolutely needed.

Wesley Snipes Fight Scene

#4 Jason Statham

Jason Stathom
Credit: Jason Statham of The Transporter

Statham is versed in kung fu, karate, and kickboxing. He is known for his action packed fight scenes in hit movies such as The Transporter and Crank. The thing that I like about Statham is that he can fight dirty with efficiency and look pretty doing it. A rare combination but what you have in Statham is a flashier Steven Seagal.

Jason Statham Fight Scene

#5 Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White
Credit: Michael Jai White of Blood and Bone 2

White who started training in martial arts at the age of 8 holds black belts in 7 different discipline including Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, and Wushu. He has showcased his martial arts expertise in movies like Undisputed 2 and Blood and Bone. The one thing about White is he can mix it up. This guy can fight standing and he has a ground game as well. He is extremely efficient when he fights and is able to turn any object into a weapon including a simple shirt. 

Michael Jai White Fight Scene

Jackie Chan or Jean Claude Van Damme Did Not Make The Top 5?

Of course I could have easily added Jackie Chan or Jean Claude Van Damme to my Top 5. However, I feel like Jackie Chan plays too much when he fights. He just doesn't get to the point when he fights. Van Damme, on the other hand, fights to pretty. He depends entirely too much on his legs. Those high fancy kicks will only get you so far in a street fight.

Who would be in your Top 5? Did I miss anyone?