Every time Shia LaBeouf does some weird new “art” installment or another celebrity names their kid something goofy (seriously, if we see one more baby named after a f*cking nautical direction…), we all think the same thing: Hollywood is soft. It’s a city filled with a bunch of spoiled rotten brats, running around in Bugatti’s and crying over spilled Moet. But in the city of Twitter beefs and “hot yoga” enthusiasts, there are some celebrities who can still stand and bang with the best of ‘em. Here are 8 celebrities you didn’t know could kick your ass:
You know Christian Bale from his roles in American Psycho, Equilibrium and, of course, The Dark Knight series (and Batman Begins!). For as much of a hard-ass as he is on-screen, he’s equally gnarly in real life. Bale trains Kung Fu regularly and did an extensive amount of training at a boxing gym before walking onto the set of Reign of Fire. He probably isn’t the kind of guy you’d want to square up with, even if that weird mustache goatee thing he’s always doing looks ridiculous.
When he wasn’t playing America’s favorite family man Al Bundy on Married… with Children, Ed O’Neil was apparently learning the art of kicking ass. No really… O’Neil has trained for over 20 years in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and in 2007 even received his black belt in the martial art.
Comedian, successful podcaster, documentarian, UFC announcer, and all-around bad ass, Joe Rogan has practiced Taekwondo since he was a teenager. Comedy’s knock-around guy (lest we forget the time he almost kicked the shit out of Carlos Mencia for stealing material) has a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, a Black Belt from 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, and a Blue Belt in Judo. The man is an absolute savage.
Our boy may not be able to sink a three-pointer if his life depended on it these days, but Kobe Bryant is actually a very skilled, very dedicated martial artist. A big fan of Bruce Lee as a child (Fun Fact: Bryant was in a rap group named CHEIZAW, named after a gang in a Kung Fu film called Kid with the Golden Arm) and dedicated a ton of time and effort to learning Bruce Lee’s very own martial art—Jeet Kune Do.
Wild card! Did he play one of the most epic badasses in film history as Neo in The Matrix? Yes. But did he also play a leading part in that God-awful The Lake House movie? He sure did. Worry not, though, because the man is definitely a real-life bad ass. Aside from a moderate background in martial arts, Reeves is actually incredibly handy with a gun (or several of them, really).
In preparation for his roll in Only God Forgives, Gosling studied extensively with Muay Thai master trainer Kui Puk. He presumably continued on with his lessons so that he could kick clothing off unsuspecting girlfriends everywhere. UGH, TAKE ALL THE WOMEN WHY DON’T YOU, GOSLING. JUST TAKE ‘EM, YOU SON OF A BITCH.
Robert Downey Jr.
Martial Arts was one of the key aspects to Robert Downey Jr.’s recovery from alcoholism, according to Eric Oram, the instructor who has spent the last 12 years training Downey Jr. in the art of Wing Chun. Oram has said in numerous interviews that Downey Jr. is one of the most dedicated students he’s ever seen, and we’re keen to believe it.
Yup. Aside from playing the best version of James Bond ever to appear on screen, Sir Thomas Sean Connery is also a Shodan (first level Black Belt) in Kyokushin karate, a stand-up, full contact, and heavy striking style of Japanese karate. And in preparation for Never Say Never Again, Connery even trained with none other than Steven Seagal, who apparently broke Connery’s wrist because he was goofing around on set.