Martial Artists

Martial artists are the individuals who practice any formal system of combat as a means of self-defense, for achieving better fitness and health or for mental and spiritual development. Martial artists also take part in competitions where they showcase their expertise in specific combat forms. The history of martial arts is an ancient one, various forms of martial arts originated in Egypt and China more than 4,000 years ago. In Europe, the earliest recorded account of martial arts originated in Greece. Even though martial arts have been around for centuries, it was only during the mid to late 19th century that they began to emerge as modern sports. Some of the most popular forms of martial arts are judo, karate, kendo, boxing and fencing. A true martial artist is a warrior who practices combat as an art. Martial artists need to possess a high degree of physical stamina and endurance along with mental agility, discipline, self-confidence and perseverance. A good martial artist is well aware of the history, traditions and values of the art he practices as they might be required to disseminate this knowledge to others. This section provides you information about the life and works of various famous martial artists from all over the world.

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 1 Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee.
30
Famous As: Actor, Martial Artist
Birthdate: November 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: July 20, 1973

An iconic actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee, in his short life, gained international fame and developed his own form of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do. In films, he debuted as a child actor and became a huge Hollywood star after the release of his last film Enter the Dragon.

 2 Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris.
20
Famous As: Martial artist
Birthdate: March 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ryan, Oklahoma, United States

A black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo, Chuck Norris is an American martial artist, screenwriter and a popular action film star. He has won many martial arts championships. He later founded his own discipline, Chun Kuk Do. He has also written books on martial arts, philosophy, politics, Christianity, plus Western novels and biography.

 3 Donnie Yen

Donnie Yen.
8
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Donnie Yen is a Hong Kong martial artist, actor, stuntman, action choreographer, director, and producer. He has won several wushu tournaments and is credited for introducing mixed martial arts to mainstream Asian cinema. He is also credited with introducing UFC champion Zhang Weili to MMA. Donnie Yen has won several awards like Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards.

 4 Yip Man

Yip Man.
10
Famous As: Martial Artist
Birthdate: October 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Foshan
Died: December 2, 1972

Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist best remembered for teaching martial arts to the famous Chinese American martial artist, Bruce Lee. Yip Man is credited with teaching not only Bruce Lee but also many other students who went on to become martial arts masters. A biographical martial arts film titled Ip Man was inspired by his life and career.

 5 Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins.
18
Famous As: Actor, Martial artist, Film actor, Taekwondo athlete
Birthdate: June 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sutton Coldfield

Scott Adkins is an English actor, producer, and screenwriter. He is a trained gymnast and martial artist and is best known for his action films. He played Casey Bowman in the film Ninja and its sequel Ninja: Shadow of a Tear. He considers Jean-Claude Van Damme to be his idol and has appeared in four films with him.  

 6 Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan.
10
Famous As: Actor, Martial Artist
Birthdate: April 7, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

Jackie Chan is a martial artist, actor, film director, screenwriter and singer and is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing and innovative stunts in his films, which he performs himself. Rumble in the Bronx, Shanghai Noon and Rush Hour are some of his popular Hollywood films. He has a widespread following in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

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 7 Randy Couture

Randy Couture
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Everett, Washington, United States

Randy Couture is a former U.S. Army sergeant and retired mixed martial artist. He currently works as an actor. He began his career as an army man and later turned to mixed martial arts. In this field, he was a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion. After quitting UFC, he became an actor and starred in the hit film The Hard Way. 

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 8 Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 5, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Surin, Thailand
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 9 Jet Li

Jet Li.
8
Famous As: Actor, Martial artist
Birthdate: April 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beijing, China

Jet Li is one of the most popular Asian actors to have made it big in the American film industry. A martial artist and former Wushu champion, he won a national championship before retiring from competitive Wushu to focus on his acting career. Also a well-known philanthropist, Jet Li is closely associated with the Red Cross Society of China.

 10 Chuck Liddell

Chuck Liddell
6
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: December 17, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Santa Barbara, California, United States

Chuck Liddell is a retired mixed martial artist. He participated in 23 fights in the UFC and is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He is widely credited with bringing MMA into mainstream American entertainment. He was featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine in 2007. He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2009. 

