The Martial Arts Behind Hollywood’s Greatest Fights

April 29, 2016

How much better would “Shakespeare in Love” be if Gwyneth Paltrow had thrown a tornado kick or two into ole’ Billy’s jaw? Or how about a Muy Thai match in the second act of Titanic?

Alas, we must settle for the few gems a year Hollywood cranks out that feature heart-pounding martial art fight sequences. But how authentic are these martial arts, showcased by our favorite actors? We’ve all seen the behind-the-scenes footage where the sweaty actor claims to have spent hours on end training with an expert, but does all that training actually translate to film? The answer is surprisingly nuanced.

Most films that feature a lot of choreographed fight sequences frequently use a combination of many different martial art styles. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the fact that no one martial art looks that great on film. It takes a variety of styles to make the spectacular fight scenes that movie-goers love. Here’s an inside look at some of Hollywood’s most iconic uses of martial arts.

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    Muay Thai

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    This combat style also goes by the name of “the art of 8 limbs.” Do I even need to say anything else? You'll be fighting like a freaking arachnid! This Muay Thai Class offers a full-body workout consisting of stand-up striking and even some clinching techniques. Along with increased stamina and flexibility, Muay Thai training will help improve your strength, balance, and coordination. You'll also develop the proper form and footwork technique to take down the biggest opponent (think Andre the Giant). Who would want to fight someone with 8 effective and dangerous limbs? Exactly.
    Muay Thai

    10654 Magnolia Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Gain confidence and impress your friends when you learn the art of Muay Thai
    • Learn and begin to master the techniques of Muay Thai
    • Enjoy a challenging workout that will get you in shape and make you feel great
    • Try different, fun exercises to tone your body and defend yourself
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    Assault Rifle - Handling, Tactical & Self Defense

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    Handling a gun is a huge responsibility. Are you up for learning how to be safe and mature with your firearms? The Colt Assault Rifle is the infantry rifle that all American military and Special Forces use. When you know how to shoot the AR fast and accurately, it is truly an awesome weapon. Whether you currently own an AR or are intent on buying one, this course will teach you how to set up and operate your weapon in a hostile environment. Your training will include basic operation of the M4 Weapon System, various weapon and sling configurations, advanced optics options, combat rifle fighting stances, after-action drills, high-speed engagements against single and multiple targets, and engaging multiple adversaries in move-and-shoot scenarios. Come to ADE to start your training today.
    Assault Rifle - Handling, Tactical & Self Defense

    12021 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of shooting an Assault Rifle, the weapon of the American military and Special Forces
    • Pick up skills such as basic operation, fighting stances, and high-speed engagements
    • Practice shooting the AR fast and accurately
    • Understand how to set up and operate the weapon in a hostile environment
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    Krav Maga Beginner

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    Krav Maga is about living with confidence, building a healthy body through strength, skill, ability, and agility. Krav Maga is the most effective self defense and hand-to-hand combat system in the world. While military and law enforcement around the world use it on the front lines, the average citizen is using it to get their mind and body in the best shape ever. Our unique training methodology takes people of all walks of life, shapes, and sizes and transforms them into a highly self confident and fit individuals. Schedule a trial class to come experience it for yourself!
    Krav Maga Beginner

    334 S Main St, Los Angeles

    • Strengthen your body while learning self-defense techniques used by the pros
    • Learn the most effective hand-to-hand combat system in the world
    • Undergo thorough training, designed to prepare you to handle real-life violent encounters
    • Increase your strength, stamina, agility, and confidence with an empowering workout
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    Archery

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    If someone you love was chosen for the Hunger Games would you be brave enough to volunteer as tribute? If you did, would you survive? Make Katniss proud by coming out to this archery class! You'll learn the basics of archery, but you will also discover how to shoot arrows in even the stickiest of situations, like while sitting, lying down, walking, or hiding. This class takes a holistic approach to archery, disciplining the mind as well as the body. Your experienced instructor will teach you about the importance of focus and the mind’s energy, and how such factors can affect your performance. Now that you’ve got the skills to survive in the arena, there's only one question left...Team Peeta or Team Gale?
    Archery

    12045 Magnolia Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the philosophy behind traditional Chinese archery
    • Practice in either an indoor or outdoor archery range with the provided equipment
    • Shoot arrows while running, hiding, or lying down
    • Have fun while learning a new skill and making friends!
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    1 positive reviews
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    Krav Maga Trial Class

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    Whip your body and mind into shape with an intense workout, originally developed for the Israeli Defense Force. Krav Maga is a no frills, super efficient way to defend yourself against attacks in real-life situations. No matter what shape you’re in, you'll start with a solid grounding in the fundamental stances, strikes, and defensive moves. And this isn’t a class where you just do repetitive drills over and over again. By constantly mixing up your movements and practicing with a partner, you'll keep your body alert and active, helping you quickly burn calories and build muscle. You will also build a sense of community, getting encouragement from fellow students and holding each other accountable. Between that and the confidence in your own abilities, you'll be ready for anything life -- or anyone -- throws at you.
    Krav Maga Trial Class

