Sunt doubles who? Some of these Hollywood icons can kick butt in whatever role they play on and off the screen. From Black Belts to MMA fighting, here's a list of celebrities who are trained in martial arts.
It is not only Demi Lovato’s voice that carries a lot of power. The 5”2 singer is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a combat sport that focuses on grappling. She took up the martial art in 2016 after falling in love with MMA fighting.
According to the starlet's previous instructor, Jiu-Jitsu champion Danielle Martin, Lovato has a natural instinct as a fighter and easily picks up new skills. While chatting with Joe Rogan on his podcast, the Dancing with the Devil singer said that she finds the art meditative and that it helps her feel balanced.
Ashton Kutcher has a reputation of being rather chilled, but don’t get on the wrong side of the Two and a Half Men star as he has been training in martial arts since his schooldays. Ashton’s background in high school wrestling led him to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the actor now has a brown belt in the sport.
Some had questioned whether Kutcher's trainer, Rigan Machado, went easy on the Hollywood icon, but that all changed when footage of Ashton fighting made it to YouTube. The 43-year-old held his own against BJJ champion, Craig Jones, confirming that his brown belt was well-earned.
Celebrated supermodel Adriana Lima knows how to rock the catwalk and hit the punching bag. The 39-year-old is a lover of MMA boxing and has credited the sport with keeping her feeling good and in shape to strut in those stunning Victoria Secret shows.
Adriana has been dedicated to the art for a number of years and has earned high praise from those in the biz. In 2017, UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk shared her belief that the Brazilian model could take on any other UFC girl in the ring. It seems like if Lima ever tires of modeling, she could embark on a whole new career.
Wiz Khalifa may have a song called Black and Yellow, but we have a feeling he’s left a few of his MMA opponents black and blue. The award-winning rapper first started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2017, guided by renowned celebrity trainer Rigan Machado.
However, BJJ was not enough for Wiz, and he soon moved on to MMA after discovering Los Angeles’ famous Unbreakable Gym. “My cousins train Jiu-Jitsu and I just got tired of getting whooped, so I figured I would learn how to fight,” Khalifa told the Bleacher Report. Fans have suggested his MMA alias be “Wiz Kicklifa” or “Kicc Fil A.”
Robert Downey Jr.
Tony Stark spent millions to build his Iron Man suit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but off-screen Robert Downey Jr. relies on his Wing Chun Kung Fu skills for protection. The Chinese style of self-defense uses quick arm movements and strong legs to defeat opponents, and Downey has practiced the art since the early 2000s.
A key element of Wing Chun is remaining relaxed while fighting. The Avengers: Endgame actor has acknowledged the practice helped him recover from alcohol and drug addiction. “He has committed himself to Wing Chun and turned his life around,” noted grandmaster Eric Oram who introduced RDJ to the practice.
Logan Paul’s profession as a YouTube star is what led him to his side hustle in boxing. The content creator has always been on the fit side, having been a linebacker in high school football. But Logan's entry into professional sport became official in 2019 when he took on fellow YouTuber KSI in an amateur boxing match.
The showdown was labeled "the biggest event in internet history," and over 2.25 million people tuned in to watch live. It ended in a majority draw, leading to a rematch in which KSI claimed a split-decision victory. It didn't get Logan down, though, as he lined up a fight against featherweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr next.
The King of Queens star went from funny husband to wrestler for the 2012 film Here Comes the Boom. Kevin co-wrote the movie in which he starred as a biology teacher who takes up professional MMA fighting — albeit with the intention of losing to earn money.
The film was inspired by James's personal love of MMA, telling The Palm Beach Post that he has been a fan of the sport since it originated in 1993. In order to make the fighting as realistic as possible, the now-55-year-old worked out for 14 months, completely changed his diet, and committed to training three times a day.
The only thing fiercer than Khloé Kardashian’s contour skills is the starlet's ability to kick butt. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians icon holds no punches (ahem) when it comes to her fitness regime and showed fans exactly how it's done on her own reality series called Revenge Body.
“Khloe’s work ethic is second to none. There’s no such thing as quit in her world,” claims her trainer Gunnar Peterson. With a routine involving deadlifts, push-ups, and jumping jacks, it’s no wonder this Kardashian said she could take down her older sister Kourtney in a fight on KUWTK's 18th season.
Hollywood producers didn't pick just anyone to play Thor, God of Thunder. It is nearly impossible to imagine someone other than Chris Hemsworth in the role of the mythical Norse god. The Aussie actor had to bulk up and cut down to embody the Marvel character, and he did so through MMA.
Chris is quite good at sparring, as evidenced in the training videos that he's uploaded to Instagram. Demonstrating excellent jabbing skills, the Avengers: Endgame actor put up a mean fight against his trainer, Luke Zocchi, and has even earned praise from UFC professionals like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Max Holloway.
