I have written many times about the dug cinema actors who present their skills on the screen. This time, however, I will look at the cinema and television stars that you would not expect to know about martial arts.
Martial arts are more than just the ability to beat an opponent or just self-defense. It’s not just hard training that requires people to shed sweat and tears. It is primarily a science of discipline, control and often also the philosophy associated with a given art. For many, it is passion, a way of life and a path to maintaining health and strength.
All these words may sound like a banal film from a Hollywood movie, but in many stories of well-known actors from the top league you can see that martial arts are not just a desire to learn to strike or keep in shape. This is a means that literally saves lives and not in a way that comes to mind. Martial art is a medicine for the spirit for many.
This article will not be people who we know are either action movie stars or associated with training. I bet on those with an interesting story that shows what I am pointing out above: how important it is not only for their physical but also for their spiritual form. Everything has its meaning … As Jackie Chan said in The Karate Kid: kung fu is in everything.
Robert Downey Jr.
Currently, she is the biggest star of entertainment cinema thanks to the role of Iron Man. We know that Robert Downey Jr. has always struggled with drug addiction. No one had any doubts that he was an extremely talented and outstanding actor, as evidenced by the capital role in Chaplin from 1992, distinguished by an Oscar nomination. However, addiction problems and repeated attempts to combat it after rehab did not work. Robert Downey Jr. was on the Hollywood blacklist. They did not want to work with him and insure him on set, because his problems meant that it was the greatest risk. It was martial arts that finally proved to be a medicine for Robert …
In 2003 he decided to try something different. He bet on the art of Wing Chun. Surely you heard about it thanks to Ip Man and his student Bruce Lee, who popularized her in the world before creating his own play Jeet Kune Do. RDJ went to the founder of Wing Chun School in Los Angeles Eric Oram, who became his teacher. It wasn’t easy – the beginnings were difficult, and Oram was aware of the problem he would face. He set the condition: if he didn’t come to training, I would cut his toes and feed him … Obviously, this sounds brutal and harsh, but Oram wanted to make it clear that he was either serious or not. However, the actor was absent from the training quickly, but the producers standing in the corner of Downey Jr. were like Rocky supporting Apollo Creeda. They convinced Oram to give him a chance and vouch for him, and even take the blame for his absence. The improvement was visible after a year, when Robert Downey Jr., healthy and free from addiction, told the following in an interview with Opra Winfrey:
– Martial arts were … I can’t describe in words how much they influenced my being healthy and focused. This is spiritual training. He allowed me to stand firmly on the ground and build the main goal, which is to promote a sense of spirituality and respect for my own community. To be ready to defend yourself and this community – if necessary.
Robert Downey Jr. he trains Wing Chun to this day, so it’s the sixteenth year. On the screen he also managed to use the acquired skills in the series. If you remember fighting Sherlock, it was RDJ himself who was introducing his ideas there. In this way, martial art saved the life of the most recognizable star of modern cinema.
Evan Rachel Wood
Not everyone has such a fascinating history associated with martial arts as Robert Downey Jr, but that does not mean that there are no curiosities here. We know the actress from the main role in the Westworld series. Do you know that she has been training taekwondo since she was a child? It turns out that it has … a black belt (first degree). Interestingly … she reached it at the age of 12, which is clear to anyone who knows about taekwondo how difficult and admirable the feat is.
The actress herself mentions that when she was a child, her mother took her to a ballet class, but she was not good at it and often ended in tears. Her inspiration was a brother who trained taekwondo at the time. It started with joint training and ended with the fact that after years they both devoted time and strength to getting a black belt. Evan still trains to stay in shape. She says in interviews that she has always been a warrior and her dream is to show her skills in the action cinema.
We all know her as Lagertha because for now this is her life role. Privately, she is a great fan of martial arts. In native Canada, she began training taekwondo at the age of 7. She even participated in national tournaments, where she won a silver medal. Currently, he has a black third degree belt in taekwondo and a black second degree belt in karate. Before she became an actress, she taught how to blow on film sets and did … a bodyguard license. It is interesting that she teaches by owning three martial arts schools. She wants to teach self-defense in them.
She always speaks with passion about how she likes martial arts and was happy when she could use her skills on the set to some extent. However, it is only the upcoming Wu Assassins series that can show what Katheryn Winnick can do on the screen. There he will fight under the guidance of Iko Uwais, known from the Serbuan maut series.
