Best Martial Arts Action Stars Who Deserve More Recognition

Don’t you just love watching those exhilarating films where the characters are pulling off carefully choreographed flying kicks to each other’s face? If you like such movies, you’re probably just as much of a martial arts fanatic as we are. You will also agree to the fact that martial arts-themed films have inherent levels of satisfaction because of the preciseness of their fight sequences. 

While we may have enjoyed most of these movies, do we really know the performers who played all those badass characters? Besides all well-known legends, we don’t really seek out info on these hard-working martial artists. We are going to change all that with our post on the best martial arts action stars who deserve more recognition.

Scott Adkins posing as Yuri Boyka in a screen grab from the film Undisputed

Best Martial Arts Action Stars You Need to Follow

1. Scott Adkins

We thought we should probably start from the very best. If we were to ask fans for their list of best martial arts actors, most would say they loved “Yuri Boyka.” Well, as much as this is an achievement for the actor playing the role, most people fail to recognize the actor playing the role. 

Actor and martial artist Scott Adkins is truly a marvel; packing both action and acting chops. Besides this, Adkins has the ability to perform martial arts and acrobatic moves without the help of CGI and graphics. This man proved the previous statement for the first time when he made his first appearance in a Chinese movie called ‘Extreme Challenge’.

His career took off when his second feature ‘The Accidental Spy’ was well-received by global audiences. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you need to begin following this legend-in-the-making by watching the ‘Undisputed’ series of films. 

2. Mark Dacascos

This performer in our list of best martial arts action stars doesn’t really need an introduction. He has already managed to bag the title of martial arts legend all the way back in the 90s. Way back then, people saw Mark lightning punching, kicking, somersaulting, and flipping while delivering brilliant performances. 

The Hawaiian-born martial arts actor was able to headline some strong martial arts genre movies. These included ‘Only The Strong’, and ‘Crying Freeman’ along with so many more. Why most people don’t know his name is because of the fact that most of his movies didn’t manage to get the status of the likes of Tony Jaa and Jet Li. 

If you follow this actor’s work, you will find him playing both heroes and villains. A great place to start would be Cradle 2 the Grave. You can even catch him in the widely popular web series called Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

3. Michael Jai White

So this man is among our personal favorites and we always wonder why it took so long for the man to be discovered. He was in the very same movie that launched “Yuri Boyka” (more accurately, Scott Adkins) but the fact that the villain became the hero in the rest of the movies is why Michael was forgotten. 

This man, however, holds up on this list really well in terms of martial arts experience. This is because of the fact that he has mastered various styles which include Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon So, Wu Shu, and Shotokan Karate. 

If you’re just about to rediscover this man, then we suggest that you add Universal Soldier: The Return and Exit Wounds to your list of must-watch martial arts movies. If you prefer a few laughs today, then you can also catch him doing some comedic martial arts in Black Dynamite. 

4. Lateef Crowder Dos Santos

If you have played the video game Tekken, you would be familiar with the peculiar character known as Eddie. If you wish to see a human version of this character, then you can check out Lateef Crowder Dos Santos. He is quite different from the other actors on our list because of the awe-inspiring manner in which he pulls off intricate acrobatics and choreography; it is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

This is because of the fact that this man is a master of the half-dance, half-self-defense form of martial arts called Brazilian Capoeira. This style of martial arts is both really complex and graceful at the same time and very convincingly effective. He is such an expert that he could probably win a fight just by standing on one hand. 

Well, as most people don’t know about this man, we would like you to watch his performance in Undisputed 3: Redemption and opposite Tony Jaa in Tom Yum Goong (The Protector). Most of his other works have been low-budget flicks – which is why it is no surprise in the fact that he does not get recognized among mainstream martial arts film actors. 

5. Marko Zaror

Here we have yet another actor we were introduced to because of the ‘Undisputed’ film series. He played the Columbian Drug Trafficking/Drug Addict villain. However, in reality, this up-and-coming actor from Chile started his career as a stuntman/martial artist. He caught his first big break when he played Raul in 2010’s Undisputed.

The Chilean Dragon, as this man has come to be known now, was noticed by some to have really gone off the radar. This is because of the fact that he was working as the fight choreographer for Spanish films, designing fight sequences for ‘Mandrill’, ‘Mirage Man,’ and ‘Kiltro’.

Now, however, Zaror was able to secure a part beside the great Danny Trejo in a move that was surprisingly quite star-studded – Machete Kills. We’re really happy to see that Hollywood has opened a few doors for the man and would love to see the same opportunities for the other inspiring fighters out there. 


If you think you need to learn how to fight like the legendary fighters in your favorite martial arts films, you should go ahead and visit our website. There you’ll find out everything you need to know about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, fitness diets, and so much more.


John Porter

John is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt and founder of Livermore Supply Co. When not training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, John enjoys learning languages, traveling to the warm parts of the world, and photography. Outside of Livermore Supply Co., John has a career in the technology field.

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