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 11 Matt Hughes

Matt Hughes
6
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: October 13, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hillsboro, Illinois, United States

Matt Hughes is a retired mixed martial artist widely considered one of the greatest fighters in the history of MMA. He is a two-time UFC Welterweight Champion. He is also counted among the greatest welterweight fighters of all time. His autobiography, Made in America, is a New York Times bestseller. He hosts the hunting program Trophy Hunters TV. 

 12 Bolo Yeung

Bolo Yeung
4
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: July 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
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 13 Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier
4
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: March 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lafayette, Louisiana, United States

Daniel Cormier is a retired professional mixed martial artist and amateur wrestler who is a former  King of the Cage Heavyweight Champion. He began wrestling while still in school and attended Colby Community College, where he continued to wrestle. He then turned professional and also ventured into mixed martial arts. He has also made a few media appearances. 

 14 Nate Diaz

Nate Diaz
6
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner
Birthdate: April 16, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stockton

Nate Diaz is an American mixed martial artist with experience of competing in several promotions, such as Strikeforce, World Extreme Cagefighting, and Pancrase. He is currently signed with the UFC and is tied with Joseph Edward Lauzon Jr. for the second-most bonus awards. In 2007, Nate Diaz took part in the fifth season of the reality TV series Ultimate Fighter.

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 15 Akshay Kumar

Akshay Kumar
12
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 9, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab, India

Akshay Kumar is one of the most popular and successful actors of Hindi cinema. He has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Awards, a National Film Award, and Padma Shri. Dubbed Indian Jackie Chan, Akshay Kumar is renowned for performing dangerous stunts in films.

 16 Michael Rooker

Michael Rooker.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jasper, Alabama, United States

Michael Rooker is an American actor. A black belt holder in Kyokushin style of karate, Michael Rooker often uses his martial arts skills to play his characters, such as Yondu Udonta in Guardians of the Galaxy, to perfection. He is also known for his performance in popular TV series like The Walking Dead.

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 17 Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi.
14
Famous As: Swordsman & Warrior
Birthdate: 1584 AD
Birthplace: Japan
Died: June 13, 1645

Miyamoto Musashi was a Japanese swordsman, writer, strategist, and philosopher. Widely regarded as a Kensei, Musashi became famous through his stories of bravery, which involves his undefeated streak of 61 duels. He is also credited with founding the Niten Ichi-ryū school of swordsmanship. His life has inspired several films, TV series, stage plays, and video games.

 18 Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen
6
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: April 3, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: West Linn, Oregon, United States

Chael Sonnen is a retired mixed martial artist. He is also a submission grappling promoter and mixed martial arts (MMA) analyst. He began his mixed martial arts career in 1997 and soon became a top contender in both the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He has also made a few film appearances. 

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 19 William Zabka

William Zabka
14
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 20, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

William Zabka is an actor best known for his role as Johnny Lawrence in the film The Karate Kid. He started attending California State University but quit before completing his degree. He began his acting career in the mid-1980s and established himself in Hollywood within a few years. He turned a producer with the short film Most in 2003.  

 20 Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock.
4
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: February 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States

Ken Shamrock is an American professional wrestler and retired mixed martial artist who promotes bare-knuckle boxing. He is widely considered an icon and pioneer of mixed martial arts (MMA), as well as one of the greatest fighters in MMA's history. As a professional wrestler, Ken Shamrock is credited with popularizing a submission hold called the ankle lock.

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 21 Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie.
4
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: December 12, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian MMA fighter Royce Gracie, part of the renowned Gracie family of mixed martial artists, won the UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 4 championships. He made the Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, popular, and holds the 7th degree red/black coral belt in the art.

 22 Quinton Jackson

Quinton Jackson
4
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: June 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Quinton Jackson is a mixed martial artist and former professional wrestler turned actor. He is famous for his eccentric personality traits and aggressive style of fighting. He is credited with making MMA a popular sport worldwide. As an actor, he has appeared in a few films, including Miss March and Bad Guys. He is a controversial person. 

 23 Kelvin Gastelum

Kelvin Gastelum
6
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: October 24, 1991
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Jose

Kelvin Gastelum is a professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the middleweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He began wrestling in high school and turned professional after college. He worked as a bail bondsman for some time while training in mixed martial arts. He received the World MMA Breakthrough Fighter of the Year Award in 2014. 

