You knew that when you started BJJ you were were going to be participating in one of the coolest martial arts on the planet.
So its hardly surprising given this status, that some celebrities wanted to get in on the act.
Below is a count down of some the most well known (either in BJJ or as a celebrity – you can decide which!) or unusual who decided to participate in the gentle art.
10. Ed O’Neill (Al Bundy!) – Is probably one of the most well known of the celebrities in BJJ. Having trained at the Gracie Academy for a number of years he is a legitimate black belt under Rorion Gracie. He trains at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, CA and has been involved in BJJ since 1992.
9. Chuck Norris – Well how can the hardest man on the planet not know BJJ! He has also played a big part in the early introduction of BJJ into the USA. He trains under the Machado brothers.
8. Rikki Rockett (Band ‘Poison’)– The drummer from the band Poison has done is his fair share tapping out on the mats too. If you have never heard of Poison they were really big back in the 80’s. Check out one of their videos here You’ll have to forgive the hair it was cool at the time, honest. Despite the hair he’s currently a black belt in BJJ.
7. Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) – Yes the WWE superstar and beast of a man recently earned his black belt from Rolles Gracie. He has also used some of skill whilst wrestling for the WWE. Facing that guy on the mat is a very scary thought, even without the make up.
6. Ashton Kutcher – Is a blue belt currently training under Rigan Machado. Apparently he has even travelled to Brazil to train. So fair play he seems to be taking it seriously.
5. Guy Richie – does not just direct action movies he knows a few things himself. The first of the two british celebrities in the list to train BJJ. Initially starting in Karate he’s a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in BJJ under Renzo Gracie.
4. Jason Statham – The expendable himself and the second brit on the list, is currently a purple belt in BJJ. He is pretty well know for his all action fight scenes, so it makes sense for him to train BJJ to round off his ability. Plus if he ever does another Guy Richie movie he has someone to roll with on set.
3. Naomi Watts (The Ring) – Apparently this oscar nominated actress competed extensively in Judo even taking part in a number of championships. She has now transitioned to BJJ. Although I can’t imagine her competing at the Worlds any time soon.
2. David Batista (Drax, Gaurdians of the Galaxy) – Another WWE entry on the list but probably better well known recently as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. He is currently a Purple Belt under Cesar Gracie. After playing Drax could this guy have gotten any scarier? Looks like the answer is yes. I for one would not want to be under his side control.
I have saved the best, in my opinion, until last.
1. Clark Greg (Iron Man) – Yes he holds the number one spot for me. If being Agent Coulson wasn’t cool enough he’s also a BJJ brown belt! He trains under Rigan Machado and Renato Machado at their academy in Santa Monica, California. In a recent interview he has said that he is slowly converting some of the other actors like Ming-Na Wen who plays Agent May to the benefits of BJJ.
This is not an exhaustive list but never the less there were a couple of surprises for me whilst I was researching this. As with everything in BJJ you can never make assumptions.