Your cart
Total: $0.00

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Down
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
CELEBRITIES WHO DO JIU JITSU
articles/unnamed_180131ce-3f08-408d-9321-dd11dcb1d338.jpg

CELEBRITIES WHO DO JIU JITSU

,

The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become a popular sport all over the world. The evolution of the prolific Brazilian art has developed significantly from the humble beginning to the mainstream combat sport it has become. The rise of Mixed Martial Arts through platforms like Pride FC, One Championship and the UFC, have generated a cult following to the stylings of brazilian jiu jitsu. Many high level MMA fighters have adapted their game styles to include submission systems, and as a result fans abroad are lining up to learn the comprehensive fighting system. 

What This Article Covers:

In the wake of professional BJJ and MMA, many high profile celebrities have also taken a shine to Brazilian Jitsu. Some of them are required to learn certain aspects of the game, so they can incorporate the style into the character they are portraying in movies. Many of these celebrities are also just fans of the sport and are heavily interested in learning the formidable Martial Art. Rorion Gracie and Chuck Norris have become on-screen brazilian jiu jitsu creators, as their contribution towards showcasing the Brazilian art has helped with its development significantly across the United States and the world.

Chael Sonnen has joined forces with BJJFanatics.com to bring you WRESTLING FUNDAMENTALS FROM THE BAD GUY!

celebrity jiu jitsu

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!

FREE FOR 7 DAYS TRIAL

Learn More

WHAT MOVIES HAVE USED BJJ MANEUVERS 

There are a host of different movies that have used the high flying maneuvers of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Hollywood screens have been lit up by a superior display of Martial Arts choreography. One of the most prolific movie series that has incorporated Jiu Jitsu moves is the John Wick saga. Keanu Reeves has starred on the big screens with his dark and vengeful characterisation of John Wick, as he utilised a series of high calibre moves from the Brazilian art like rolling armbars, triangles and rolling leg locks. Michael C Hall starred in the hit series Dexter, portraying a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro. Dexter's secret was, that he was in fact a serial killer and was killing murderers that had escaped justice. Dexter's character used a profile explained as advanced Jiu Jitsu, where he used many subduing techniques including variations of the rear naked choke.

Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte starred in the movie Warrior, which was about a former marine who came home from his tour and began training in Mixed Martial Arts. Tom Hardy would be trained by his on screen father Nick Nolte to fight his brother in the upcoming MMA showcase, which turned into a jiu jitsu fight. The movie also starred UFC veterans Nate Marquardt and Anthony Rumble Johnson. Lethal Weapon was one of the first movies to highlight the art of BJJ. During the movie Mel Gibson was embroiled in a fight, where he attempted to land an armbar. After failing at the submission he was pounded on with the fists before securing a triangle submission, where he snapped the attackers neck.

Never Back Down was a movie that aired in 2008, and portrayed a high school student played by Sean Faris, who would go up against his girlfriend's psycho ex boyfriend played by Cam Gigandet, as they battled in a brutal MMA display. The movie had a large reference to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Nicolas Cage starred in the 2020 movie called Jiu Jitsu, where Every six years, an ancient order of expert Jiu Jitsu fighters faces a vicious race of alien invaders in a battle for Earth. The movie also starred Tony Jaa, Alain Moussi, Frank Grillo and JuJu Chan. The movie had a budget of 25 million dollars, but was a box office flop as it failed to gross more than one hundred thousand dollars. There are also many Jiu Jitsu references all throughout the world of Anime with shows like Attack of the Titans, Baki and Jujutsu Kaisen.

WHICH FAMOUS CELEBRITIES TRAIN IN BJJ

There is quite a big list of celebrities that train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many movie and tv stars are training, including men and women in jiu jitsu. Some celebrities have even achieved extremely high levels in the sport. Some of the most notable celebrities are; Ed O'Neill or otherwise known as Al Bundy from the hit TV sitcom Married With Children and Jay Pritchett from the award winning series Modern Family. Ed O'Neill has achieved the rank of Black belt in BJJ after training for over 20 years, in 2007 he was awarded the rank by Rorion Gracie. Aston Kutcher who has starred in the hit sitcom That 70's Show and MTV's Punk'd, was recently awarded his Brown belt by Rigan Machado. Aston has spoken about his want to fight Connor McGregor and has been seen rolling on instagram against the Aussie grappling standout Craig Jones.

Joe Rogan has become one of the biggest podcast stars in the world, along with his time as the host of Fear Factor and he has been a long time UFC commentator. Joe is a 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Black belt under Eddie Bravo, and he was also awarded his Black belt by Jean Jacques Machado. The international star has been training in Martial Arts for over 20 years and can be seen demonstrating bjj philosophy and striking concepts in the online forum. Russell Brand has become one of the world's biggest comedian actors, and has recently been promoted to his Blue belt by Kev Capel from RGA Bucks. Russell has recently shot some YouTube videos detailing his struggles as a white belt in the sport. Guy Ritchie, the British actor who became famous from his roles in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes, has been training in Jiu Jitsu since the early 2000's. In 2015 he was promoted to the rank of Black belt by Renzo Gracie.

