T Nation

Martial Artists w/ Weightlifting Backgrounds


Just wanted to start a list of famous martial artists with bodybuilding/strength sports backgrounds and bodybuilders/strength athletes with martial arts backgrounds.

Bolo Yeun- Studied a variety of martial arts and noted for his b-movie appearances. He is also a Hong Kong bodybuilding champ and a Chinese Powerlifting Champ.

Jean-Claude Van Damme- Shotokan Karate champ and pro bodybuilder. Noted for his action movies.

Bas Rutten- Famous Dutch MMA fighter. He was one of the best javelin and discus throwers in his county during his high school career.

Ken Yasuda- Bodybuilder with an extensive martial arts background. He trains many MMA fighters and is a founder of his own style of martial arts.

Colin Osborne- Australian Bodybuilder and Powerlifter who was an amateur boxing champ as a child. Later he became an enthusiastic karate instructor and practicioner.

Simon Robinson- British bodybuilder who was into tae kwon do and even competed for a spot on the Olympic Team.

Sylvio Simac- Did ShotPut as a child and won several British Tae Kwon Do titles. He later got into Bodybuilding, acting , and modeling.

Julien Greaux- Started Karate as a child and is now into MMA style training. He works as a fitness model and I am not sure if he has enter any bodybuilding shows.

Fred George- Bodybuilder who has fought MMA twice and studies under Erik Paulson. Personal trainer for Kevin Randleman a while back.

Jamie Hale- Competed in bodybuilding and Oly lifting and of course is now very into MMA.

Billy Rush- I believe he was into bodybuilding before getting into MMA.

All I have for now. Sorry the description were so brief. Hope everyone can add something.


Strong man Mariuz pudzianowski(horrible spelling)

World's strongest man competitor, known for massive physique, has extensive traditional karate background.


Notice how all the guys who train like bodybuilders suck at MA and can't fight for shit.

Only exception would be phil baroni but hes given up most of his bb lifting anyway.


A few guys such as Sherk and Hughes train like bodybuilders. The key is to balance it with other training but yes other weight training styles are typically optimal. Few others I found.

Michael Jai White- Martial arts actor. Not sure if he has competed in bodybuilding but he seems to be a fan.

Rudy Reyes- Fitness Model witha strong background in Kung Fu. He describes his lifting as more powerlifting though.

Hidetada Yamagishi- One of the most popular Japanese bodybuilders. He trained martial arts and boxing as a child. He said that if he wasn't a bodybuilder he would be a pro boxer or mma fighter.

Flex Wheeler- Pro bodybuilder with a background in karate. Actually competed at the Arnolds.

Justin Fortune- Australain youth powerlifting champion turned pro boxer.


You mean people who were natural athletes made good fighters? LOL.

Come on guys, think.

If someone is a great breaker (break dancer), put him in jiu jitsu and he'll be good. It doesn't mean that break dancing is good for BJJ. It just means that if you have the genetic ability to do break dancing, you probably have the genetic material to do BJJ.

Same thing with athletics. If you were a great track athlete, have a lot of fast twitch muscles, you'll probably be good at fighting.


Frank and Ken Shamrock definitely lift weights for image reasons, particularly Ken Shamrock who looks loaded with HGH.

Mark Coleman I would definitely call a body builder and MMA fighter.

Q: Does having huge muscles like Coleman make him gas so easily in his fights? I've heard this before but never understood it.


Bas Rutten?

You suck at MA, actually.


well, HGH tightens the skin, so Ken prolly doesn't use it.

i think Coleman (and Randleman and Mark Kerr) all trained like powerlifters/BB.....i think they were all using large amounts of AAS, and relied on their strength to get them through their matches.

hell, Coleman's fighting at 205 now, and was a ripped 250lb in Pride....


No he didn't. The more recent fights of his in PRIDE, he was 230 pounds (105 kgs). He obv. cuts a lot of weight too, to make LHW.


i stand corrected...for some reason i thought he was a lot more than that.


Yeah, Randleman must have won all of his 200+ college wrestling matches on pure strength too.


How the fuck did bas rutten train like a bb? All of his s&c were circuits and explosive lifts.


It doesn't matter, you just suck. At everything. Except beating up imaginary guys that are bigger than you! And to be honest, you even suck at that!


That's refering to yolked up, not Hangerbaby. Hangerbaby, I am sure you don't suck, and you are probably quite lovely.


Dude or should I call you Ryo chonnan with the scissor kick to heel hook? you're a huge MMA newb. Phil baroni sucks. I can't remember the last time he even won.
Triggs is probably gonna whip him too.


Jose Canseco


Quincy Taylor- Pro bodybuilder who wrestled in high school along with playing football and track. At the age of 16 he started practicing Jujutsu and Judo and after winning a state championship he won the privilige to train in Japan for a year.