Not all celebrities are just pretty faces on a screen - some of them could likely beat you in a fight as well! Here are some iconic celebrities who have been practicing martial arts for years; We don't want to mess with them!
It may shock you, but this former Disney star is also secretly skilled in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, a popular martial art focused on self-defense. Demi has been training in the complex sport since 2016, proving they are force to be reckoned with.
In 2017 Demi posted to her Instagram to share some of her athletic success, saying, "I'm so beyond excited because I just received my blue belt in #brazilianjiujitsu!!!! I fell in love with #BJJ over a year ago and have been training several times a week ever since." And Demi isn't the only celebrity who loves this sport.
Ever since high school, Ashton Kutcher has been a fan of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, practicing for decades now! He first tried wrestling as a hobby but opted for the most exotic martial art instead. Over the years, he has earned a purple belt, which he attributes to training with Rigan Machado, a famous instructor.
Rigan believes these early years of training made it so easy for Ashton to progress in the sport. He claimed that the actor is the best' starter' he's ever trained, even inviting him to compete in an event, saying, "If he decides to compete, he will do good."
As a well-known supermodel and former Victoria's Secret icon, it's no surprise Adriana Lima wants to keep as physically fit as possible. And one of her secrets? MMA boxing. "I'm a big fan of boxing," she told Haute Living during an interview. "I used to live in New York, and I knew someone there who introduced me to the sport."
She credits her trainer for the success and satisfaction she has found in the sport. "I fell in love with the 5th St. Gym and with Dino. He's an incredible coach," she said. "I've been here for almost nine years, and there wasn't one single day that I've seen him in a bad mood."
In an interview with Bleacher Report, rapper Wiz Khalifa spoke about his experience as an MMA enthusiast and the story of why he took up the sport. "My cousins train jiu-jitsu and stand-up as well," he shared. "I just got tired of getting whooped, so I figured I would learn how to fight."
He explained that the "whoopings" occurred on his tour bus, at home, and backstage at his concerts when he and his cousins would play-fight with each other. He eventually took up MMA to win their family tiffs and even gained 35 pounds of muscle through his training.
Robert Downey Jr.
Since 2003, Robert Downey Jr. has been fighting some of his struggles with impulse and self-control by practicing Wing Chun Kung Fu. "Wing Chun teaches you what to concentrate on," The actor star told Men's Journal. "Whether you're here or out in the world dealing with problems. It's second nature for me now."
His first serious efforts at martial arts were with the grandmaster of Wing Chun, Eric Oram. "When he first came to me, insurance companies wouldn't bond him for movies; he couldn't get roles," Oram said in an interview. "He has committed himself to Wing Chun and turned his life around."
YouTube star Logan Paul made waves with his debut MMA match against fellow vlogger Olajide William Olatunji (also known as KSI) in 2019. But according to Boxrec, he had been training long before the match. Sadly he lost the fight, but he seems to have established a fiercer reputation since.
But despite the loss, Logan's passion for MMA hasn't been affected. He described boxing as "by far the best thing that has happened to me" on his YouTube channel. His training regimen is less strict nowadays, but he has certainly made it clear that he knows how to work the ring.
While acting in the MMA-UFC-themed comedy film Here Comes The Boom in 2012, Kevin James learned the ins and outs of MMA fighting for his role. Though the film didn’t make many Hollywood waves, it didn’t stop James from further pursuing his love for the sport.
Since then, he's been practicing MMA fighting sporadically, something he revealed in an interview with podcaster and co-star Joe Rogan. Like other celebrities on this list, James attributes a lot of stress relief to his practice and passion for MMA. It's easy to see why he enjoys it so much!
You may only know of Khloé Kardashian for her reality tv antics and work as a brand ambassador, but she certainly isn’t a star you want to mess with! She revealed to her fans in YouTube videos that she has been doing MMA training with celebrity coach Gunnar Peterson.
It makes sense, as Khloé is such a fitness fanatic that she even has her own fitness brand, Khlo-Fit. It was actually featured in the video where she talks about MMA! When she’s not practicing her MMA form, she runs her business and designs new clothing for fellow fitness connoisseurs.
Considering that he plays a literal god in his most famous role, Thor star Chris Hemsworth has had to find various ways to keep himself in shape. One of his favorite workout routines involves an interesting mix of boxing and MMA sparring, which he shared with his fans on YouTube.
But MMA isn't Hemsworth's only martial arts passion - he's also a big fan of Muay Thai and has trained extensively in this demanding sport. This may be why his YouTube channel has become so popular, though this is likely also due to his Thor Workout videos.