Although Joe Rogan began his career as a comedian, it truly took off when he became a UFC commentator in 1997. It was a full-circle move for the New Jersey native who had developed an interest in martial arts as a teenager, claiming that it gave him confidence and “hope that I wasn't going to be a loser.”
At age 19, Joe won the US Open Championship Taekwondo tournament as a lightweight but retired from all competition two years later due to frequent headaches. Rogan's knowledge of being in the ring helped the Fear Factor host during his commentating career, and he still interviews MMA fighters on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Nicolas Cage’s latest movie might not have gotten the best reviews, but the same cannot be said for his martial art skills. In Jiu-Jitsu, the screen legend plays a wizened Jiu-Jitsu fighter who helps the lead protagonist save earth from a race of aliens. Cage did around 80% of his own stunts on the film.
It is hardly surprising considering that the Ghost Rider actor has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has been training with BJJ legend Royce Gracie for years. “He immediately wanted to work with the stunt team and get right into the physicality,” said the film's director Dimitri Logothetis.
Henry Cavill has a habit of choosing physically demanding roles that require him to be in great shape. In order to achieve that, The Witcher star turns to his love of Jiu-Jitsu. “I’ve done a little bit of boxing, but for me, the martial art I do the most is Jiu-Jitsu,” he stated.
Henry does not hold back when it comes to training. His instructor is the famed Brazilian master, Roger Gracie, and Cavill has posted photos with him on IG. “Jiu-Jitsu has a way of kicking your arse and making you love it for the lessons you learned!” the star wrote on the ‘gram. Sounds like tough love!
When casting someone in Wonder Woman's role, Warner Bros. decided to go with an actress who could fight baddies on and off the screen. Gal Gadot was trained in the art of combat for several years and nearly became a pro in self-defense-style martial arts.
“I'm Israeli; we go to the military. We know Krav Maga and everything,” she quipped while on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Just in case anyone thought the starlet was joking, she demonstrated her fierce Krav Maga skills for Conan O’Brien. Unfortunately for the television host, he came off second-best.
At the tender age of 11, Jaden Smith was taking on opponents in the remake of The Karate Kid. Despite the title, the film doesn’t actually feature Karate at all. Jaden spent hours learning the martial art of Kung Fu, and cast members actually referred to the movie as The Kung Fu Kid.
“It’s fun, but it’s very hard work,” said Smith of the training. The now-22-year-old starred opposite Jackie Chan in the film, and the renowned martial artist was impressed with his young co-star. “He put my son to shame! In just two months, Jaden had learned so much. He is truly a talented boy,” Chan shared.
Guy Ritchie’s love affair with martial arts began at the age of 7 when he started learning Shotokan Karate. Over the years, he has achieved the highest accolade in both Shotokan and Judo by earning his black belt. Ritchie also has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Talk about lock, stock, and two smoking barrels!
The Sherlock Holmes director credits his BJJ training with Roger Gracie for teaching him humility and respect. “Jiu-Jitsu becomes a way of life; it influences and affects every part of what you do, right the way through to the way you make decisions and the way you view things,” Guy said.
Contrary to his name, Lupe Fiasco’s martial art abilities couldn’t be further from a fiasco. The “Superstar” rapper finds his zen through practicing Karate, Kendo, and Kikido, which are forms of Samurai sword fighting, and Chinese Wushu. Did we mention that he holds a black belt in all?
Lupe takes his practice so seriously that the Chicago artist even traveled to China to train with masters at a Shaolin Temple. The experience was part of his 2019 documentary series, Beat N’ Path, which explores the culture of martial arts and pays tribute to his father who practiced for over four decades.
Taimak has much in common with the character he played in the 1985 film, The Last Dragon. Both the actor and Leroy Green idolize martial arts icon Bruce Lee, and both are highly skilled in the craft. Taimak first began training at the age of 6 and won his first kickboxing title at 18.
Taimak’s list of achievements now includes black belts in Goju Ryu Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, Hapkido, Jujutsu, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “If you’re really passionate and enthusiastic about what you’re doing, that’s the way to live a really inspiring and fulfilling life,” he claims.
Michael Jai White
No martial art style seems to be too much for Michael Jai White. Having begun his journey with the craft at the age of 7, the 53-year-old actor is now trained in Jujutsu, Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Taekwondo, Kobudō, Tang Soo Do, Wushu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Kyokushin. Phew!
Michael has also incorporated extensive training into his acting career, famously starring in Mortal Kombat: Legacy and portraying a major comic book superhero on screen in Spawn. The New Yorker also took up boxing to embody Mike Tyson in the 1996 HBO movie Tyson.
In 2011, Tom Hardy showed off his MMA abilities when he starred in the Oscar-nominated film Warrior as a former US marine who competes in MMA tournaments. The role demanded intense training in various forms of martial arts — something which Tom continued to do when getting in shape for future roles.
The Venom star trained five times a week (sometimes twice a day!) with pro-MMA fighters Nathan Jones and Dan “Villi” Edwards to get into top shape for the Marvel flick. Tom’s Jiu-Jitsu practice has also led him to become an ambassador for the Royal Marines Jiu-Jitsu Foundation.
