Top 10 Greatest Martial Artists of all Time

Marie Skillern| December 9, 2014
Martial Arts
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The Martial Arts have long fascinated the world. Every form and technique is unique to its place and principle. It is no denying that these martial arts have been featured in various Hollywood movies and have influenced new emerging martial arts that we now see. It has shaped self defense and a new system of discipline for everyone.

Just who among the thousands of martial artists around the world have emerged as the influencing figures of this art?

Here are the top most influential people in the world of Martial Arts.

10.) Masahiko Kimura

Masahiko Kimura Martial
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This artist is a judo expert who achieved to yondan (4th dan) only after practicing the martial art for 6 years. In 1935, he became the younges ever 5th degree black belt after defeating 8 opponents at the Kodokan Dojo. He became the All Japan Open Weight Judo champion at the age of 20. He held the title for 13 consecutive years. He is known for his highly intense and difficult workouts that consist of 1,000 push-ups and nine hours of practice daily.

His constant wins have put the martial arts world into recognition.

9.)  Yip Man

Yip Man Martial
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This particular martial artist is synonymous with high level Wing Chun and Wushu. One of his greatest achievements is the fact that many of his students went on to teach artist all over the world. Second is that two of his students went on to greatly influence everyone more about the world namely Grandmaster William Cheung and Bruce Lee. His thinking and influence has truly made him one of the martial arts greatest master.

8.) Chojun Miyagi

Chojun Miyagi Martial
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This particular martial artist is the founder of Goju-ryu Karate. He blended Japanese and Chinese influences to form a new hard-soft style of karate. This high level martial arts form of karate was actually used in the movie The Karate Kid.

7.) Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris Martial
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This Hollyoowd legend was trained in the art of Tang Soo Do in which he is a black belter. He also possesses the same black belt in other arts in Tae Kwod Do, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. He even formulated his own martial arts called the Chuk Kuk Do. He has fought with Bruce Lee on screen and served as Cordell Walker on Walker Texas Ranger.

His decision to bring the Gracies to America for a seminar for his students as a manner of progressive thinking which made him to this list.

6.) Mas Oyama

Mas Oyama
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This is the inventor of none other than the full contact Kyokushin Karate. This karate practitioner won several competitions as a youth and this is not your ordinary karate, this is full contact karate. Aside from his undefeated record, his fame rests not just from these victories but also in his martial arts prowess.

5.) Jigoro Kano

Jigoro Kano
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This man is the founder of Judo. He was a jujitsu expert whose focus on throws and melding jujitsu styles into one from became Judo. His Kodokan style still continues today. It was his efforts in developing Judo as a martial arts and introducing it to Japanese schools that he was recognized. It was his efforts to remove the dangerous moves from the art that made Judo part of the Japanese educational system.

Today, his innovation has made judo into an Olympic sport.

4.) Gichin Funakoshi

Gichin fukanoshi
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This particular martial artist is known for two things. The first is the fact that he died a 5th dan in karate, the highest rank one could achieve at his time. He made his own system known as the Shotokan karate which is widely practiced today. His greatest influence is seen the The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate where his philosophies on the said martial arts were seen. Some of his greatest students include Wado-ryu creator Hironori Otsuka and Mas Oyama.

3.) Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie
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This UFC champion introduced one of the world’s greatest martial arts in the world which was invented by his own father known as Brazilian Jijistu. His style and wins has forever changed the whole of martial arts mentality. One of his greatest influences is the fact that Mixed Martial Arts was placed on the map. Today, nearly all mixed martial artists use this deadly technique. Gracie is a 6th degree black belt in the art.

2.) Helio Gracie

Helio Gracie
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Helio was a sickly youth. From a family of athletes, he was the least powerful and athletic of his siblings who were all taught by Kodokan Judo by Mitsuyo Maeda. It was because of his less than perfect athleticism that Gracie began to modify what they had been taught that utilizes less strength.

The result was the highly revered Brazilian Jijitsu.

It was his match with judo expert Masahiko Kimura that earned him his place in the martial arts world. He died as a 10th degree Brazilian jujitsu black belt which is the highest belt that everyone has received in the art. He is forever known for introducing mixed martial arts in the world.

1.)  Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee
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No one’s name is more synonymous to martial arts than Bruce Lee. His pioneer as a martial arts actor is just one of his major achievements. One of Lee’s greatest influence is the fact that he diverged from the liner this is how you do it mentality of the arts or what works. Jeet Kune Do was greatly associated as his signature move although Lee himself did not acknowledge so. It was said that he founded the art through the principles of street fighting practicality and moved outside the parameters and limitations of the typical martial arts.

Lee has trained in other martial arts and was himself an expert. Some of it included Wing Chun, boxing, judo and the Filipino arts. It was his Jeet Kune Do and his mentality that earned him the inspiration and the title of the most influential martial artist of all time.

Check out some of these martial artists in action!

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