Well, I made a little effort to explore some of the famous actors, musicians, singers, athletes who train and have fighting skills such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think that everyone is interested in celebrity Jiu-Jitsu, and I am too. We are all curious when we want to know more about celebrities, what they are doing in free time, aren’t we?
Whether they are in our favorite movies, sing our favorite songs or soccer match-winning goals, there is a sort of admiration for someone who is obviously successful. Over the year’s we’ve seen celebrities take to the mats, and whether training for films or fitness or have dabbled on the mats. I compiled the ultimate list of celebrities who do BJJ. First of all I will give you the names who are masters of this awesome martial art and some of them have black belts. So, let’s get started and enjoy!!
Celebrity Jiu Jitsu List:
1. Guy Ritchie is the iconic celebrity, director who directed many successful feature films including Lock, Stock and Two smoking barrels, Snatch and the latest version of Sherlock Holmes starring
Robert Downey Jr. Ritchie has been training for a number of years, having spent 7 years as a brown belt before finally getting his black back in 2015 from Renzo Gracie.
2. Ed O’Neill (aka Al Bundy), his professional success is only paralleled with his dedication to martial arts. Ed is a black belt under Rorion Gracie. In his career Ed went from one successful long-running sitcom to another. While most remember him for his iconic role as Al Bundy, the new generations know him as Jay Prichett on the Emmy Winning Comedy Modern Family.
3. Chuck Norris is a legend that knows no bounds. Chuck is probably the only person on this list who rolled with great Helio Gracie. Chuck trained all around the world before
settling with the Machados to earn his black belt. In 2015 Chuck earned his 3rd Degree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from David Dunn, under the guidance of Jean Jacques Machado.
4. Paul Walker – He died in a tragic accident back in 2013. At the time he was a brown belt but he was awarded his black belt posthumously by Ricardo Franjinha Miller of Paragon
5. Rikki Rockett, is an American drummer for glam metal band, Poison. The 51 year old
drummer famously stays in shape by doing BJJ.
6. Sean Patric Flanery is probably the only celebrity on our list who is also an instructor. The Hollywood BJJ teacher is in fact a black belt under Shawn Williams. During filming for The Boondock Saints 2 Sean Patrick Flanery was only 15 mins away from Renzo’s academy, so on his lunch he was trek down for an hour’s roll.
7. Scott Caan famously starred in the remake of 1960s rat pack classic Ocean’s 11 (and
subsequent sequels). When he’s not starring in his CBS procedural Hawaii 5-0 he’s doing jiu-jitsu under the guidance of Egon Inoue of Grappling Unlimited. Scott quite dedicated he has been doing Jiu-Jitsu for over 15 years.
8. Ashton Kutcher, One of the higher-ranked practitioners and celebrities on this list, Kutcher is best known for his film and TV work in sitcoms such as Two and a Half Men and That 70’s Show. He is a purple belt under Rigan Machado.
9. Keanu Reeves is another super famous celebrity Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who has been dabbling on the mats with the Machado brothers. The Machados are also regularly known for choreographing fight scenes in major movies, and one such movie is John Wick 2, which Keanu is currently filming. Keanu can regularly been seen on the Machado mats in a Do or Die Hyperfly gi. Check Keanu’s training footage and his thoughts about BJJ HERE.
10. Anthony Bourdain, TV presenter, chef, food lover, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner has become BJJ’s latest and most visible ambassador. He is a blue belt under Igor Gracie and an IBJJF gold medalist after winning his division at the IBJJF New York Open. He can regularly be seen on the mats at Renzo’s academy training with his wife Ottavia, who is part of the Danaher Death Squad. At 59 years old, Bourdain came to the game late in life but jumped onto the mat with a gusto and enthusiasm that outstrips men half his age.
11. Tom Hardy ,The Mad Max star took to the mats with the Royal Marines not too long ago. However Tom Hardy is no stranger to the mats, he starred in one of the best MMA movies to date, Warrior, where (Spoiler Alert!) his character had his shoulder broken by an omoplata in the final match against his own brother.
12. Wesley Snipes is another one of Rigan Machado’s celebrity training sessions. However, Snipes’ holds black belts in multiple disciplines of martial arts and was even close to fighting Joe Rogan in the Octagon, but sadly it never came to be. In fact, Rogan still believes he would choke out Snipes, who has been training martial arts since he was 12 year old.
13. Vince Vaughn is one of the most prolific comedy actors of the last 20 years, and starred in
smash-hit movies such as The Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball. One of the best things about
jiu-jitsu is you can start at any age, and at 46 years old, Vaughn has strapped a white belt
around his waist and is now a student at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California, with
Ryron and Rener Gracie.
14. Michael Clarke Duncan was a big (BIG) fan of the UFC. He was a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and trained at the Gracie Academy.
15. Mel Gibson showed us all his Jiu-Jitsu moves back in Lethal Weapon. Gibson has trained Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu under Rorian Gracie.
16. Ice – T , rapper/actor Ice-T is a big fan of the UFC. He's also a long time practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing.
17. Naomi Watts, actress has trained judo for many years, and actually competed in amateur Judo championships from 1989 to 1992. She currently trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
18. Jim Carrey has begun training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
19. Jason Statham is another big fan of MMA. He's a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-
Jitsu and has trained in multiple martial arts disciplines including: Wing Chun kung fu, karate and kickboxing.
