Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has gained immense popularity over the years, attracting practitioners from various walks of life. Even celebrities have been captivated by this martial art form and have become dedicated students of BJJ.
In this article, we will explore 23 well-known celebrities who are passionate about BJJ, their belt rankings, and their experiences on the mat. From athletes to actors and entrepreneurs, let’s delve into their martial arts journey and discover how BJJ has influenced their lives.
Actor Joel Kinnaman credits BJJ, particularly training under Rigan Machado and Jean Jacques Machado, for the significant impact it has had on his life. Kinnaman highlights the improvement in his overall fitness, body awareness, and mental discipline. Regularly rolling on the mats has made him a calmer and more grounded individual.
Unlike most of Rigan Machado’s students, Kinnaman rolls live and has visited BJJ schools abroad.
Wagner Moura, the talented actor known for his portrayal of Pablo Escobar in Netflix’s “Narcos,” is no stranger to BJJ. As a Brazilian native, it comes as no surprise that Moura holds a purple belt in BJJ. He has trained with legendary stars like Royler Gracie and Anderson Silva, showcasing his dedication to the martial art.
Pro surfer Kelly Slater, an 11-time World Surf League champion, has not limited his pursuits to just riding waves. He is also a purple belt in BJJ and advocates for children to start their martial arts journey with Jiu Jitsu. Slater’s decade-long dedication to BJJ exemplifies his passion for the sport.
Hollywood actor Jonah Hill, famous for his roles in “Superbad” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” embraced BJJ in 2018. Although he is currently a white belt, Hill’s dedication and passion for the martial art are evident. In a recent video, he expressed his admiration for his BJJ Gi, considering it an essential part of his life.
Recognized as Al Bundy from the sitcom “Married… with Children,” Ed O’Neill is one of the early celebrity adopters of BJJ. He began training at the age of 42 and earned his black belt from Rorion Gracie in 2007. O’Neill considers receiving his black belt one of his greatest achievements, second only to his children.
Renowned comedian, actor, and activist Russell Brand is known for his enthusiasm and passion for BJJ. He often discusses the positive impact BJJ has had on his life on his YouTube channel. In October 2021, Brand was promoted to purple belt by his coach, Chris Cleere, marking a significant milestone in his BJJ journey.
Scott Caan, known for his role in “Hawaii 5-0,” earned his celebrity black belt in BJJ in 2016. After 15 years of training, he received his promotion from Marcus Vinicius. Caan, who trains at Egan Inoue’s Grappling Unlimited academy, emphasizes consistent training to further his progress.
Sharing the screen with Scott Caan in “Hawaii 5-0,” Alex O’Loughlin is also a practitioner of BJJ. As a brown belt under Egan Inoue, O’Loughlin continues to train and may soon join the ranks of celebrity black belts. He admires Inoue’s teaching style, which encompasses life philosophies alongside the art itself.
Actor Charlie Hunnam embarked on his BJJ journey in 2016, influenced by his work with Jean Jacques Machado on the movie “King Arthur.” Despite his low-key social media presence, Hunnam’s commitment to BJJ is evident. His goal of attaining a black belt reflects his dedication to personal growth and physical fitness. Rigan Machado lists Hunnam as his favorite famous trainee.
Maynard James Keenan
The lead singer of the rock band Tool, Maynard James Keenan, has immersed himself in BJJ for many years. Keenan began training in the mid-90s under Rickson Gracie and has since progressed to a brown belt, awarded to him by Rickson Gracie black belt Luis ‘Limão’ Herédia in November 2021.
Joe Rogan, a multi-talented personality known for his comedy, podcasting, and UFC commentary, has been involved in BJJ since 1996.
Under the guidance of renowned practitioners like Carlson Gracie and Eddie Bravo, Rogan earned his black belt from Jean Jacques Machado in 2012. His journey into BJJ began after watching Royce Gracie in the early days of the UFC.
Best known as Superman, Henry Cavill is an ardent practitioner of BJJ. Cavill has openly expressed his passion for the sport on social media, emphasizing the lessons learned and the physical challenges it presents. BJJ holds a special place in his fitness routine, providing a holistic approach to his overall well-being.
Renowned actor Tom Hardy, known for his roles in movies like “Warrior,” is a dedicated BJJ practitioner. He holds a blue belt, which he received in 2020. Hardy’s commitment to BJJ extends beyond his personal practice, as he serves as the head ambassador for REORG, a charity that supports military personnel and veterans through BJJ. He also competes regularly.
Known for his tough guy roles in action films, Jason Statham is not only an on-screen badass but also a purple belt in BJJ. Statham trains under the Renzo Gracie flag and has supplemented his BJJ training with Wing Chun, karate, and kickboxing. His commitment to various martial arts disciplines exemplifies his passion for physical training.
Famous movie director Guy Ritchie has been an avid practitioner of BJJ since the early 2000s. With an impressive black belt earned from Renzo Gracie in 2015, Ritchie has also achieved black belts in Shotokan and Judo. His dedication to BJJ showcases his multifaceted skills beyond the world of filmmaking.
Beyond his success in romantic comedies, Ashton Kutcher is a devoted BJJ practitioner. Under the guidance of Rigan Machado, Kutcher achieved the rank of brown belt in 2019. Despite his rapid progression, he showcases his skills and dedication on the mat, training consistently since 2012.
Renowned for his roles in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, Vin Diesel has been practicing BJJ for a while now. Currently a blue belt, Diesel’s dedication to the martial art is evident. He trains under a “non-sparring” system developed by Rigan Machado, which focuses on technique and minimizes the risk of injury.
Renowned for his roles in “John Wick” and “The Matrix” series, Keanu Reeves has integrated BJJ into his acting career. Although still a white belt, Reeves has been training intermittently for eight years under the tutelage of the Machado brothers. The intense preparation for his role as John Wick has fueled his dedication to BJJ.
Shaquille O’Neal, the towering basketball champion, is not just a force on the court but also a skilled BJJ practitioner. Despite his massive stature, Shaq has trained in MMA, Jiu Jitsu, and Judo since 2000. With his background in various combat sports, it’s fascinating to imagine the power and skill he possesses.
Entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg turned to martial arts, including BJJ, as a means to reset and focus amidst the challenges he faces. Employing the services of Dave Camarillo from Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu, Zuckerberg has discovered a newfound passion for MMA and BJJ, demonstrating his commitment to continuous learning.
Acclaimed actor Nicolas Cage has devoted years to BJJ under the guidance of Royce Gracie. While Cage’s exact rank remains unknown, his commitment to training is evident. Despite the misrepresentation of BJJ in his movie “Jiu Jitsu,” Cage continues to embrace the art and trains passionately.
Scarlett Johansson, widely recognized for her portrayal of Black Widow in Marvel films, has been diligently practicing Jiu-Jitsu long after her debut in Iron Man 2 back in 2012. Under the guidance of Jiu-Jitsu Master Rigan Machado, Johansson has honed her skills in this martial art.
Her commitment to the role of Black Widow has led her to receive extensive BJJ training, further enhancing her performance. Like many actors, Johansson embarked on martial arts training to bring an added spark to her on-screen portrayal.