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, Scarlett Johansson, Usher etc.. The list goes on and on.
Actor Wesley Snipes has been training Jiu-Jitsu sporadically for the past few years and has been training with Rigan Machado at his Beverly Hills academy.
Snipes is best known for his role as the Marvel Comics character Blade in the Blade film trilogy. Snipes began training in martial arts when he was 12 years old. He has a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. He has also trained in Capoeira under Mestre Jelon Vieira and in a number of other disciplines including kung fu at the USA Shaolin Temple and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing. During his time in New York, Snipes was trained in fighting by his friend and mentor Brooke Ellis.
A few years ago, UFC commentator and BJJ black belt Joe Rogan and Wesley Snipes were close to stepping in the UFC cage and fighting each other.
They exchanged some harsh words through the media, and Rogan has consistently maintained his willingness to “choke out” Snipes.
My new brother A photo posted by Rigan Machado (@riganmachado) on
Regarding BJJ celebrities, 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 celibrity 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.