Former Fear Factor host and podcaster Joe Rogan considers martial arts a fundamental part of his life, mainly because of its meditative properties. "I see martial arts as moving forms of meditation," he told Men's Journal. "When you're sparring or drilling techniques, you can't think of anything else."
In the same interview, he discussed how martial arts is intimately involved with his personal philosophy. "Human beings still have the same genes they had 10,000 years ago. Our bodies are designed to have a certain amount of physical stress and violence in them," Joe explained.
The martial arts movie Jiu-Jitsu was released in November 2020, and it’s safe to say that the film is chock-full of exhilarating stunts and action scenes. So it’s no wonder that many fans have begun to wonder if the star of the film, Nicolas Cage, indulges in martial arts himself.
As it turns out, getting into a workout routine and filming scenes for Jiu-Jitsu was a piece of cake for Cage, as he's apparently had a passion for martial arts for some time. In fact, this was why he took the role; It was certainly a convenient way to mix business with pleasure!
It takes a lot to be a real-life Superman, as shown by Henry Cavill's intensive workout routine. He reportedly practices Jiu-Jitsu every day, telling Men's Journal, "I've done a little bit of boxing, but for me, the martial art I do the most is Jiu-Jitsu."
He also mentioned his working relationship with renowned instructor Roger Gracie. And according to Henry, Jiu-Jitsu is an all-consuming sport. "When you're doing Jiu-Jitsu, you can't think of anything but Jiu-Jitsu," he continued. "You have to focus fully on it, or someone chokes you out."
Gal Godot has proven she's not just a formidable woman on screen, but in real life too! The Wonder Woman lead has talked about her martial arts prowess and military past on The Late Late Show With James Corden, telling the host, "I'm Israeli; We go to the military. We know Krav Maga and everything."
This may be why she has slipped so easily into action roles and superhero movies. She explained that she has been practicing Krav Maga for years for self-defense and fitness purposes and even showed some of her moves on another late-night show, CONAN.
At the tender age of 11, actor Jaden Smith starred in the remake of Karate Kid. Not only did he have to train hard to land convincing blows, but he also had to learn how to avoid getting hit! "You also have to block. If you don't block the hit, you're going to get hit in the face," he said in an interview.
As it turns out, he wasn’t the biggest fan of martial arts back in those days. He may have been too young to understand it but said he came around to it as he got older. In an interview with NY Daily News, Karate Kid co-star Jackie Chan even joked that Jaden was more proficient in Kung Fu than his own son!
Guy Ritchie earned his respect as a martial artist under the tutelage of renowned Jiu-Jitsu instructor Renzo Gracie. He began practicing Jiu-Jitsu daily at age 39 and eventually earned his black belt. According to GracieMag, the filmmaker was surprised when his coach presented him with the belt at a film launch party.
Ritchie's love of Jiu-Jitsu began in the early 2000s, when he trained with Maurição Gomes in England, eventually moving on to train with Gomes' son Roger Gracie. His famous ex-wife Madonna even said that Ritchie was "obsessed with Jiu-Jitsu, and he would spend hours rolling in his homemade mat area."
Another rapper who became enamored with martial arts is Lupe Fiasco, who has been practicing since he was young. In an interview with Methodshop in 2008, he said he has “a black belt in karate, two black belts in styles of a samurai sword, kendo and aikido and the equivalent of a black belt in Chinese WuShu”
His passion for these arts hasn’t faded at all, it seems, considering he often shares videos and updates of his martial art skills on Instagram. He’s particularly fond of sharing his Aikido moves, and his movements are always impressively precise and graceful.
Actor Taimak was introduced to martial arts at only 6-years-old, something that would undoubtedly come in handy for future film roles such as The Last Dragon. In an interview with Martialforce.com, he explored his passion for Kung Fu and admitted that his father and Bruce Lee were his biggest influences.
Taimak began training so young that, according to him, he has been practicing for as long as he can remember. He's proud of his legacy of Kung Fu and action films, saying, "I'm happy because it seems that martial arts have become as popular as dance, boxing, and other disciplines."
Michael Jai White
Another early adopter of martial arts, Michael Jai White, began his Jiu-Jitsu training at 7-years-old. Since then, he has leaped headfirst into the world of martial arts, training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kyokushin Karate, Shotokan Karate, Taekwondo, and more.
He once famously tweeted that he uses his martial arts training to "prepare him to defeat any fighter in the world." This has sparked some backlash in the MMA and UFC communities, with UFC fighter Mike Perry stepping up to the bat multiple times as a potential challenger.
Considering his incredible body transformations in movies like Venom, The Dark Knight Rises, and Bronson, it seems obvious that Tom Hardy would have a lot of martial arts experience. He has a regular workout routine that involves martial arts, boxing, and Jiu-Jitsu, and even trains with pro fighters like Nathan Jones.