The outstanding actor is not associated with action cinema. And many of you may associate him with the martial arts of the episodic role in Bloodsport with Jean Claude Van Damme. However, Whitaker is very passionate about the black belt on the Kenpo karate account and for several years he has been learning the Filipino art called Kali from Dan Inosanto (student of Bruce Lee).
In the interviews, the actor himself emphasizes how much the developed discipline has shaped his personal life and career. He was interested in Asian philosophy since childhood. He is very fascinated by the spiritual part of martial arts, which in his opinion requires getting to know himself, his own body and pain. It taught him how to build internal balance.
The screen did not have too many opportunities to use his skills, because, however, gets roles that require him completely different things. The exception is the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, where he could show a little bit what he can do. There is also one scene from the Criminal Minds series: Suspect Behavior.
– Martial arts taught me discipline, and this is extremely important for actors. I have learned to control myself and treat others with respect. It’s not just learning how to fight, but learning how to live – that’s what it’s about, “said the actor in an interview for Lufthansa.
Surprised? After all, he is a star of funny series like Married … with Children and Modern Family. There was more talk about his short footballer career than interest in martial arts. Ed has been training Brazilian Jujitsu for … over 30 years. He often says in interviews that he was infected with a knack by the director and screenwriter John Milius, who is privately his friend. You know, the same Milius who created Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. After long persuasion, O’Neill decided to come to the school of the Gracie family who developed this martial art. His teacher was Rorion, son of Helio, who is one of the creators of Brazilian Jujitsu.
The actor admits that he was never convinced by martial arts and did not take it seriously. To a large extent through films where the super warrior laundered armies of opponents. Only the first lesson he was persuaded convinced him that it was worth it. He convinced the actor to do this show lesson, during which O’Neill was to throw him off. Ed decided that since he was bigger than him, he could do it without a problem and … it didn’t work out. This show convinced Ed O’Neill, who said he had to learn it.
O’Neill does not know if he would be able to let down the thump in battle, but he knows one thing: regular training allowed him to stay in physical shape, learn discipline and self-control. Currently, Ed has a black belt, and his passion is not only training, but also following professional UFC competitions, which he often criticizes. He thinks that many players want to be good at all martial arts, but they don’t achieve the championship in any. His passion continues, but due to his age he has reduced the frequency of training to one per week. He never had a chance to show it on the screen.
Agent 007 is actually a tough guy. For many years he trained in Kyuokushin karate, in which he has a black belt (first dan). Passion was born for similar reasons as in many actors – it helped to maintain physical form and learn the discipline needed also in career.
There is a Hollywood legend associated with martial arts in Sean Connery’s life and career. I call it that, because there is really no confirmation of whether this event took place anywhere. It’s about working on the movie Never Say Never Again, behind the scenes Connery was preparing with aikido master named … Steven Seagal. At that time, young Seagal had not thought about becoming an action movie star. Connery was a young man at the time, and apparently he did something during training, which upset Seagal, who during exercise … broke his wrist. Sean Connery himself mentioned this in interviews that it was only after a long time that he discovered that pain in his hand was due to such a reason. On the other hand, Seagal, when asked about the situation, does not know whether he did it.
Jason Scott Lee
Perhaps few remember the actor who played Bruce Lee in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story from 1993. For the needs of this production, he began to train Jeet Kune Do, a martial art developed by Bruce Lee, and he trains it to this day. Sam emphasizes in interviews that this film literally changed his life.
He was taught by Jerry Poteet, who trained himself under Bruce Lee. Jason is currently a certified instructor of this martial art and, according to all information, achieving such status is extremely difficult. Soon we will see him again on the screen in the Mulan super production, where he will undoubtedly use his skills on the screen.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
How many of you knew that she herself did quite a few fight scenes in the series Buffy The Vampire Slayer? She began learning taekwondo as a child. She loved martial arts working on the series, and currently has a black belt (first degree). In addition, she became interested in kickboxing, street fighting, boxing and gymnastics.
In interviews she repeats that she has always been fascinated by Asian culture and loves dysclin in martial arts. Therefore, her daughter also trains, but not taekwondo, but jiu jitsu.
– These types of activities teach life lessons and help create strength in kids. They teach them how to stand up to bullies and how to make good decisions. This way of raising a girl is not about fighting, but about strength and good choices. For learning how to be accountable and self-supporting – explains Sarah Michelle Gellar.