Famous Martial Artists Named Ken

kenedwardsIn Japanese, the name “Ken” means “healthy and strong.” With a meaning like that, it’s no wonder that so many popular and successful martial artists have shared this very appropriate moniker. These are 10 of the most celebrated Kens in martial arts, each of which has their own unique claim to fame in the world of fighting.

  • Kenneth Edwards – A teacher of Chinese Martial Arts in Pasadena, California, Kenneth Edwards also appeared in the 1995 film adaptation of the hit fighting video game Mortal Kombat. He’s trained in many styles of martial arts, including Northern Praying Mantis and Tam Toi Moon. He’s also an active member of the Ying Jow Pai International Kung Fu Association.
  • Ken Stone – Though he began training in mixed martial arts in 2006 after wrestling on the collegiate level for Bridgewater State University, Ken Stone began his career in the world famous UFC professional division after a 2010 merger with World Extreme Cagefighting. He’s since participated in four UFC events, with two wins and two losses.
  • Ken Ogata – The star of many Japanese action films, including Shogun’s Shadow and Samurai Banners, Ken Ogata was a beloved figure of Japanese cinema. Sadly, he passed away at the age of 71. Before his death, he earned several nominations and two awards from the Japanese Academy Awards.
  • Ken Lo – A famous member of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team, Ken Lo is a martial artist, actor and stuntman. He’s also won seven freestyle fighting championships in Muay Thai and Taekwondo in Thailand, and is an escapee of the Khmer rouge in his native Cambodia.
  • Ken Knudson – The winner of more than 100 karate championships between 1967 and 1973, Ken Knudson was one of Chicago’s most famous and celebrated martial artists. He graced the cover of Black Belt Magazine in 1976, won a Martial Arts Pioneer Award and established competitive American standards before his death in 2006.
  • Kenny Florian – Though he now serves as a color commentator and analyst for the UFC, Kenny Florian began his career as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai fighter in the organization. He’s also the only fighter in UFC history to compete in four different weight classes under the organization’s banner. He’s widely considered to be one of the all-time greatest fighters to never win a UFC championship.
  • Kenneth Tsang – A Shanghai-born actor whose martial arts prowess allowed him to star alongside stars like Chow Yun Fat and in the James Bond film Die Another Day, Kenneth Tsang is a veteran of classic Hong Kong kung fu films.
  • Ken Shamrock – As one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, Ken Shamrock is one fighter whose skill and fame helped to put the sport of mixed martial arts on the proverbial map. He’s been inducted into the UFC hall of fame, and is one of the organizations biggest stars to date.
  • Ken Masters – No list of famous martial artists would be complete without an honorable mention going to one of the legends of the video game world, Ken Masters. Half of the Ryu and Ken duo that helmed the staggeringly successful Street Fighter franchise, this character is no less famous for his fictional status. He’s one of Capcom’s biggest stars, and has appeared in comic books, cartoons and video games.
  • Ken Tran – Ken “Hitman” Tran is a mixed martial arts fighter out of Vancouver, Canada. His official professional record includes bouts against fighters like Marcus Aurelio, Rory MacDonald and Yoon Heo.