Martial Arts Journey:

Steven Seagal vs Jackie Chan… A fight that will most likely never happen. But in this Martial Arts Movie Actors Kombat – I will compare all the necessary information and their attributes to figure out once and for all – who of these two martial arts actors would win in a real fight. Let’s start by making it clear – both of these actors are now not what they used to be in their prime years. As much as I want to be respectful to Steven Seagal – that applies all the more so to him. But age takes the toll on all of us. Jackie Chan can also be observed to be much less active in his recent movies – compared to his prime years. He also admits that nowadays he uses stunt doubles for many of his takes. And that’s all OK. But in order to make this Kombat more compelling – we will pit these actors against each other both in their prime years – and – their current age. For the prime years – we will compare them in their 30s. That’s when Steven Seagal starred in Above the Law – the movie that brought him to stardome and when Jackie Chan started breaking through into Hollywood. At the making of this video Steven Seagal is 69 years old while Jackie is 67. These are the years at which we will assess them as for their current versions. By the way, fun fact: their birthdays are only three days apart.

Martial Arts Journey:

Round 1

With the groundwork set up – let’s get to: Round 1 [MK voice] First of all let’s start by assessing their martial arts abilities and backgrounds. Steven Seagal is famously known for being an Aikido master – which is a legit fact. He first visited Japan in his early 20s and eventually married Miyako Fujitani, a second-degree black belt and daughter of an Osaka aikido master. Steven taught at the school owned by Miyako’s family and allegedly became the first oreigner to operate an aikido dojo in Japan. He then continued to open his own Dojo in North Hollywood and over the years achieved an impressive 7-th degree black belt in Aikido. Seagal also formed his own Aikido style known as Tenshin – which is famous for being a more rough version of a usually aesthetic martial art. I was particularly impressed with how Steven led his black belt exams where the soon-to-be black belts had to stay standing on their feet for as long as possible, while three attackers would do all their best to take them down. Yet even as a rough version – Aikido is infamous for being ineffective in a fighting situation. This is mainly so since it does not involve sparring – a necessary practice to learn fighting.

Martial Arts Journey:

There are also no Aikido practitioners who had a successful professional fighting career mainly due to their Aikido practice. Looking at other martial arts that Steven Seagal practiced – the situation becomes much more tricky. There are some sources that claim Seagal has a black belt in Karate, Kendo and Judo. While I was able to find information about his training lineage in Karate, the same can not be said about the latter two martial arts. There is also the infamous story of Gene Lebell – a legendary martial artist and 9th degree Judo black belt – where he tells that Steven Seagal claimed he can’t be choked out – until Gene Lebell did the very thing, making me question if Steven really had extensive experience in Judo. Another reason that leads me to question if Steven has a Judo black belt – is that the majority of throws in his movies are Aikido, while his Judo techniques can barely – if ever – be seen in his fighting choreography. Steven Seagal’s martial arts background becomes even more complicated when we consider that Steven is infamous for having made false claims on more than one occasion. Considering all of these details – let’s play it safe and consider that Seagal is an Aikido black belt and that he has experience training in Karate, while leaving the claims about the other two martial arts for debate.

Martial Arts Journey:

Meanwhile, Jackie Chan started his martial arts career in… Peking Opera School. Yes, you heard that right. It turns out that in Chinese Opera – you have to learn martial arts and acrobatics – as these are a part of the elements of performance – and these are the areas where Jackie Chan – without surprise – excelled at. Later though he continued to study other martial arts too. In his own words:

Interestingly, the only martial art that he has a black belt in – is Hapkido. But that doesn’t naturally answer the question if Jackie is a good fighter. Being good at certain martial arts – doesn’t necessarily teach you fighting. It all depends on the training methodology. As mentioned before – Aikido does not develop good fighters since it does not include sparring. By far not all Hapkido schools include sparring as well. It’s also important to point out that Jackie Chan’s first priority is to be a good actor – not a fighter. He even says it in his own words:

Many actors that do martial arts – have the same mindset. Their main goal is to learn martial arts movements that would look good on film.

