Connect with us

Viral Stories

5 Actors Who Learned Martial Arts for a Movie



tom-hardy-warrior-martial-arts (1)

Thanks to the amazing Bruce Lee, there is a permanent intersection between martial arts and cinema. It is now standard practice that, when cast in action films, actors receive some form of training in order to showcase accurate technique in all different forms of martial arts. Whether it’s a film about martial arts like Ip Man, or it’s simply a killer action flick like John Wick, martial arts have woven their way into cinema, raising the expectations of audience members everywhere for the fight choreography to be not only precise but accurate as well.

It’s no secret that an actor’s physical abilities affect the roles that they are able to take on. It’s difficult to run for your life across a battlefield if you’re not really able to run in real life. Many martial artists like Donnie Yen, per Screen Rant, Jet Li, and, of course, Jackie Chan have taken their martial arts skills to the screen in order to not only showcase their skills, but to also help keep the grace of martial arts alive and keep people interested in the many fighting styles in existence. That being said, not every actor was born with a black belt and many needed to learn these skills in order to accurately portray them on-screen. Here are five actors who learned martial arts for a movie.

Download Button PNG File Download Free

Wesley Snipes is one of the original actors whose martial arts training shone on-screen. While Snipes has previous martial arts training in Shotokan karate and Hapkido from his childhood, the number of disciplines he’s learned has increased dramatically over the years, thanks to his participation in movies. Snipes has shown off his skills in a number of films, but learned even more for films like To Wong Foo, U.S. Marshals, and the iconic Blade franchise. His progressive training on action films has included things like capoeira, kung fu, and Brazilian jiu jitsu. As a result of all this training, Snipes has truly made a name for himself as one of the most talented actors with phenomenal martial arts skills.

Related: These Action Movie Stars Do Their Own Stunts (And Some Who Refuse To)

A veteran in the world of cinematic martial arts, Keanu Reeves has certainly earned his reputation as a Hollywood badass. First learning a variety of karate and kung-fu for The Matrix franchise, Reeves has continued his martial arts training over the years. Films that feature his skills include 47 Ronin, Constantine, and the massively popular John Wick franchise. Considering the fact that Reeves is in his late-50s, you would think that perhaps his martial arts training would be slowing down, but the opposite is true. In 2019, when it was announced that both The Matrix Resurrections and John Wick 4 were meant to be released in 2020, it was clear that Reeves was going to have his work cut out for him as he would be training and filming for two action films. While production for these films was delayed and separated due to the pandemic, Reeves still managed to train for the final installation of The Matrix while also preparing for John Wick 4.

Michael Jai White is an underrated actor/martial artist who is often overlooked for the bigger names like Reeves and Jason Statham. White’s martial arts resume is astounding, being a master of nine different styles of martial arts, blowing away most of his competition. This underrated actor has starred in dozens of action films, showcasing his skills in his first big appearance on-screen in the HBO film Tyson, playing the role of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, before going on to star in films like Exit Wounds alongside Steven Seagal and making a name for himself in films like Blood and Bone and Black Dynamite. White’s most recent film Welcome to Sudden Death debuted on Netflix in 2020 and was subject to a great deal of praise. The same age as Reeves, it’s clear that White shows no signs of slowing down his acting career or his martial arts training.

Related: Best Martial Arts Movies of the 90s, Ranked