Written by: Josh Alonzo – February 6th, 2020, 11:50am pst
Martial Arts has had a significant role throughout human history. From preparing warriors both for combat and times of war to the earliest athletes training for the sport of competition, like the Ancient Olympic Games. From different cultural and regional origins, every Martial Art known in the world has its own traditions, techniques and philosophies. There are many reasons as to why people take up martial arts, from learning how to defend yourself to simply wanting to be more into fitness and meditation. Discipline and dedication are what it takes to progress in any Martial Art, even leading to some practitioners really delving into their respective artforms. Celebrities are no stranger to this, as we take a look at a few who take their love of martial arts to the next level…
That 70’s Show alumn Ashton Kutcher is no stranger to the art of grappling, beginning his foray into martial arts with mat wrestling in his youth back in Homestead, Iowa. A well-known fan of the UFC and other combat sports, Kutcher started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the early 2010s, under the tutelage of one of the most prominent BJJ practitioners around, Rigan Machado. And as of late 2019, Kutcher was promoted to Brown Belt, in which The Ranch star stated that he needed at least, “two-three weeks to get in shape first!” (https://www.attacktheback.com/ashton-kutcher-receives-bjj-brown-belt-from-rigan-machado/) Other notable students under Rigan Machado include; Vin Diesel, Wiz Khalifa and Sons of Anarchy star, Charlie Hunnam.
credit: Pandora Film Produktions
The Academy Award winner was a primetime athlete in his youth excelling in Football, so it is no surprise that he excels at another type of sport and meditation. He is actually a Black Belt in the Kenpo Karate System, as well as training in the Filipino Martial Arts of Eskrima and Kali (https://magazin.lufthansa.com/xx/en/people-en/forest-whitaker-apparently-im-not-a-very-good-driver/) under the tutelage of famed martial artist and former student of Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto. Whitaker showcases some of his movesets in films like Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) and Repo Men (2010).
credit: 20th century fox
Actor and funnyman, Jim Carrey, cannot only leave writhing on the floor from laughter but may potentially leave you writhing on the floor from pain as well. UFC Hall of Famer and former Middleweight champion, Rich Franklin confirmed that (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaYE-NfT03o) Jim Carrey is indeed a BJJ practitioner and is a student of fellow UFC Hall of Famer and member of the legendary Gracie family, Royce Gracie. Carrey even earned his Brown Belt under Gracie and has been training with him for 10 – 15 years.
credit: Yogalosophy/Maria Ingber
Have you ever watched “The One Where Rachel Can Kick Your Ass?” It’s unfortunately not a lost episode of Friends, however, it is reality! Although she does not focus on the combative aspect of martial arts, she is more in tune with the meditative aspect. Aniston trains what is known as Budokon or BDK. This style of yoga (http://budokon.com/what-is-yoga) encompasses the movement of calisthenics and martial arts and combines them with the synchronicity of yoga, creating a work designed to take strength, mobility, and stamina to the next level! Her Friends co-star Courtney Cox also trains in this style of yoga as well (https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/budokon).
credit: Warner Brothers
In order to take on the hordes of vampires and demons in the course of the series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sara Michelle-Gellar had to take up gymnastics, kickboxing and Taekwondo, even earning a black belt in the latter discipline (https://taekwondo.fandom.com/wiki/Sarah_Michelle_Gellar). With that experience, she performed a majority of her stunts (https://www.health.com/celebrities/sarah-gellar-buffy-20-years-workouts). Even her husband, actor Freddy Prinze Jr., is an avid martial arts practitioner with a blue belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu. Both even involve their children in various martial arts, making this one family you don’t want to mess with!
credit: Rener Gracie’s Twitter
Al Bundy might’ve taken up martial arts just in case his nemesis, “Spare Tire” Dixon, ever wanted his revenge! The Married…with Children and Modern Family star is actually a black belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under the tutelage of Rorion Gracie, one of the co-founders of the UFC. O’Neill’s journey started when he was (https://www.mixedmartialarts.com/vault/bjj/ed-oneill-what-its-like-to-train-at-the-gracie-academy) introduced to the Gracie Academy, in Torrance, CA, by writer/director John Milius. Continuously training for over 22 years, he is majorly respected within the BJJ community. Videos of him rolling are VERY hard to come by, but when they do pop up, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I8JiAJqUMc) they are a treat to behold!
So far, we have seen our celebrities just being mere students of various martial arts, however, now we have one who not only trains but has developed her own system!!!! Vikings star Katheryn Winnick started training in Martial Arts at the age of six and earned her black belt by 13 in Taekwondo and even earning a second black belt in Karate as well. Since the age of 16, (https://www.winkaiselfdefense.com/team) she developed her variation of Taekwondo known as WIN KAI, alongside her brother Adam. By the age of 21, she had opened up 3 schools and even traines with some of her female co-stars and teaches them self-defense techniques during the production of Vikings. (https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/04/katheryn-winnick-vikings)
About The Author:
Josh Alonzo is a writer and producer at AfterBuzz TV. He’s been a martial arts practitioner for 9 years and is a Black Belt in Karate, Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and an avid fan of combat sports.
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