Another student of Renzo Gracie is the famous action star Jason Statham, who has also trained alongside Guy Ritchie. Jason has worked extensively under Renzo's banner and holds the rank of Purple belt. Vin Diesel has also trained on and off in BJJ, and although he holds no official rank he has worked with stars like Marcus Vinicius, Rigan Michado and Minotauro Nogueira. Dave Bautista who has starred as a WWE Wrestler named Batista and has recently become internationally famous for his role as Drax in the Marvel movie saga of Guardians of the Galaxy. Dave has been training BJJ since 2010 and has achieved his Purple belt under Caesar Gracie, he has also tried his hand as an MMA fighter. The world champion surfer Kelly Slater has also become a huge fan of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The champion surfer began training in California under Rickson Gracie, he is now a two stripe Blue belt training under the Mendes Brothers.

The popular American actor Vince Vaughn who has starred in movies like Dodgeball, the Wedding Crashers and Old School, has also acquired the passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Vince started training in 2016 and by 2018 he was awarded his Blue belt by Rener Gracie. There are many other celebrities that are learning jiu jitsu principles all across America, celebrities like; Keanu Reeves, Scarlett Johansson, Scott Caan, Usher, Mickey Rourke, Mel Gibson, Kate Upton, Nicolas Cage, Jason Momoa, Kevin James, Robert Pattinson, Tom Hardy, Demi Lovato, Chris Pratt, Joel Tudor and Jonah Hill.

Sadly there have been some other celebrities that have trained in the art of Jiu Jitsu that have passed away. The big screen movie star from the Fast and the Furious dynasty, Paul Walker became a Brown belt in BJJ under Ricardo Miller. Reports about Paul Walker came out saying that he developed a love for the Brazilian art after watching Royce Gracie dominate the UFC. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dove head first into BJJ, where he trained at Renzo Gracie's academy and was taught predominantly in private by Igor Gracie and John Danaher. Other famous stars that have graced the BJJ community with their presence on the mats is Purple belt Michael Clarke Duncan, who starred in roles as Coffey in the Green Mile and the infamous Kingpin in Daredevil. The famous Aussie icon Steve Irwin also trained in BJJ under the legendary Dan Higgins.

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!

FREE FOR 7 DAYS TRIAL

Learn More

WHO WERE THE PIONEERS OF BJJ ON THE BIG SCREEN

There have been two main pioneers of BJJ hitting the big screen. The first is the legendary Rorion Gracie, who was the oldest son of Grandmaster Helio Gracie. In 1978, Rorion Gracie moved to California in the United States of America, where he began a career working in movies and television. Rorion was on a path of spreading his knowledge and culture of Jiu Jitsu across America. Rorion became a technical adviser for the 1987 blockbuster movie production of Lethal Weapon. Rorion would run fight simulation choreography to actors like Mel Gibson and Gary Busey. Richard Donner was the director and he wanted Mel Gibson's character to have a distinctive style of fighting which had never been seen on the big screen before.

In 1988, Rorion put together a documentary titled Gracie Jiu Jitsu In Action, which was real life action footage of the Gracie clan displaying their grappling. In 1989, Rorion and his brothers Royce, Rickson and Royler, opened their first Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California, this was the beginning of a wider spread of the art. By 1991, Rorion brought out another production called The Basics of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, which was a five volume edition all about the training aspects of Jiu Jitsu. Rorion also became the technical advisor, and the fight scene choreographer for the 3rd edition of Lethal Weapon. In this movie Rorion helped Rene Russo work through the fighting system. After some mishaps through some of the other Martial Arts choreographers, Rorion was given an opportunity to attend the film set for the filming sequence as a technical advisor. Rorion Gracie had extremely proficient skills and after Renee Russo refused to do Judo throws with anyone except Rorion Gracie, he became the stuntman in the action scene.

The other prominent pioneer that helped BJJ become a big screen hit was Chuck Norris. While visiting Rio de Janeiro, Chuck Norris visited the legendary Gracie family, where he grappled with Royce and Rickson Gracie and their father Helio Gracie. Chuck was blown away by how easily the Gracie's were submitting him, and his recollection of an elderly Helio Gracie who was apologising everytime he choked out Chuck. As a result of the successful integration of Chuck Norris and the Gracie Clan, he offered to host them in the United States to run through some demonstrations. The relationship was short lived as Rorion demanded too much money, so Chuck decided on integrating with the Machado brothers instead.

Chuck would then build an academy and let Jean Jacques Machado teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at no cost. As the Machado brothers accepted they began to forge a long lasting friendship with Chuck Norris. Many of Chuck's roles in TV and movies depicted him as a Martial Artist, with his most iconic role in the popular TV series Texas Walker Rangers, where he even had the Machado brothers appearing in cameos. Chuck became a huge influence into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu scene and eventually went onto earning his Black belt under Jean Jacques Machado in 2015.

THE IMPACT OF CELEBRITIES ON BJJ 

With many celebrities lining up to learn the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there has been a prolific impact on the notoriety of the sport. As celebrities begin their own journey through the Martial Art, they will constantly post on social media platforms like twitter, instagram and facebook.

Learn the wrestlingi fundamentals from one of the best to ever transition to MMA, Chael Sonnen!

famous bjj black belts

Celebrities are role models to so many people and usually have thousands if not millions of followers, who take their words like the words of Gods. When a celebrity talks about enjoying a Martial Art like BJJ, the follow on effect is massive, as people from all over the world will become curious and look to sign up with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. Nowadays the mainstream view of BJJ is quite significant, as the art is highly referenced throughout the entertainment world. Movies, television and even contests like the UFC have helped pave the way for BJJ. There are so many international superstars in grappling, that now the sport can be live streamed through many application software platforms like Flow Grappling and UFC Fight Pass. 

If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!

FREE FOR 7 DAYS TRIAL

Learn More

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens