Top 10 Korean Idols with Bad@ss Martial Arts Background

Updated on July 5, 2016

Idols are often ridiculed for being cute, effeminate and vain but some of these guys can actually kick your ass with their badass martial arts background. Here are 10 idols with competitive experience.

Just a note. I know many will comment that I am not including Kang Gary (8th dan in Tae Kwon Do and black belt in Hapkido) and Tiger JK (5th dan in Tae Kwon Do). This is because the list is for Korean idols. Maybe I will make a separate one for non-idols so send in the names if you know any.

#1 - DBSK's U Know Yunho

Martial Arts Discipline: Hapkido Tae Kwon Do

Rank: 3rd Dan in Hapkido and Blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do


Yunho started studying Hapkido at 5. By the time he was in middle school, he was competing nationally. In fact, he won a gold medal in the national championships. He was supposed to continue until his training got in the way.

About Hapkido

Hapkido is a mash up of Judo, Karate, Aikido and Tae Kwon Do. Although it originally started as a "short strike" martial arts having most of its offensive moves directed at pressure points, locks and throws, it has evolved to become a real fusion of the most effective techniques and and styles. It uses both defensive and offensive techniques. Different schools may teach different styles and movements but all are grounded in three principles - Hwa, Won and Yu.

Hwa is harmony or the act of 'moving with the force' instead of going against it. For example, if someone is to punch an Hapkido practitioner in the face, he will swing his face in the direction of the punch so as to lessen, if not eliminate, the impact.

Won means round or the act of redirecting the attacking force in a circular motion to gain momentum for a counter attack.

Yu is water which means the state of being as soft as a water. Hapkido practitioners need not use strength to attack or defend, they just need to be fluid in order to use the opponent's force to their advantage.

Yunho is one tricky guy, huh?

#2 - Super Junior's Choi Siwon

Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do

Rank: 4th Dan


Siwon, for a time, was the youngest 4th dan blackbelter in Korea.

About Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do, an official sport in the Olympics and the national sport of Korea, emphasizes strength and agility. Although it teaches both defensive and offensive techniques, it concentrates on attacks using feet over hands.

The teaching is divided into two major aspects, sparring and forms. Sparring is the one on one battle. A normal sparring involves a body armor and headgear. Connecting in the shaded area of an armor and the head using kicks earns the player a point.

The other aspect is forms. It's like a dance that emphasizes "correct posture and poses" when when executing different moves.

#3 - Super Junior’s Sungmin

Martial Arts Discipline: Kung Fu

Rank:3rd Dan


Sungmin has been practicing Kung Fu and Wushu since he was young. In his demonstrations, he has shown that he favors the stick as his weapon but is also an expert in

About Kung Fu

Sometimes known simply as "Chinese Martial Arts", Kung Fu is born out of the long history of China. Its principles are so embedded with Chinese culture that even its stance, forms and movements reflect what China has been living by, serenity, independence, and wisdom. As such, Kung Fu is not just about fighting techniques. Its emphasis is heavier on the strengthening of the body and the mind. Kung Fu believes that one can only be the "best fighters" if you are a wise person.

Kung Fu training involves using the power of concentration and discipline in order to do what normal "minds" can't do.

Kung Fu also uses different weapons such as sword, nunchuks, sticks and knives.

#4 - Infinite’s Hoya

Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do

Rank: 3rd Dan


Hoya practiced Tae Kwon Do until he was in middle school. He participated in regional Tae Kwon Do competitions.

He decided to stop when he entered one competition and was mismatched against a really strong competitor. He wanted to rest and then come back but he started training and didn't have the necessary time to devote on the discipline.

#5 – Shinhwa’s Hyesung

Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do

Rank: 4th Dan


Hyesung is the most soft-spoken in Shinhwa and that's why many are surprised that he is the one who has been practicing Tae Kwon Do since before they debuted. Junjin might be the athletic one but Hyesung is the real hard core one. He has stopped competing since he debuted but continues to practice.

One funny tale about him was related by another Shinhwa member, Kim Dong Wan. Dongwan stated that when Hyesung gets drunk, he does Tae Kwon Do kicks. He has also participated in a lot of charity works teaching kids Tae Kwon Do and other fundraising activities using his Tae Kwon Do skills.

#6 – 2PM’s Chansung

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Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do and Kendo

Rank: Tae Kwon Do 3rd Degree-Kendo 2nd Degree


Chansung didn't leave that much of a mark in Cool Kiz On The Block but that doesn't mean he has nothing to show. The kid has been practicing Tae Kwon Do for 9 years and Kendo for more than five years.

About Kendo

Kendo is the study of the sword. It is the modern version of an ancient Japanese sword martial arts Kenjutsu. Practitioners of Kendo are sometimes called Kenshin. Yes, that's where Samurai X got the inspiration for his name.

Kendo is one of the noisiest martial arts out there because aside from the noise that the sword (or sticks) are producing, they also shout and stomp their foot when they strike. They wear gears and armors to protect their body from getting hit.

The Kendo way, however, is not just about fighting using swords. It is about learning how to behave with utmost respect towards self and society and follow the royal legacy ancient Japanese fighters.

#7 - Lee Joong – MBLAQ

Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do

Rank: 3rd Dan


Leejoon has shared how his poverty led him to be even more determined in practicing martial arts and dance. Yes, he was practicing the martial arts and dance at the same time. He practiced everyday and since he had only one uniform, he had to wear his training clothes even before it hasn't completely dried up which caused it to smell. Others started avoiding him but it motivated him even more.

Well, it paid off.

#8 - CN Blue's Jonghyun

Martial Arts Discipline: Judo

Rank: 4th Dan


Jonghyun was a national champion in Judo when he was in high school. He also practices Tae Kwon Do

About Judo

Judo concentrates on subduing an enemy by pinning him, take down or sharp strikes. Competitive Judo, however, prohibits strikes and only allows take downs.

The main principle of Judo is the use of "softness" to beat "hardness". It means that Judo practitioners use the least amount of strength to take down and opponent. They do this by using the force of the opponent against them or by employing single sweep movement to take down and opponent and using strategic postures to keep him down.

#9 – EXO’s Tao

Martial Arts Discipline: Kung Fu and Wushu

Rank: 3rd Dan


Tao was introduced as Exo's martial arts member when they debuted. He has been practicing the art since he was in grade school. He has not stopped.

#10 – UKiss’ Eli

Martial Arts Discipline: Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu

Rank: 3rd Dan in Tae Kwon Do


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      Hi 9 months ago

      You forgot EXO's Baekhyun. He's a dan 3 in hapkido