 24 José Aldo

José Aldo.
6
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: September 9, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manaus
MMA fighter José Aldo is best known for his UFC Featherweight Championship win in 2010, a title he defended seven times. In 2014, his win against Cad Mendes was termed the Fight of the Year by many organizations. By 2020, he was ranked 6th in the UFC Bantamweight rankings.

 25 Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme.
0
Famous As: Martial Artist & Actor
Birthdate: October 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium

Belgian actor,Jean-Claude Van Damme is best known for a string of martial arts films. He started his career as a karate fighter and competed in a number full-contact and semi-contact matches. Later he took up acting and became a star with the 1988 Hollywood film, Bloodsport. Cyborg, Lionheart, Double Impact and Universal Soldier are some of his notable films.

 26 Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem
6
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Kickboxer
Birthdate: May 17, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hounslow, England
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 27 Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Mark Dacascos is an actor, trained martial artist, and TV personality. He is proficient in the Wun Hop Kuen Do style of martial arts and has won several karate and kung fu championships. As an actor, he is best known for his role in the action-horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf. He is married to actress Julie Condra.  

 28 Iko Uwais

Iko Uwais
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jakarta, Indonesia
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 29 Chow Yun-Fat

Chow Yun-Fat
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 18, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lamma Island

 30 Shayna Baszler

Shayna Baszler.
4
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: August 8, 1980
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sioux Falls, United States

Shayna Baszler is an American WWE wrestler and former WWE women's tag team champion. Before signing with WWE, Baszler was a mixed martial artist. She served as an important spokesperson in a movement, which was initiated to create an athletic commission for combat sports in South Dakota. A multi-talented personality, Shayna Baszler is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

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 31 Steven Seagal

Steven Seagal.
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 10, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States

A multi-talented personality, Steven Seagal started his career as a martial artist; he is the first foreigner to run an aikido dojo in Japan. He then showcased his skills in many of his films. Also a skilled guitarist, Seagal has worked with legends like Stevie Wonder. A well-known animal rights activist and environmentalist, Seagal holds American, Russian, and Serbian citizenship.

 32 Tim Kennedy

Tim Kennedy
4
Birthdate: September 1, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Luis Obispo

Tim Kennedy is a retired mixed martial artist. He was a professional mixed martial artist from 2001 until 2016 and has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, and the WEC, among others. He also simultaneously served in the United States Army while fighting professionally and received a few military awards. He is a TV host, producer, and entrepreneur as well. 

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 33 Uriah Hall

Uriah Hall
4
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Karateka, Kickboxer
Birthdate: July 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Spanish Town

Uriah Hall is a Jamaican-American professional mixed martial artist who emerged as The Ultimate Fighter 17 Knockout of the Season. He currently fights in the middleweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and has previously been associated with Bellator MMA and Ring of Combat. Besides mixed martial arts, he has made a few media appearances. 

 34 Johnny Yong Bosch

Johnny Yong Bosch
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 6, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Johnny Yong Bosch is an American musician, singer, actor, and martial artist. He is best known for his appearance in the popular Power Rangers franchise where he has portrayed the first Green Turbo Ranger, the Green Zeo Ranger, and the second Black Power Ranger. Johnny Yong Bosch is also renowned for his voice-over work in films, video games, and anime. 

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 35 Dan Henderson

Dan Henderson
4
Famous As: Amateur wrestler, Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: August 24, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Downey, California, United States

Dan Henderson is a retired mixed martial artist, who last competed as a middleweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was the Rings: King of Kings 1999 Tournament Champion. He began his mixed martial arts career in 1997. At the time of his retirement in 2016, he was the oldest fighter on the UFC roster. 

 36 Carlos Condit

Carlos Condit
3
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Kickboxer
Birthdate: April 26, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Albuquerque

Carlos Condit is an American retired mixed martial artist. A former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion, Condit has also competed in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) where he was a Welterweight Champion. While competing in the UFC, Condit won five Fight of the Night awards. After retiring from MMA, Condit went on to establish many business ventures, such as a coffee shop. 

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 37 Michelle Waterson

Michelle Waterson
7
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: January 6, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aurora, Colorado, United States

Michelle Waterson is a mixed martial artist. A former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion, Waterson was the world's best women's atomweight fighter between 2013 and 2014. In 2013, she won the Atomweight of the Year award at the Women's MMA Awards. She competes in the UFC where she is ranked in the top 10 in the list of current UFC fighters.

