Martial arts demand great dedication and discipline, but when mastered, they are absolutely worth the effort. Regular practice can help you shape a powerful body and a strong mind, while the beautifully surreal look and ancient Eastern roots lend a touch of mysticism, making them a favorite among health-conscious movie stars and common fitness enthusiasts alike. By the way, even President Roosevelt trained Jiu-Jitsu in order to lose weight prior to the election of 1904.
Although martial arts have been popular in Hollywood for a considerably long time now, we bet that you don’t really know which movie celebrities can kick your b**t without breaking a sweat – after all, we’re all more interested in their love affairs and bank accounts – so we’ve put up this list of 5 celebs whose experience and lethal skills will surprise you.
5. Sean Patrick Flanery
Flanery began his training in martial arts, more specifically Tae Kwon Do at the age of nine. However, upon discovering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2001, he fell in love with it and gave up all other arts. He spent his first three years at the Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Los Angeles, then continued his training at the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Manhattan.
He recieved his black belt from Renzo Gracie’s instructor Shawn Williams on May 4th of 2008. He’s been teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the Team Paragon Academy in Hollywood ever since.
4. Jim Carrey
Yes, Ace Ventura is actually a skilled Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, holding the rank of brown belt which typically represents between 5-10 years of regular practice. The brown belt is just one rank below the black belt, so it represents a rather high level of technical and practical skills.
Some claim that Carrey is training at Jorge Gurgel’s academy, but there are no official records. Either way, the surprisingly advanced skills of the comedian are well documented.
3. Guy Ritchie
Besides from being famous as the ex-husband of Madonna and an accomplished movie director and screenwriter, Guy Ritchie has some major talents to brag about, one of which is represented by a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He got it from Renzo Gracie, a legend in the world of martial arts, who said: “He spent eight years as a brown belt – training every day.
He is my favorite and no one has ever worked harder than Guy to get his black belt.” By the way, Ritchie has been training martial arts since the age of seven, a fact that confirms his life-long dedication to the arts.
2. James Edmund Caan
James Edmund Caan, best known for his portrayal of Sonny Corleone in the cult movie “The Godfather“ is an important name both in the realm of highly respected actors and the community of Gosoku Ryu Karate. He trained under the legendary Takayuki Kubota, the founder of the discipline and the president of the International Karate Association. His decades of hard work earned him the rank of 6th degree black belt and the prestigious title of Soke Dai by the International Karate Association.
Fun fact: he trained the Culver City Police Department in martial arts.
1. Steve McQueen
The famed American Rebel of the 60’s had a rather diverse and thrilling lifestyle filled with roles in some of the greatest movies of the era, fast cars, motorcycle stunts, boxing and martial arts. His toughness, dedication and impeccable work ethic at training Jeet Kune Do made him a favorite student of his teacher Bruce Lee, with whom he kept a close friendship as well. He also learned the martial art Tang Soo Do from ninth-degree black belt Pat E. Johnson, a very specific combination of Karate and Kung Fu. Although the primary motivation of McQueen for maintaining his body in great shape was connected with his passion for extreme sports that required a lot of strength and endurance, he eventually became a very skilled martial artists and enjoyed his trainings.
In the words of Bruce Lee: “Steve would be damned good if he could work out more, but the sonovagun never stays home“.