Martial Arts Journey:

Most of them don’t intend to ever get into a real fight – nor do they train for it. While boxing – one of Jackie’s disciplines – is famous for being effective through the inclusion of sparring – we don’t know for sure if Jackie was sparring or not. We also have no footage of Steven Seagal or Jackie Chan sparring or actually fighting – which makes it even more difficult to tell how good (or bad) either of them would be in a real fight. Considering all of this, when pitting the two actors against each other in their prime years based on their martial backgrounds – it’s really difficult to tell which one would win. While I am personally leaning towards Jackie’s side… I have to respect the dedication to martial arts of both of these men… And I leave this first battle to a draw. Yet when pitting them in their current years… Jackie Chan seems to have continued to train martial arts throughout his entire life, while there is no information of Steven Seagal continuing to train in his later years – so in this battle I am giving the first win
to Jackie.

Martial Arts Journey:

Round 2

Now, let’s move on to: Round 2 An often underestimated aspect of who will win a fight is – the weight and size of the person. It’s no coincidence that each combat sport has weight classes which makes sure that the weight difference between two fighters would be as small as possible. It is safe to assume that the height of both martial arts actors did not change significantly over the years. The official information is that Steven Seagal is at 6 feet 4 inches (193 centimeters). Meanwhile Jackie Chan is at 5 feet 7 (or 170cm). That’s a big difference in height. Weight wise, we can’t say that this did not change over the years. A couple of websites claim that today Steven Seagal weighs 85 kg, which is 185 pounds. That is hard to believe – since I’m a 6.2 guy and I weigh 85kg. It’s more likely that that was the weight of Steven in his prime. Other websites claim that currently his weight is between 120 to 130 kg, which is 260 to 280 pounds. Given a visual assessment this seems to be true. Meanwhile, depending on which website you take for reference – Jackie is claimed to be between 65 to 75 kg or 140 to 165 pounds. In his prime Jackie does seem to have had a smaller build, leading me to assume that he might have been around 65 kg during his 30s and that he may have gained an extra 10 kg over the years. Still when we pit these two actors together based on weight and size – both in his prime and current years – Steven Seagal wins this round.

Martial Arts Journey:

Round 3

Leading us to move on to… Round 3 Despite the size difference – another key player in winning a fight is – your athleticism. Real fights don’t last long – but they are extremely physically demanding. If one of the two fighters tires out early – that can easily lead to the end of it. In their primes both actors used to be physically active and fit. It’s hard to deny that both of them looked great too. But there is still a difference. While Aikido can be cardio demanding – teaching it is much less so. It’s not uncommon for Aikido teachers to become overweight over the years, probably for the same reason. Meanwhile Jackie Chan used to train himself three times per day, while also doing crazy stunts during filming himself. When comparing the fitness levels of the prime levels – it would be possible to pull off a draw… But looking at the broader picture – Jackie Chan is the winner here. In their current years – Jackie still looks great and regularly speaks about his workout routine. On the other hand, Steven Seagal is infamous for gaining a significant amount of extra weight. During his latest Aikido demonstrations his movements also seem slow and hardly comparable to his prime years. So here – Jackie Chan wins again.

Martial Arts Journey:

Round 4

And so we are off to our last round… Round 4 It’s finally time to compare the whole picture to see who would win in a real fight. In their prime years both actors seemed to have trained primarily martial arts without sparring – which makes both of them questionable in their abilities to deal with a real fight, but for people who are not great fighters – size, weight and fitness levels can make all the difference. Given that Steven Seagal had a size and weight advantage, but Jackie Chan had the fitness advantage… This fight ends in a draw – as it’s too difficult to tell who would be the winner here.

Martial Arts Journey:

Meanwhile in their current years – we are seeing a greater difference. Jackie Chan seems to have continued to train martial arts through his whole years, while we have little information if Steven Seagal actively continued in his martial path. Although Steven is bigger and taller – his extra weight and his potential lack of training makes him slower and physically less capable, leading Jackie Chan… [Finish him] To winning this Martial Arts Movie Actor Kombat.  Thank you for watching and as always – I wish you to own your journey.




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