20. Charlie Hunnam is another one of Rigan Machado’s Celebrity Jiu-Jitsu crew. Charlie has a love of MMA through his work in Sons of Anarchy after Theo Rossi took him to a few
21. Nicolas Cage is an actor that can really roll on the mat. Nicolas Cages trains Jiu-Jitsu under the UFC champion Royce Gracie.
22. Joe Rogan, known for his comedic abilities and acting talent, Joe Rogan is a dedicated black belt Jiu-Jitsu student under Eddie Bravo and Jean Jacques Machado.
23. Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rickson Gracie.
24. Tommy Lee, drummer from infamous Motley Crue , Tommy Lee, trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the Gracie Family.
25. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909, studied jiu-jitsu and judo.
26. Usher, musician and actor known for his great dance moves on stage probably has some solid BJJ moves on the mat as he has trained with BJJ wiz Andre Galvao in the past. Usher is also a close personal friend of Anderson Silva.
27. Wiz Khalifa, Grammy-nominated rap star train BJJ with Rigan Machado. Wiz have white belt.
28. Robert Duvall, Hollywood legend and his wife Luciana are taking Jiu-Jitsu lessons with
Master Pedro Sauer. An Academy Award winner, Duvall has been a regular at the academy
and according to Pedro: “Is a super nice guy and tough as nails!”
29. Steve Irvin nicknamed “The Crocodile Hunter“, was an Australian zookeeper,
conservationist and television personality also trained BJJ with Dan Higgins. Steve trained
with Kyle Noke as well.
30. Milla Jovovich, Main actress of The Fifth Element, Return to the Blue Lagoon, and the Resident Evil trilogy, trained Brazilian Ju Jitsu.
31. Johnny Strong is an American actor, musician, stuntman and martial artist. He is best known for his
roles in Black Hawk Down and The Fast and the Furious as Leon. He has black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
32. Vicente Lizarazu is a former professional soccer player on the French national team, the one which won the worlds in 98 and the World championship. He is a purple belt BJJ and won the Europeans as a blue. He is also a TV sports commentator.
33. Jonathan Lipnicki, the cute kid from „Jerry Maguire“, holds the purple belt and compete in BJJ competition. His family owns an amateur MMA promotion company too.
34. Prince Jackson, eldest son of pop star Michael Jackson is a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu and trains at Gracie Academy Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in California. Prince is a student of Ryron and Rener Gracie. Back in 2013, he earned his blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
35. Clark Gregg, the guy he plays Agent Phil Coulson (from the Marvel movies, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is a brown belt.
36. Michael Dudikoff actor began training in martial arts before the second film and has since trained in karate, aikido, judo and in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. He began his training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rorion Gracie. He continues train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Rigan Machado, who is a world champion and 8th degree red and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
37. David Akers, NFL player trains in Jiu-Jitsu and Shaolin Kempo.
38. Chris Conrad, actor trains under Jean Jacques Machado.
39. Richard Norton, martial artist, actor, stuntman, have black belt BJJ under Jean-Jacques Machado.
40. Mario Van Peebles, actor, writer, film director earned a blue belt from Ricardo “Rey” Diogo.
41. Demi Lovato, the singer earned her blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You can check Demi doing an armbar on a world champ HERE.
42. Kelly Slater, legendary surfer eared blue belt in BJJ.
43. Pete Loncarevich was an “Old School” professional BMX racer whose prime competitive years were from 1980 to 1994. He has a black belt in BJJ.
45. Mario Lopez, an actor, also does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
46. Margot Robbie, an actress, trained in Jiu-Jitsu for her role in the movie Suicide Squad.
47. Shaquille O’Neal, former NBA basketball star has been following the UFC for a long time and has also been training Jiu-Jitsu since 2000 under Royce Gracie.
48. Mickey Rourke (actor and professional boxer) has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the past few years and earned a blue belt under Eddie Bravo and Scott Epstein.
49. Scarlett Johansson, actress, trained with Jiu-Jitsu master Rigan Machado for her role as the Black Widow in the popular “Marvel” films.
50. Tori Spelling, an actress, also trained BJJ
51. Rebel Wilson is an Australian actress, writer, and producer and started to train BJJ.
52. Robert Downey Jr., the famous actor, started to train Jiu-Jitsu to fight drug addiction through Wing Chun.
53. Jason Scott Lee is an American actor and martial artist. Lee is perhaps best known for his roles as Bruce Lee in martial arts film “Dragon: Bruce Lee story”.
54. Matt Heafy, rockstar and frontmen grup Trivium has a blue belt in BJJ.
55. Donnie Yen, an actor, also known as Yen Chi Tan has a purple belt in BJJ.
56. Vin Diesel, film star actor of „Triple X“ and „Fast and Furious“ also trained on the mat of Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu Club before becoming the star of these films. The training with the
actor did not last long, but enough to create a strong friendship with Marcus.
57. David Batista, WWE star, bodybuilder, mixed martial arist and film actor gets by Cesar Gracie a purple belt in BJJ.
58. Mark William Calaway better known as WWE star ‘The Undertaker’ has a Black Belt in
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Rolles Gracie.
For now, it will be enough. I think it was fun, a full of plenty of new info for you and me.
When I was researching for this article, I must admit that I was surprised how many
successful people are training this awesome martial art like BJJ. Many famous names, as we can see, love to train martial arts, someone live and breathe this sport and that’s why is so astonishing to see that.
They are ordinary people like we are and it is nice to see them how are they trained with passion and also we can see happy – satisfied faces even though they have demanded and exhausting exercises with their train masters.
Thank you, guys, for sharing this experience with me!