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Robert Downey Jr. at Comic Con

Four Celebrities That Train Martial Arts

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Downey,_Jr._SDCC_2014.jpg
By Robin Zabiegalski

In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Robert Downey Jr. shared that martial arts saved his life. The actor struggled with addiction for several years before getting sober in 2003.

In sobriety, Downey Jr. discovered Wing-Chun, a form of Kung Fu. He trained with a master who has been a fight consultant on several of his movies. Downey Jr. said that training a martial art has given him the discipline he needs to stay sober.

Downey Jr. is just one of many celebrities that avidly trains a martial art. Here are a few more.

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Ashton Kutcher Trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Ashton Kutcher
Gettyimages | Michael Kovac

Ashton Kutcher was a high school wrestler, so he was already familiar with grappling when he started to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ, as it's commonly known, focuses on techniques that allow a person to get their opponent on the ground, control their position, and apply submissions. It's a key component in MMA.

Ashton Kutcher began training BJJ in 2014. In the same year, he received both his blue and purple belts from Rigan Machado, a BJJ coral belt, which is actually above the black belt.

In 2019, Kutcher was promoted to brown belt, just one belt away from being a black belt.

Ryan Gosling Trains Muay Thai

Ryan Gosling at the premiere of 'Only God Forgives'
Gettyimages | Rommel Demano

Ryan Gosling started training martial arts the way many celebrities do - while preparing for a movie role. In the movie Only God Forgives Gosling played the director of a Thai boxing club in Bangkok. So, naturally, he trained some Muay Thai to prepare for the role.

Gosling trained under Vohn Thonaphan, a Muay Thai master, who said that Gosling was talented at the sport. Muay Thai focuses on striking with various parts of all the limbs, so it's an intense martial art.

Gosling fell in love with Muay Thai and still trains to this day.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Trains Multiple Martial Arts

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Gettyimages | Getty Images

On the 90s hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar kicked supernatural butt week after week. As it turns out, not all of that butt-kicking was done by her stunt double. In fact, Sarah Michelle Gellar was pretty adept at butt kicking before she became Buffy Summers.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was a competitive figure skater, a gymnast, and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do before she took on the role of Buffy. Her athleticism is part of what landed her the role.

For the role, she also trained in boxing, kickboxing, and street fighting. These days she does more yoga than fighting, but she still takes some martial arts classes when she feels like hitting something.

Lucy Liu Trains Kali-Eskrima-Silat

Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in 'Charlie's Angels'
Gettyimages | Sunset Boulevard

Lucy Liu has shown off martial arts skills in a few of her movies, but she could also show them off on the street if she needed to. Liu trains a martial art called Kali-Eskrima-Silat, which focuses on using sticks and knives for self-defense.

Liu has said that training the martial art makes her feel more confident and strong inside and out, but not more aggressive. She has also said she's confident she could defend herself if needed, but she's glad she's never had to.

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