He clearly loves what he does, regularly taking to social media to share posts featuring himself and his training buddies. Hardy does the same thing with his workout routines, giving fans an intimate glimpse into his everyday life, and we are loving it!
Jackie Chan is one of the last people in Hollywood that you would want to mess with - the star has appeared in over 150 action films over his career and is one of the most iconic martial artists in popular entertainment. And he definitely wasn’t just acting. Chan is well-versed in WuShu, Kung FU, and Hapkido.
Jackie Chan is one of the rare Hollywood actors who performs many of his own stunts- in fact, he played a stuntman in two Bruce Lee films, Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon. If he can double for Bruce Lee, that says more about his martial arts pedigree than almost anything else.
Disney queen Brenda Song didn't take to martial arts as quickly as other celebs on this list. As a young girl, she and her brother practiced Tae Kwon Do even though she wanted to learn ballet instead. "My mom only wanted to take us to one place, so we ended up choosing Tae Kwon Do," she told Mochi magazine.
She was so uninspired by the sport that she "cried all the way to her first lessons." Thankfully, these days she is grateful that she learned the skill so young and even admitted to holding a black belt! Brenda may be small, but she can definitely hold her own.
This one may surprise you, but glamorous supermodel Gigi Hadid has revealed that she practices MMA boxing daily to keep her body in shape for the runway. She has even taken to social media to share her workouts with fans and has revealed that boxing makes her “feel strong.”
She certainly has a life that many would drool over after posing for Victoria’s Secret and modeling the clothes of world-class designers like Fendi and Versace. It seems almost too good to be true that she can hold her own in the ring as well. There’s no doubt she has skills both in front of and behind the camera!
This well-established actor and voice actor has been training in martial arts practice since he was a young boy. Storm’s mother wanted to keep him occupied and felt the best way to do that was through martial arts lessons. Since then, he has studied Arashi-Ryu Karate, Taekwondo, Ninjutsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and more.
But his passions haven’t just put him on a path to easy self-defense - they also helped him become skilled in hip hop and break-dancing. And all of these talents have led him to the career he has today as a respected stunt-man and motion-capture artist.
Chuck Norris’ fighting skills aren’t just meme material - they’re a reality! Norris has been training in martial arts since he was young and has earned black belts in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo over the years. He even went on to found his own martial arts discipline called Chun Kuk Do.
In fact, it was Norris’ extensive martial arts abilities that helped to land him roles in Hollywood, where he eventually found mainstream success. He even went on to train other celebrities and appeared alongside martial arts legend Bruce Lee at one point!
Katheryn Winnick got her start in martial arts training as a 7-year old and earned her first black belt in Tae Kwon Do at just 13-years-old! From that point on, she devoted her life to the practice, founding three Taekwondo schools at just 21-years-old.
Though she is more focused on her acting these days, the Vikings star still keeps a regular martial arts routine and even trains other actors and celebrities. "I have a strong need to teach women self-defense," she told Entertainment Tonight. She firmly believes that martial arts aren’t for showing off - they can save lives.
Ever since his role in The Matrix trilogy, Keanu Reeves has been frequently associated with fascinating stunts and action scenes. And this has only continued with the popular John Wick franchise. After a video was released of his training on set, Keanu has delighted fans with the news that he is studying martial arts.
"For me, it's a pleasure, but it's also pressure. You have got to be the best to be part of the vision," Reeves said during the video. He is entirely devoted to the practice and has stated that he'll continue training daily even after the film wraps. Now that's dedication!
Another world-famous supermodel who decided to explore the world of martial arts, Gisele Bündchen, practiced both Tai Chi and Kung Fu when moving to Boston. In an interview with Vogue, she said that she even practiced while pregnant! "I did Kung Fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was born," she said.
"She wants it every day," her teacher, Yao Li, who works at the Boston Kung Fu Tai Chi Institute, told Vanity Fair. She quoted Gisele's description of Tai Chi as "moving meditation," something she also practices daily. A mother-of-two and a dedicated martial artist is nothing to sniff at!
Lucy Liu was introduced to martial arts at a young age, which shows in her role in the Kill Bill franchise. She trained explicitly in Kali-Eskrima-Silat, a weapons-based martial art that employs items such as knives, blades, and sticks. Now that's impressive!
"If somebody is confrontational or rude, it makes me more confident," Liu said in an interview with Jane Magazine when asked about her martial arts training. "It gives you an inner strength, and that's what martial arts should be; it should come from inside." She also mentioned that practice is still part of her daily routine.