    1365 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Explore an intense, no frills system of self-defense
    • Practice super effective strikes and defensive maneuvers
    • Shed weight, build muscle, and gain new confidence
    • No experience necessary
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    Karate

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    There's no such thing as a Fountain of Youth (yet), but there are ways that you can naturally combat the symptoms of an aging body. With Tenshin-Kai, a unique blend of traditional Japanese Karate and Taichi, you'll harness your inner power, or “chi,” to become even stronger as you age! Practice practical self-defense maneuvers like Seiken-zuki (the basic punch), Jodan age-uke (the face block), and Mae-geri (the front kick). Don’t let slower reflexes and aging limbs get in the way -- whip yourself into shape with some karate!
    Karate

    6238 W 87th St, Los Angeles

    • Learn the basics of Tenshin-Kai, a unique blend of traditional Japanese karate and taichi
    • Practice practical self-defense techniques like punches, blocks, and kicks
    • Get in a great workout while improving your strength, coordination, and flexibility
    • Combat age by practicing a form of karate that harnesses your inner power, or “chi”
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    Tai Chi/Qi Gong

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    Phones buzz, taxi cabs rush, day turns to night and back again -- in the middle of all that action it's easy to forget about things as simple as the seasons and the stars. Reconnect with the natural life cycles and open your mind with World Pa Kua Health’s Tai Chi class. This class takes a holistic approach to tai chi, disciplining the mind as well as the body. Your experienced instructor will teach you about Tai Chi’s connection with the natural life cycles and personal introspection, giving you a chance to access higher awareness, awaken your true nature, and develop your potential. You'll learn the basics of tai chi, but you will also discover how the martial art improves health, develops a sense of internal calm, and follows the movements of the universe and the cosmos. Why bother reaching for the stars, when you can reach with them?
    Tai Chi/Qi Gong

    12045 Magnolia Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the philosophy and history behind Tai Chi
    • Practice slow movements in order to learn fighting and self defense techniques
    • Develop strength, control, form, flexibility, and muscle tone
    • Have fun while learning a new skill and making friends!
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    1 positive reviews
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    Beginner Krav Maga - Los Angeles

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    Learning any form of self-defense is great, but what elevates a particular teaching is if it just as street-practical as it is classroom-effective. During this entry-level class, you'll pick up the basics of Krav Maga, a form of self-defense used by the Israeli Defense Forces. You'll learn Krav Maga’s fighting stance and movement, various punches, kicks, and how to defend yourself against chokes, headlocks, and wrist grabs. At Krav Maga Worldwide LA, you'll engage in reality-based training that simulates real life violent confrontations. Learn from experienced instructors who are certified by the Israeli Ministry of Education AND the Krav Maga Association of America! With great practice and discipline, you'll find yourself becoming stronger both physically and mentally. Develop an aggressive fighting spirit without sacrificing safety!
    Beginner Krav Maga - Los Angeles

    11400 Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of Krav Maga, a form of self-defense used by the Israeli Defense Forces
    • Practice maneuvers that are not only effective, but also street-practical
    • Develop your physical and mental strength through drills and self-discipline
    • Train under the best instructors certified by both the Israeli Ministry of Education and the Krav Maga Association of America
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    1 positive reviews
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    Combat Handgun: Handling, Tactical & Self Defense

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    Handling a gun is a huge responsibility. Are you up for learning how to be safe and mature with your firearms? This course takes shooters from the basics all the way through the defensive use of the handgun in a safe and controlled environment. If you have never touched a gun before or haven’t shot in a long time, this is the course for you. Class size is kept small, and there is a very high instructor-to-student ratio, so this course feels like a semi-private lesson. In addition to combat handgun skills, you will also train in our police/military shoot-houses Your training will include safe gun handling, marksmanship, holster presentations, controlled pairs, tactical and emergency reloading, after-engagement actions, engaging multiple opponents, shooting while moving, and basic house-clearing techniques. Come to ADE to start your training today.
    Combat Handgun: Handling, Tactical & Self Defense

    12021 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of using a handgun in a safe and controlled environment
    • Practice skills such as safe gun handling, marksmanship, and tactical/emergency reloads
    • Enjoy a high instructor-to-student ratio for a private feel
    • Train in the shoot-houses that the LA police and U.S. military personnel use
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    Box and Tone

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    It's time for a workout that really packs a punch! In this hour-long class, you'll work under the instruction of professionally-trained black belts to give your body an intense and invigorating workout. You'll combine boxing, cardio, and strength training as you learn boxing and kicking combinations using professional-quality mitts, gloves, and bags. Get ready to work up a sweat, because you'll push yourself non-stop for an hour with this high-energy class. Get ready to be a total knockout!
    Box and Tone

    14396 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks

    • Experience a high-energy boxing-based workout with professional, black-belt instructors
    • Feel the burn of combining boxing, cardio, and strength-training in one workout
    • Use professional equipment, such as gloves and bags, as you learn killer punching and kicking combos
    • Give your workout an energy boost with this fun and engaging class
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