Why Do Celebrities Train BJJ?

It seems like every week another celebrity is either getting their blue belt or starting their Jiu Jitsu journey. The sport has attracted all different kinds of stars from Keanu Reeves, Ashton Kutcher to Demi Lovato and Wiz Khalifa. Is it a publicity stunt or do these actors and singers really like Jiu Jitsu?

Why Do Celebrities Train BJJ?

Celebrities train BJJ to help them perform stunts for their movies, watch Keanu Reeves in John Wick. They also train to keep fit and healthy as BJJ is a fun way to exercise. BJJ is also a great hobby that like thousands of other practitioners, celebrities also find highly entertaining.

Is BJJ Used In Movies?

BJJ is now used in many movie fight scenes. Arm bars, triangle chokes and rear naked chokes are now commonplace in many movies. John Wick and Oblivion both have great BJJ inspired fight scenes.

A common reason that many BJJ celebrities are learning Jiu Jitsu is to help them perform stunts while filming movies.

Keanu Reeves has reportedly spent thousands of hours training BJJ, Judo and Sambo to prepare him for his role as a professional hitman in the John Wick series. 

Keanu Reeves training for ‘John Wick 3’ Behind The Scenes

You can see the hard training has paid off as the fight scenes are a joy to watch. Reeves throws his attackers to the ground with a variety of explosive, smooth throws and then finishes them with a number of submissions that will leave any BJJ practitioner impressed.

As BJJ becomes more and more common in movie fight scenes we should see an influx of actors looking to polish their fighting skills by studying the Brazilian martial art.

If all celebrities take the art as seriously as Keanu Reeves we will get to enjoy some really amazing fight scenes which will inspire another generation of BJJ athletes.

What New Methods Do Celebrities Use To Keep Fit And Healthy?

One way celebrities are keeping fit and healthy is by training BJJ. BJJ is an intense workout where you can burn up to 700 calories an hour. It is also great fun which helps celebrities stay consistent even when their schedule is jam packed.

Celebrities’ physical appearance constitutes a large part of their image and fame. To maintain this image actors and singers are always looking for ways to keep them looking good.

Exercise plays a key role in keeping celebrities lean and looking their best. Actors and singers are known for trying all sorts of workout routines in a bid to develop the perfect body. You will find celebrities running, lifting weights, boxing, doing yoga and in recent years training BJJ.

Many celebrities such as Joe Rogan have talked extensively about how BJJ helps them stay in shape and build muscle.

BJJ is a highly effective workout where athletes can burn up to 700 calories an hour which is great for celebrities with tight schedules who are looking to lose some weight but have limited time to train.

BJJ is also great for developing cardio, as athletes regularly stay in the training zone ideal for cardio gains (80% of max heart rate). It is no wonder health conscious celebrities who want to stay fit love training BJJ.

For exercise to be effective it has to be done consistently. This is not always easy for celebrities who are busy and distracted by other tasks. As BJJ is so much fun, many celebrities will clear their schedule so they can fit in their Jiu Jitsu session, ensuring they make great physical gains.

What Hobbies Do Celebrities Do?  

BJJ has become a popular hobby among celebrities. Jonah Hill, Demi Lovato, Scott Caan and Vince Vaughn are just some of the celebrities who train BJJ as a hobby. As BJJ tests the mind and the body it is no wonder so many celebrities train BJJ.

BJJ black belt Eddie Bravo described BJJ as being like an in person video game where you get to kill your friends and you get unlimited lives. When you get submitted you just respawn and continue playing.

Many BJJ practitioners fall in love with Jiu Jitsu the first time they try the sport. Then they find themselves training 5 days a week for years and years.

Celebrities are no different to your average BJJ practitioner. Many of them too quickly become addicted to the sport and find themselves spending hours and hours every week on the mat learning how to choke people.

It may seem strange to people who haven’t tried BJJ that so many celebrities would be interested in learning how to fight and train in a tough sport like Jiu Jitsu. However, when you experience the sport you realise that the joy you get from learning techniques and using them in sparring is so immense that you have to keep training.

Where Do Celebrities Train BJJ?

Most celebrities are based in Los Angeles and train in private classes with Rigan Machado at Beverly Hills BJJ Academy. Others such as Guy Ritchie train at Roger Gracie’s school in London while Russell Brand trains at RGA Bucks in Aylesbury.

A big reason so many celebrities train BJJ is because of Rigan Machado. Rigan Machado created a celebrity focused BJJ system where famous clients could train with him privately and he would teach them the martial art without the risk of them getting injured.

Machado describes his celebrity BJJ program, “I created a new jiu jitsu system for people who can’t get hurt. It’s technical training. They learn jiu-jitsu and technically train, but it’s all safe. I created a type of jiu-jitsu for the Beverly Hills clientele. Competition, sparring… these guys can’t do that. I can’t even take a 1% chance of them getting hurt. I have 18 celebrities doing this program. Some guys have to sign disclosure agreements; others like Ashton Kutcher and Mickey Rourke come in regularly, while Usher comes in once and a while and Vin Diesel when he’s in town”.

Machado trained a number of celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Mickey Rourke and Usher before his name started spreading throughout the celebrity circle. Before long Machado had a long list of celebrities training with him on a regular basis.

Machado’s program is slightly controversial as many BJJ practitioners believe unless you are regularly sparring hard against random competition then you are not really training BJJ and your skills are untested.

Not all celebrities train in special private classes where sparring is limited. Many famous actors and singers attend local BJJ clubs and train alongside everyone else. Joe Rogan and Guy Ritchie are both known for rolling hard and training in general classes. 

Joe Rogan started training with Jean Jacques Machado before training with his best friend Eddie Bravo while Guy Ritchie started training with Renzo Gracie before training with Roger Gracie.

Not only is Joe Rogan known for training with everyone, he is also notorious for going hard in sparring and his tremendous strength.

Rogan had a particularly spirited sparring session with former UFC fighter Hyun Gyu Lim.

Lim was finished with the training session and was about to hit the showers when lo and behold Joe Rogan came into the gym. Lim’s coach tells him to spar with Joe Rogan.

Lim did not realise Rogan was a BJJ black belt and sparred with him thinking Rogan was just a hobbyist.

But after rolling for a few minutes Lim realized Rogan was really strong and really good at bjj and before he knew it Rogan got his back for like 3 minutes, and rolled for an armbar.

Lim was embarrassed about being dominated by a non athlete so he got out of the armbar and caught Rogan in a picture perfect flying triangle.

Rogan being the strong HGH ox refused to tap so Lim changed to an armbar and cranked and Rogan yelled out in pain.

After the round Lim felt guilty and tried to apologize but Rogan ignored him and gave him a death stare. 


BJJ has become very popular with celebrities. Celebrities are training BJJ to help improve their stunts in movies, get in shape, as a fun hobby and because Rigan Machado has created a celebrity Jiu Jitsu program and has successfully recruited a number of stars to train alongside him in his Beverly Hills academy.

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