Any martial artist will know just how prestigious the black belt is, but especially in BJJ. On average it can take between 10-15 years to get your black belt in BJJ, meaning a lot of time, dedication and commitment has gotten you to that level. It’s always interesting when a celebrity has a black belt in a martial art, because the question arises: How do they find the time to do it? Here are 10 celebs who are all BJJ black belts, some you may already know, others might surprise you. So here they are, In no particular order…
1. Sean Patrick Flanery
The Boondock Saints actor was awarded his black belt in 2008 by Renzo Gracie black belt Shawn Williams. The Hollywood actor doesn’t just feature in blockbuster films, he teaches classes at Hollywood BJJ, alongside elite competitor Jeff Glover.
2. Guy Ritchie
The “Snatch” and “Sherlock Holmes” director and famous Madonna’s ex was awarded the his black belt by head coach Renzo Gracie in 2015 and is also a Judo black belt. Ritchie started training with his good friend Jason Statham around the same time, in the early 2000’s.
3. Joe Rogan
He does it all – from Fear Factor, to stand up comedy, to UFC commentating, to podcasts, to Jiu Jitsu! Rogan has been practicing martial arts all his life. He was a frequent Taekwondo competitor in his younger days. He’s also Black Belt in BJJ under Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. In 2012, his first black belt was given to him by Bravo and then subsequently with a Gi (a martial arts uniform) by Jean Jacques-Machado.
4. Paul Walker
Paul Walker was awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt at his memorial service after he died in a horrific car accident. He was awarded a posthumous black belt from friend, coach and Paragon BJJ owner Ricardo Franjinha Miller. In his speech Miller spoke about Paul’s BJJ path saying, “I know he will reach it one day. So in his memory, I presented it to his dad at his memorial.”
5. Rikki Rocket
The drummer of rock band Poison, is one of the highest-ranking BJJ celebrities as a 2nd-degree black belt. He trains under Renato Magno at Street Sports Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s been an avid student since 1998. He was awarded his black belt after 12 years of training.
6. Ed O’Neill
Ed O’Neill, most commonly known for his role as Al Bundy in ‘Married With Children,’ is also a BJJ black belt. O’Neill trains at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, Calif. and received his black belt from the legendary Rorion Gracie. He was probably one of the first celebrities to get involved with BJJ, and started training all the way back in 1991 – before the first UFC ever existed.
7. Scott Caan
Hawaii Five-0 and “Ocean’s Eleven” actor Scott Caan is a bona fide BJJ black belt, who was promoted in 2016 by his coach Marcus Vinicius after 15 years of training. Caan trains at Egan Inoue’s Grappling Unlimited Academy in Hawaii.
8. The Undertaker
Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) – Yes, the WWE superstar and beast of a man earned his black belt from Rolles Gracie in 2011. Conflict somewhat surrounded the granting of his black belt. “Many within the BJJ community including renowned practitioner Joe Rogan derided Rolles. The criticism focused on the fact that the MMA star had never trained in the Gi or even attempted a submission within the octagon.” Facing that guy on the mats is a vercy scary thought though, even without the make-up.
9. Clark Gregg
Expect no less from Marvel’s Agent of Shield, Clark Gregg, a badass in and out of character. Gregg was awarded his BJJ black belt by Renato Magno in 2015 at Street Sports BJJ in Santa Monica, Calif.
10. Chuck Norris
The world’s most dangerous man is also the most highly ranked celebrity BJJ practitioner. Having pursued the sport for over 30 years, he was awarded his BJJ black belt under the Machado brother. Norris has been a 3rd degree black belt since 2015. He holds a number of black belts, including: 10th dan in Chun Kuk Do, 9th dan black belt in Tang Soo Do, 8th dan black belt in Taekwondo, BJJ black belt and a black belt in Judo.