Many of them you will know: The best karate fighters from competitions and movies. We present you successful female and male karatekas. Furthermore, you will find great videos of the athletes, with visual material.

Bekannte Karateka und Karate Schauspieler

Famous male karateka

Well-known karateka are usually also trainers themselves and have already reached a high Dan. However, many of them do not reach the highest level of training, the 10th Dan.

  • The first name that should pop into your head as a German karateka is Efthimios Karamitsos. Born in Greece, he studied sports science in Frankfurt and has been the national coach for the discipline of kata since 1992. In his active time he became six times German champion, six times European champion, won two bronze medals at world championships and was awarded the silver laurel leaf by Richard von Weizsäcker in 1988.
  • The former national coach and 7th Dan Toni Dietl founded the Karate Kollegium in 2007, which is now known as the Kampfkunst Kollegium. The goal of this association was to support dojos and clubs through regular dan exams and continuing education.
  • The German JKA Karate Federation was founded in 1993 by Hideo Ochi, who thus distanced himself from the values of the DKV. He believed that training karatekas purely for competition was in the way of the traditional values of karate. He also introduced a point system for competition, which was adapted to reality by eliminating the collection of points. Here, the fighter wins the fight with an “Ippon”, that is, a whole point.
  • One of the world’s most famous karateka of our time is called Hirokazu Kanazawa. During his studies, he did not pass up the opportunity to train under Funakoshi Gichin (the highly respected founder of Shotokan) and over the years rose to become a respected figure in karate. in 1977 he left the JKA (Japan Karate Association) and founded his own organization, the S.K.I., to impose his own concept. Kanazawa has been a 10th Dan holder since 2002 and was also awarded the Budo honorary title of “Hanshi”, which means “role model”. Even at over 80 years of age, he continues to spread his teachings worldwide and in person at his courses.
  • Another important name from the history of karate is Itosu Ankō (also Itosu Yasutsune). He was the teacher of the still famous Funakoshi Gichin. It is mainly thanks to his work that karate could be made accessible to the masses. To do this, he toned down many techniques of the existing kata and also reworked those that we know today as the basic Heian kata. It is said that he revealed the true secrets behind the kata to only a few students.
  • The history of Matsumura Sōkon is not one hundred percent verifiable. His exact year of birth and date of death is unknown, although various statements exist. The fact is that in his time he was famous as a unique karateka and possessed extraordinary physical abilities. He taught many students who later achieved great deeds. Among them was Itosu Ankō, who later transformed karate for the general public.

Successful women in karate

There have been successful women in martial arts for years, be it judo or karate. Below we present you a number of well-known karateka.

  • The first gold medal for women in a world championship was won by Alexandra Witteborn at the 2000 World Championships in Munich. She won 1st place in the women’s kumite category up to 60 kg.
  • As one of the most influential women you should know Nadine Joachim, born as Nadine Ziemer. She won various gold medals in the category Kumite during her active time, among others at the World Games 2005 in Duisburg. She is also a former DKV trainer and, in cooperation with Toni Dietl, is developing a concept for teaching karate to children with the aid of music. Today, more than 10,000 children train under this system in Germany alone.
  • Jasmin Bleul has meanwhile made a name for herself in competitions in the kata category. Born in Aschaffenburg in 1993, she has already won various titles at German and European championships. Her greatest success was being part of that women’s team that won 1st place in the kata team category at the 2014 World Karate Championships in Bremen.

Karate Actor

Most people who do not actively practice karate know well-known karateka from movies and television. Since the techniques can not be demonstrated without knowledge, the actors are usually talented karate athletes themselves or were themselves trainers, in the following we introduce you to a few very famous.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris, famous for his roundhouse kick, learned mainly Taekwondo and Tang-Soo-Do, but was also active in the world of karate. He was active as a martial arts instructor for decades, but participated in only a few karate championships himself.

In the video you can see Chuck Norris in a training session.


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Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal lived in Japan for 15 years, during which time he learned karate, among other things. He was the first non-Asian martial artist to teach at a martial arts school in Osaka.

In the video you can see Steven Seagal in 1993.

Jean-Claude Van Damme

The career of Jean-Claude Van Damme could not celebrate great successes on the big screen for a long time, but he represents a greatness in martial arts. Van Damme became European karate champion at the age of 19 and is a black belt in Shotokan karate.

  • Born 18 October 1960
  • Place: Berchem-Sainte-Agathe/Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium
  • Height: 1,77 m
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In the video a training round with Jean-Claude Van Damme (undated).


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Bruce Lee

The legendary Bruce Lee, who died at the age of 32, is often falsely attributed to karate in movies (Karate Tiger), but in reality he practiced his own fighting style, which is called Jeet Kune Do. He also had no relationship to karate during his lifetime, but made his beginnings in Kung Fu.

  • Born: November 27, 1940 (Died: July 20, 1973)
  • Location: Chinatown, San Francisco, California, USA
  • Height: 1.71 m
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