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Celebrities Who are Actually Black Belts in Martial Arts

by Ryan Hanson

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When it comes to celebrities, it’s hard to imagine that they can be good at something other than the talent that made them famous. But truth be told, there are many celebrities who are multi-talented in ways that you may not be aware of. For starters, you’d be quite surprised to find out just how many celebrities are actually black belts in martial arts!

Ownership of the coveted black belt generally indicates that a trainee has mastered the fundamentals of a martial arts discipline such as Karate or Jujitsu. That said, contrary to popular beliefs, achieving a black belt doesn’t necessarily indicate that the wearer is an actual “master” of the martial arts. Still, it’s a practitioner of martial arts must train extensively for years and truly dedicate to the art in order to earn a black belt


Martial arts belt ranks

Image credit: MightyGoods.com


Why Celebrities Strive for Martial Arts Black Belts


So if one happens to be a famous singer, an actor and/or a public figure, why would they spend a whole lot of time and effort to achieve something beyond the talent that had gotten them fame and recognition? Well, based on what I observed, there happen to be quite a few reasons as to why celebrities would like to achieve a black belt in martial arts.

You may already know that some well-known actors and actresses were required to undergo martial arts training for their roles. Hence, it’s no surprise that Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, Chris Casamassa (of Mortal Combat), Dolph Lundgren as well as Wesley Snipes ended up further pursuing martial arts disciplines black belts in martial arts. 


Chuck Norris is martial arts black belt

Image credit: Martialartsactionmovies.com


However, some celebs –  like Chuck Norris  – have already been training in martial arts for years before they got their ‘big break’ in Hollywood. Once they get their big break as major action stars, they have to maintain their training in order to stay in shape. It’s rather embarrassing for an action star to use stuntmen to do all the ‘grunt’ work after all.

As mentioned prior, there are plenty of celebrities, who end up ‘falling in love’ with the discipline they were required to train in for their roles on the big screen or silver screen. This includes Sarah Michelle Gellar who had to take martial arts training in preparation for her role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She enjoyed it so much that she kept on training off the screen and eventually went on to become a black belt in Taekwondo!


Sarah Michelle Gellar is a black belt in Taekwondo


Sean Connery is another celebrity who went through martial arts training as a part of the preparation required for his iconic role as James Bond, and later for the Indiana Jones movies. He continued his training once shooting wrapped up and earned himself a black belt in Kyokushin karate.


A Passion For the Discipline


Acting requirements are not the only reason celebrities earn black belts. In fact, some do it solely due to their own personal interest and passion. Why else would Rikki Rockett, the drummer of rock band Poison, spend so many years training in order to obtain a 1st dan black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?

Elvis Presley was probably the most famous celebrity who pursued martial arts solely for the love of it. That’s right; in case you didn’t know already, the King of Rock is actually a 8th degree black belt in Karate! Perhaps it helped with his history-making dance moves.


Elvis Prestley is a black belt in Karate

Image credit: Pinterest


Other celebrities you may be familiar with who have pursued black belts for ‘the fun of it’ include Katherine Winnick, the actress of Love & Other Drugs, Noah Ringer from The Last Airbender, Bear Grylls from Man Vs. Wild, Forest Whitaker, Gary Daniels, and Ed O’Neill, the grandfather character from the hit comedy series, Modern Family.

It has to be mentioned that it’s not only the Hollywood celebrities who pursue their love of martial arts and earned a black belt in their respective disciplines. There are a number of well-known politicians who have black belts as well. Topping the list is Vladimir Putin, whose love of judo is quite public. He has several black belts in Judo going up to 9th dan.

Prince Albert II of Monaco also has a black belt in Judo, but only first dan. Though he may not look like it, this man can probably easily strangle anyone who tries to take the throne from him with cool and effective moves he learned from his training. 


Other Celebrities with Black Belts


There are several other notable celebrities with black belts. Eric Roberts from the Batman franchise, Jee Ja Yanin, Michael Jai White, Matt Mullins, Bo Svenson, Chuck Jeffries, and even country music’s icon Willie Nelson all have acquired their own black belts.

Sometimes, the love for the martial arts even runs in celebrity families. Quite unsurprisingly, both Simon and Philip of the Rhee brothers, have black belts in martial arts.  


Want to achieve a black belt of your own? Why not sign up for a martial arts training camp? Whether you are a martial arts beginner or a practitioner who has been training for years, spending dedicated training time at a camp will undoubtedly help you to attain your goal! 

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