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How to Become a Martial Arts Actor

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Becoming a martial arts actor is an extremely difficult goal that requires years of intense training and practice. In order to stand out as a martial arts actor, it is best to begin training at a very young age, although a few martial arts stars began training as late as their late teens. Learning to do stunt work and making time to take acting lessons is time consuming, but in the end the skills will make landing that first martial arts acting role well worth it.

Learn martial arts. Training in popular martial arts like kung-fu and karate is highly suggested, and cross training in flashier martial arts like capoeira is also very useful. Train hard, and achieve at least a first degree black belt--preferably higher.

Start acting. While in middle school and high school, join the drama or audio-visual clubs. Look for local commercial spots and community theater projects that need teens. In university, take acting classes. Martial arts acting is half martial arts, and half acting.

Body sculpt. Train at the gym with trainers that specialize in bodybuilding and modeling physiques. Take care of skin and hair, and use salons to develop the sexy, heartthrob look that makes a star. Martial arts actors are as much look as skill, and cultivating that look is a full-time job.

Move to Los Angeles, New York or Hong Kong. These cities are the home to the largest movie houses in the world, and some of them specialize in martial arts movies. Get an agent, and have the agent push for roles that showcase martial arts talents.

Continue training in martial arts. Go to tournaments and expos that can be used to gain media attention. Don't let rejection get discouraging. Train in new styles of martial arts to expand the repertoire.

Teach martial arts. Look for jobs on set for martial arts instructors, stunt men and body doubles. Teach martial arts to actors and crew members and use those connections to network. Remember the adage "it's not what you know, it's who you know" and make as many connections to the action movie industry as possible.


Knowing how to become a martial arts actor is easy, but it requires a lifetime of dedication. Make sure to be determined and stay conscious that the choice is very long term.

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