 38 John Saxon

John Saxon.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 5, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 25, 2020

American actor and martial artist, John Saxon was best known for the film Enter the Dragon where he co-starred with the legendary Bruce Lee. The famous character actor of Western and horror films, in his extensive career spanning six decades, worked in more than 200 films and television shows including three Nightmare on Elm Street movies, The Appaloosa and Dynasty.

 39 Cung Le

Cung Le
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Cung Le is a Vietnamese-born American actor, retired kickboxer, Sanshou fighter, and mixed martial artist. He has competed in popular promotions, such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A former International Kickboxing World Champion in the Light Heavyweight division, Cung Le has an impressive record of 17–0 in kickboxing. He is also a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.

 40 Cat Zingano

Cat Zingano
7
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 1, 1982
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Broomfield

Mixed martial artist Cat Zingano, who currently represents Bellator MMA, is a world champion in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions and had begun training in martial arts at 12. A brown belt and a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, she also teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Thai, and wrestling.

 41 Benson Henderson

Benson Henderson
3
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: November 16, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Benson Henderson is an MMA fighter who has competed in promotions like WEC and UFC. A former UFC Lightweight Champion, Henderson currently competes for Bellator MMA in their Lightweight division. Henderson is also a former WEC Lightweight Champion. In 2012, he was named Fighter of the Year by ESPN. He also won Fighter of the Year Bazzie Award in 2012.

 42 Gina Carano

Gina Carano.
0
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: April 16, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dallas County, Texas

A former mixed martial artist, Gina Carano went on to become an actress; she uses her martial arts skills to perform stunts in popular action movies. Before becoming an actress, she was quite popular in the MMA scene, being termed the face of women's MMA. In 2008, she was named in a Top 10 Influential Women list.

 43 Brett Dier

Brett Dier.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada
Canadian actor Brett Dier is best known as Michael Cordero Jr. from the popular series Jane the Virgin. Fans also loved him in the Canadian series The L.A. Complex and Bomb Girls, and as C.B. in the sitcom Schooled. He has appeared in several TV movies, too.

 44 Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
3
Famous As: Actor, Film producer, Film actor, Television actor, Karateka
Birthdate: September 27, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Higashi-Azabu

Currently a Russian citizen, Japanese actor and martial artist Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa began his training in martial art while in junior school and acting while studying in Duarte High School, California, making his breakthrough as the Eunuch Chang in The Last Emperor. Thereafter he continued to appear in numerous productions, concurrently developing a new form of martial arts called Chun Shin

 45 Michael Bisping

Michael Bisping
22
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Kickboxer, Thai boxer
Birthdate: February 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nicosia, Cyprus

 46 Li Ching-Yuen

Li Ching-Yuen
3
Famous As: Herbalist
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Chongqing, China
Died: May 6, 1933

 47 Sammo Hung

Sammo Hung.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: British Hong Kong

Sammo Hung is a Hong Kong actor, filmmaker, and martial artist. He is best known for his work in martial arts films and played an important role in commencing the Hong Kong New Wave movement of the late-1970s and 1980s. He is also credited with helping many of his fellow actors establish themselves in the Hong Kong film industry.

 48 Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett
3
Famous As: Professional wrestler, Mixed martial artist, Thai boxer
Birthdate: November 10, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle

Josh Barnett is a mixed martial artist, submission grappler, and professional wrestler. He is currently signed to Bellator MMA. In the past, he was associated with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. As a wrestler, he made his in-ring debut in 2003. He calls himself a catch wrestler. 

 49 Bruce Buffer

Bruce Buffer
3
Famous As: Announcer, Kickboxer
Birthdate: May 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tulsa

Known for his popular catchphrase “It's time!," Bruce Buffer, the well-known MMA ring announcer, initially worked in the telemarketing industry. He and his half-brother, announcer Michael Buffer, whom Bruce had no clue about till he was an adult, now run The Buffer Partnership, a company to grow their brand value.

 50 Cub Swanson

Cub Swanson
3
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: November 2, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Palm Springs

Cub Swanson is a professional mixed martial artist, currently affiliated with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he competes in the Featherweight division. He has been awarded "Fight of the Night" honors ten times. Industry experts consider him to be one of the most entertaining MMA fighters of all time. He is married to model and TV host Kenda Perez. 

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