ByMelissa Thomas, writer at
Horror blogger. Find more of my work at Email me at [email protected]
Melissa Thomas

Martial Arts have been a big part of many cultures for centuries; everyone from children to A-list celebs have flooded their local dojo to learn how to defend themselves or stay in shape.

Some of Hollywood's most notable names have been training for years. Some names on this list may not come as a surprise, while others will leave you shocked. Here are 16 actors who kick ass on and off the big screen.

1. Derek Mears

He has played Jason Voorhees and Predator and he's also a total badass. Mears trains in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with "Big" John McCarthy.

2. Jack Black

Black voices the hilariously adorable Kung Fu Panda, but did you know that he practices Kung Fu in real life? This funny man has trained in both Judo and Kung Fu.

3. Jessica Alba

She's beautiful and she could take you down. Alba practices Taekwondo for various roles and to keep her body in killer shape.

4. Robert Downey Jr.

RDJ is not just bluffing in the Iron Man suit, he really does have some moves. He trains in Wing Chun Kung Fu under Master Instructor Eirc Oram (like another superhero on this list).

5. Courteney Cox

The raven-haired beauty from Friends trains in a unique form of Martial Arts — Budokon. Budokon combines the art of karate with yoga. Cox introduced this interesting hybrid to her ex-husband (David Arquette) and another Friends cast mate on this list.

Cox and Arquette
Cox and Arquette

6. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Buffy wasn't bluffing. Gellar has a 1st Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo. She has also trained in kickboxing, boxing and street-fighting.

7. Ed O'Neill

That's right, even Al Bundy is a badass. O'Neill has trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rorian Gracie for over 20 years.

8. Jennifer Aniston

Have you ever wondered how Ms. Aniston keeps her body in check? Like friend Courteney Cox, she trains in the art of Budokon.

9. Christian Bale

Like fellow superhero actor Robert Downey Jr., Bale trains Wing Chun Kung Fu under Master Instructor Eric Oram. Perhaps this is why he was such a great fit to play Batman?

10. Wesley Snipes

Many fans are familiar with Snipes's Martial Arts background, but not too many are aware of just how many different disciplines he practices. Snipes is a 5th Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, 3rd Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Hapkido. He also practices Kung Fu, Capoeira, Eskrima and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

11. Guy Ritchie

Filmmaker (and ex-husband to Madonna) Guy Ritchie began training in Shotokan Karate at the age of seven. He has a Black Belt in Judo and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

12. Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu is more than a rocking bod and beautiful face — those moves from Kill Bill were all her own. Liu practices the art of Kali-Eskrima-Silat (knife and stick fighting).

13. Jason Statham

Jason Statham is a name that personifies badass. Just how badass is Mr. Statham? He has a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has also trained in Wing Chun Kung Fu, karate and kickboxing.

14. Tom Hardy

Before his role in Warrior, Hardy had no Martial Arts experience. He arrived in Pittsburgh, PA two months prior to filming to train at the Pittsburgh Fight Club. He trained a combination of Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and boxing.

15. Sean Patrick Flanery

Flanery makes up one half of Flandus (nickname given to him and Norman Reedus by the Boondock Saints fandom), and he could take you out — with his hands. It turns out that Connor MacManus is a bad-ass in real life. He holds a Black Belt in both karate and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. You can train with him in LA at Hollywood Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (HBJJ).

16. James Caan

Legendary actor James Caan has played all manner of characters, but did you know that he has trained Martial Arts for over 30 years? He is a Master in Gosoku Ryu Karate and was given the title of Soke-dai by the International Karate Institute.

This list should prove that you have to watch who you mess with, you never really know who is secretly a Black Belt. It is nice to see that so many names on this list have played characters that can really kick some butt; knowing they have an actual background in Martial Arts lends more authenticity to their performances.

What name surprises you the most?


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