We cannot have a list of celebrity martial artists without including Jackie Chan. Having performed in more than 150 action movies, it’s easy to see why the Hong Kong actor is regarded as a legend. Jackie has a reputation for performing his own stunts and holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Stunts by a Living Actor.”
The Rush Hour actor is trained in Kung Fu, Hapkido, Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, and Jeet Kune Do. Over the years, Jackie has accumulated a list of injuries, including dislocating his pelvis and breaking his fingers, toes, nose, both cheekbones, hips, sternum, neck, ankle, and ribs. Ouch!
This Disney star holds a black belt in Taekwando, but she may never have achieved the title if it wasn’t for her mother. The star's mom enrolled Brenda in Taekwando classes as her brother wanted to attend, and Mrs. Song did not want to make an extra trip to Brenda’s preferred interest — ballet.
It all paid off in the end as The Suite Life of Zack and Cody actress has managed to even use her martial arts training on screen. In 2006, Brenda starred in the titular role in Disney’s Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior as a high school student who needs to use her fighting skills to save the world.
Gigi Hadid's skills go beyond the catwalk — she also packs quite a punch. Boxing is an important part of the supermodel’s fitness routine and she trains daily to get in shape for those runways. Her trainer is Rob Piela who owns Gotham Gym in New York City and the pair work out via FaceTime when Gigi is not in town.
Hadid showed off her boxing skills for Vogue, telling the publication that she forgets that it's a workout once in the ring. “Gigi is a hard worker,” says Piela. The 25-year-old likely used boxing to get ready for the runway after giving birth to her and Zayn Malik’s daughter in September 2020.
You may not recognize T.J. Storm’s face, but you’re likely familiar with his martial art skills. The Hawaiian native has built a Hollywood career as an impressive stuntman and has given motion-capture performances in Tron: Legacy, Captain America: Civil War, and Deadpool.
T.J.’s martial arts journey began when his mother wanted to keep him occupied as a child. The result was training in Arashi-Ryu Karate, Taekwondo, Ninjutsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Northern Shaolin. Even the actor’s name is martial arts-inspired: born Juan Ricardo Ojeda, “Storm” comes from a Karate style he practices.
All those Chuck Norris jokes hold weight because the Oklahoma actor is not one to mess with. Not only does the Walker, Texas Ranger star possess black belts in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo, he also developed his own fighting styles: Chun Kuk Do (now known as the Chuck Norris System) and American Tang Soo Do.
A friend of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Chuck starred alongside him in Lee’s self-directed film, Way of the Dragon. Norris's fighting skills also extend to teaching, and he has trained many Hollywood celebrities in martial arts. The actor also established the United Fighting Arts Federation, which has almost 4,000 members.
When Katheryn Winnick isn’t playing a Norse shield-maiden in the series Vikings, the Canadian actress hones her skills as a martial arts aficionado. Katheryn earned her first black belt at age 13 — only six years after she began training as a little kid.
Taekwando proved to be a great love for the 43-year-old as she established three schools in the discipline by the age of 21. Katheryn also taught the art to fellow actors while completing her degree in Kinesiology, saying she felt a strong need to train women in self-defense. Talk about a tough (and smart) cookie!
Often regarded as one of the nicest celebs in Hollywood, it’s still a good idea not to get on Keanu Reeves’ bad side as he is trained to kill! For his role in The Matrix series, Keanu underwent training in Jiu-Jitsu, Wushu, Krav Maga, and boxing. Since then, he has added Judo and Karate to the list.
In 2020, the John Wick star was presented with an honorary Judo black belt by three-time Olympic champion, Nomura Tadahiro. “Whatever it is, Keanu embraces it wholeheartedly. He goes full throttle the whole way,” said John Wick director, Chad Stahelski, of the actor’s training.
When sportswear company Under Armour chose Gisele Bündchen to star in their “I will what I want” campaign, they knew what they were doing. Famous for strutting the runways of Victorias Secret, the Brazilian supermodel is as tough as they come and demonstrated so by kicking and hitting a punching bag in the ad.
The 40-year-old became a regular at the Boston Kung Fu Tai Chi Institution when she moved to the city and described the ancient Chinese art as “moving meditation.” It has been so beneficial for her that Gisele chose to practice even while pregnant. “I did Kung Fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was born,” Bündchen told Vogue.
According to Lucy Liu, her journey into martial arts was the result of an Asian stereotype. “One reason I decided to pick up martial arts was because I was so sick of people saying, ‘Do you know kung fu?’ Now I can say, ‘Yes I do,’” the Charlie’s Angels actress told PEOPLE.
The ignorance was to Lucy’s benefit, however, as she is now trained in Kali-eskrima-silat — a Filipino martial art that focuses on fighting with sticks, knives, and other bladed weapons. Her impressive skills even led director Quentin Tarantino to write a character especially for her in his action flick, Kill Bill: Volume I.