Most fans of the Blade franchise were familiar with Wesley Snipes' moves. The prolific actor and fighter spoke with Black Belt TV at a film premiere and shared some thoughts about fighting. And according to Wesley, he owed a great deal of his expertise to the legendary Grand Master Steve Muhammad.
"He actually taught me the mathematical system of fighting," Wesley explained. And the Grand Master's influence could be found throughout Blade's many fight scenes. Wesley went on to explain that he combined a total of nine different fighting styles in the movie. Safe to say you don't want to get on this guy's bad side…
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Martial Arts has been a part of Jean-Claude Van Damme's life since his childhood. According to IMDb, the Belgium-native began classes at the age of 12, and began his fighting career at the age of 16. It was his passion for being a top competitor that brought him to the United States in 1979.
Van Damme's fighting career came to an end, and thanks to some help from Chuck Norris, he got his Hollywood break in the 1984 film Missing in Action. Looking back on his career, Van Damme admits that he made it in the industry by "selling [his] legs" and lethal kicks.
With nicknames including Lord Steven and The Master of Aikido, it's pretty clear that Steven is both a legend in front of the camera and in the dojo. The 69-year-old actor got his martial arts start at the age of seven, according to IMDb, and his talents took him to Japan and beyond.
And they also landed him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seagal got his start as a stuntman before landing big titles in films like Hard to Kill and On Deadly Ground. A life of action was the perfect fit for Seagal, who said in a 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Times that he "really wanted to be a warrior."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., was just 21 years old when a new sport was introduced into his life. The NBA player was just getting his start with the Milwaukee Bucks when he met Bruce Lee. And from there, everything changed.
Abdul-Jabbar developed a love for martial arts, and even showed his skills on-camera in Game of Death. Looking back, Kareem had major appreciation for Lee's mentorship. "His teachings, both in his studio and by his example, have stayed with me for the rest of my life," he shared.
With or without any fighting training, Dwayne's sheer size alone could land him a spot on our list. But, in addition to being ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid actor, Dwayne can also throw a mean body slam. As many fans already know, he got his start in the ring long before Hollywood came knocking.
But fighting was in Johnson's genes from the beginning. He came from a long family line of wrestlers and fulfilled his destiny by climbing the ranks of the WWE. He eventually gained the nickname The People's Champion after pulling in so many titles - but that 260 lbs build sure helped...
Way before his days as Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dave Bautista was wreaking havoc on his opponents in the ring. He dominated in the WWE throughout his on-again-off-again career and even took his fighting skills to a different discipline altogether: Mixed Martial Arts.
Bautista trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well, apparently climbing to the rank of a purple belt. But his career had a short run in comparison to the WWE. But when Dave finally got his shot at Hollywood, everything else faded to the back: "It [was] a break of a lifetime," he said back in 2013.
Despite having made a name for herself as a model and actress, the Canadian-born Shay Mitchell wants us all to know one specific fact about her: "Everyone has SOMETHING that gets them out of bed every day. My reason involves two gloves and a punching bag. My workouts are my therapy."
The 34-year-old has been very vocal about her love of intense boxing workouts. Back in 2018, she released a self-narrated video, Working Out With The Voice In My Head, which narrated Mitchell as she put herself through her grueling workout regiment. "I would rather punch, or kick, or pound something," she shared.
Based on this picture, we're betting that Karlie Kloss's kicks are just as fierce as her runway walks. The legendary model has graced nearly every catwalk under the sun, but also devotes a fair amount of time to the Dogpound, a boxing gym located in New York City.
And according to Karlie's personal trainer, Anna Kaiser, Kloss is about as determined as they come. "Karlie is an incredible client because she's always with you 150%," Kaiser praised. Safe to say that all that commitment has led to some fierce kicks. We wouldn't recommend getting on this model's bad side…
With an Oscar win for Best Actress under her belt, it's safe to say that Halle Berry is willing to go all the way for her role. Even if that means becoming a trained fighter for a movie. But in preparation for her 2020 film Bruised, Berry did just that.
According to the TIFF's film synopsis, the 54-year-old actress played a "former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career." It may have started as something for her role, but Berry now claims that MMA is her "favorite way to stay fit."
Known as one of Hollywood's go-to heist men, it's not much of a shock that Jason Statham has picked up a few moves here and there from his time on-set. But Statham has turned these movie stunts into a passion. "Martial art or discipline of that nature actually breeds a bit of peace," he shared at a Reel Talk interview.
That's right: Despite playing tough guys on-screen, Statham's love of martial arts is more therapeutic than violent. "Any of the guys that have a certain skill within that fighting world, whether it be judo, kickboxing, Thai boxing, jiu-jitsu - They're very peaceful people."