The benefits of martial arts are undeniable. Many benefits such as confidence, continuous self-improvement, and unleashing your hidden warrior spirit undoubtedly make martial arts the activity of choice for many individuals, even celebrities.
With the constant need to stay fit and look good in front of the camera, as well as keeping a sound head on their shoulders, more and more celebrities are turning to martial arts as a means to stay healthy, physically and mentally.
Today, Evolve Daily reveals 14 Surprising Celebrities Who Train Martial Arts:
In the 2013 psychological thriller, Only God Forgives, Gosling plays an American criminal living in Bangkok. To prepare for his role, Gosling started Muay Thai, which included 2-3 hour sessions four times a week. To this day, Gosling still practices Muay Thai.
To prepare for his role in the comedy Here Comes The Boom where he plays a high school teacher turned MMA fighter, James enlisted the help of Mark DellaGrotte and Rafael Cordeiro of Kings MMA. James enjoyed training Muay Thai so much that he continued to practice Muay Thai even after the movie.
Probably the most well-known celebrity BJJ practitioner, O’Neill was awarded his BJJ black belt by Rorion Gracie in 2007. To date, O’ Neill has been training for over 20 years and considers getting his black belt “the greatest achievement of my life, apart from my children.”
A few years ago, Kutcher took social media by storm after receiving his purple belt a few months after being awarded his blue belt by coral belt Rigan Machado. Known to be a “big fight nerd”, Kutcher is often seen attending UFC and wrestling events.
After living a life of excess and virtually zero physical exercise, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain decided to start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at 56 years old. He remains a dedicated student at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York and has a blue belt.
Of course, the most highly ranked BJJ practitioner on this list had to be none other than Chuck Norris. At 75 years old and after 30 years of training BJJ, Chuck Norris finally received the rank of 3rd degree Black Belt by Prof. David Dunn under the endorsement of Professor Jean Jacques Machado.
When he’s not in front of the camera, actor Wesley Snipes trains martial arts at the USA Shaolin Temple. Snipes, who started training at 12 years old, continued training martial arts even as an actor. Today, he holds black belts in Shotokan karate and Hapkido. He has also started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Prof. Rigan Machado.
One of the latest actors to join the roster of BJJ celebrities, Johansson also trains with Rigan Machado. You can check out her BJJ moves in her role as the Black Widow in the latest installment of Iron Man.
To prepare for his role based on the life of real-life boxer Mickey Ward, Wahlberg not only moved the famous boxer into his home but also endured four years of intensive boxing training. Even after shooting the movie, Wahlberg still considers boxing to be the ultimate workout.
At the age of 9, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Liam Neeson began boxing at a club in Ireland. Eventually, he would go on to become Ulster’s amateur senior boxing champion. In fact, Neeson credits the discipline he’s learned from boxing as the reason for his success in Hollywood. “I know I got that determination from those early days of boxing,” said Neeson in an interview.
No one can doubt the extreme change in physique that Gyllenhaal developed while training for his role as a boxer in Southpaw. Thanks to his training with boxing coach Terry Claybon, Gyllenhaal gained 28 pounds of lean muscle and a newfound love for boxing.
In order to deal with being the new kid in school, 15-year-old Cruise joined the Glen Ridge High Wrestling Team, which helped him immensely. It was during this time that Cruise decided to audition for a lead in a school production; and as they say, the rest is history.
A victim of childhood bullying, Williams sought respect from his peers by joining the wrestling and track team in high school. In an interview, his wrestling coach, John Campbell, says that Williams was “scrawny but strong, ‘squirrelly’ and also very smart.”
The current president of Russia has more than a country to rule; apparently, he also rules the Judo mats! The video above has been circulating social media, proving what a badass the president of Russia is. Today, Putin holds a 6th Dan rank in Judo and is known for his mean Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw).
Whether it was simply preparing for a movie, as a way to keep fit or to fit in back in school, it seems that these celebrities are definitely die-hard martial arts fans. There’s no doubt that martial arts have changed their lives for the better; perhaps we could use their stories as inspiration to change ours.
So tell us, which celebrities surprised you the most?