Martial Arts Actors Who Don't Even Have A Black Belt


There’s nothing quite like a good fight scene, who doesn’t love seeing cinema’s greatest martial artists duke it out on the big screen? But while they might look awesome throwing those high kicks, some of the most iconic martial arts actors don’t even have a black belt.

It’s probably important to get a handle on how the belt system works. It’s also worth knowing that the term “martial arts” is plural for a reason. There are hundreds of different schools of fighting across the globe, and as much as movies like to simplify things down to being either “karate” or “kung fu,” those are only two of the most popular styles. They’re certainly not the only ones practiced by martial arts actors. In fact, many of these disciplines don’t follow a belt system at all, and many of the most revered martial arts actors have no belts, simply because none were offered by their discipline.

Many martial arts actors also come from a dance background instead of a fighting one. This tracks because the main attribute for a movie star is performance, not victory. Fight scenes in any movie, especially martial arts movies, are about cooperation and telling a story, rather than defeating an opponent. The best comparison is professional wrestling, where many wrestlers show off their skills by fighting “Invisible Men” to demonstrate how to take bumps and tell stories at the same time.

There’s also a trend in martial arts now known as “black belt factories” or McDojos, schools that teach watered-down, fast-paced martial arts lessons with the goal of pumping out as many black belts as possible. This is done just so people can have the prestige of having a black belt without putting in the work. Many martial arts websites now offer warnings about black belt factories and how to spot them. In other words, in today’s age, black belts can be highly overrated, and just because an actor doesn’t have one, that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing.

Bruce Lee is the name most associated with martial arts movies, and to many people, martial arts in general. He almost single-handedly started the martial arts revolution in the West. His movies are bedrocks of the martial arts movie genre. And he never held a black belt in any discipline.

Lee’s primary martial arts background was in Wing Chun, which he studied directly under the famous Ip Man. He excelled at this art, but it just so happened that Wing Chun offers no belts to its students. When Lee moved to America, he studied acting at the University of Washington. He soon began teaching his own variation of Wing Chun, which eventually morphed into Jeet Kune Do. He described this as a hybrid style rather than an organized institution, and it’s this philosophy that shines throughout all of Lee’s movies. Keep watching the video to see all the martial arts actors who don’t even have a black belt.

#ActionStars #BlackBelt

How belts work | 0:00
Bruce Lee | 1:34
David Carradine | 2:26
Gina Carano | 3:19
Jet Li | 4:13
Michelle Yeoh | 5:01
Cheng Pei-pei | 5:51
Eve Torres | 6:38
Robin Shou | 7:32
Keanu Reeves | 8:10
Paul Walker | 9:00

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  1. Looper says

    Do you think martial arts stars need to have a black belt?

  2. C Jay Paz says

    Yeah belts aren't necessary that's just dumb

  3. Jimi strøm says

    Can we have an award for most idiotic question ever!

  4. Walt Lonsdale says

    What does a belt have to do with it?

  5. MegaAmir46 says

    Bruce and Robin? Liu Kang for life!

  6. Enoka 'Aka says

    The belt system is an Americanization of the Arts for the purpose of creating a business model. There are a million black belts walking around that are mediocre fighters at best.

  7. Guillermo Alfaro says

    If you have a private teacher (master) he teaches you all the stuff you don't learn in a dojo! You learn more self control self esteem organization respect and worth from one individual one on one than you do in a class!!!

  8. D Legionnaire says

    THE MERCENARY 2020 now on amazon and on DVD…………………VIVE LE MORT ex 2 REPMAN FFL

  9. The Hartford says

    Awww… Paul still got his belt. ??????

  10. lususnaturae999 says

    title should be "martial arts actors who dont practice karate"

  11. PILATUS1968 says

    dude Keanu earned a white belt hahahaha, we all started with a white belt no matter which style, wether is Tang Soo Do, or Kung Fu San Soo..

  12. Hylian Batman says

    If a good amount of martial arts dont offer belts and a lot of actors study those exact arts…what's the point if this list?

  13. v ous says

    Keeanu is like a log in action and acting both.

  14. Terrell Jackson says

    Who is this moron who wrote this? Bruce Lee studied philosophy and dramatic arts. Listen to what the man said. If he was predominantly a theatre major then where is his taped performances or auditions for school plays? The man said he studied philosophy. He had books om philosophy. Take him at his word.

  15. Nelson Marvel 88 says

    Don’t have a black belt ? but they still know how to kick ass

  16. Introspective Misanthrope says

    Do you morons at Looper know anything about culture? Not all forms of martial arts use a belt system. Jesus Christ! You guys lose massive amounts of credibility for this video. Bunch of ignorant, uncultured swine working at Looper. Smh ?

  17. King Of The Gods says

    It was the other way around with bruce lee black belt had bruce lee. ?

  18. dragon Kung Fu says

    I am a practicioner of wing Chun

  19. Eduardo Viera says

    Like Bruce Lee said all belts are only good for holding up your pants…

  20. James Clark says

    Jet Li was Chinese national champion since he was 8 years old until he was 19 when he went into movies. Michelle Yeoh has been highly trained by martial artists training for movies. Anyone who can keep up With Jackie Chan is no slouch. Only western people need belts, that is not even used in Asian traditional martial arts.

  21. The6thRonin says

    Just wanted to mention that Bruce Lee has been acting when he was 13, with his father who was a very well known Star (Lee Hoi Chuen). Also Bruce Lee first studied Tai Chi, first under his father and then under one of his father's friend.

  22. Matthew Steenbergen says

    Belts Belong Too PEOPLE WHO Decides to Have There Stupid Pants Drooping ? Past There Backside! Smh Wow

  23. Matthew Steenbergen says

    ? Rip Paul Walker.

  24. shothanshao says

    Top Youtube channels that think a black belt actually means something! LMAO

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