Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is getting more and more popular among the Hollywood A list celebrities. Famous people that train or have trained in BJJ include Ashton Kutcher, Prince Jackson (son of Michael Jackson), Marlon Wayans, Freddie Prinze Jr, Shaquille O’neal, Paul Walker, Scott Caan, Vince Vaughn, Henry Cavill etc.. The list goes on and on.
The Gracie Academy (Rorion side) have an academy in Beverly Hills. Marcus Vinicius has been teaching celebrities for decades at Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu Club and Rigan Machado has a large group of celebrities training under him.
Even if they have bodyguards most of the time, celebrities still want to know how to defend themselves and also get a great workout but what about sparring? Can a celebrity really risk getting their face bruised up or ears mashed up from a hard Jiu-Jitsu roll?
Some have no problem with a tough sparring while some are extra careful and do not spar.
In the April 2015 issue of Jiu Jitsu magazine , Coral belt and BJJ legend Rigan Machado talks about the special program that he has designed by his celebrity students:
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.
Rigan calls this style for celebrities “flow jiu jitsu”. It took him 9 years to put it together, and it has more than 700 techniques, which can be drilled and trained without risking injury.
Wikipedia has a list of belt holders, these are some the Black Belts:
Ed O’Neill – American actor, black belt under Rorion Gracie
Guy Ritchie – English filmmaker, awarded his black belt in 2015 by Renzo Gracie
Sean Patrick Flanery – American actor and singer who has Pan-American and American National Championship wins in BJJ, currently an instructor and black belt
Chuck Norris – American actor, martial artist, and Air Force veteran. Holds a 3rd degree black belt under Rigan Machado, as well as a black belt or higher rank in five other martial arts
Paul Walker – American actor, held a brown belt and was posthumously promoted to black belt by his instructor Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller
Scott Caan – American actor and filmmaker, holds a black belt
Teri Reeves – American actress, holds a black belt
Old school SoCal black belt Gumby, who trained under Ralph Gracie, made an interesting list of celebrity BJJ black belts. You will be surprised by some of them!