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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    Tai Chi

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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

    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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    Muay Thai

    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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    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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    Muay Thai

    Do you find yourself always zoning out -- maybe even on the verge of falling asleep -- while you're running on the treadmill? If you need to spice up your daily workout routine with something that will surely keep you awake and energized, give Muay Thai a try! Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is Thailand's national combat sport. Also a form of self-defense, it engages the entire body, focusing especially on a combination of the hands, feet, elbows, and knees as striking tools. A typical Muay Thai class involves training your footwork, movement, and balance, as well as your ability to throw and to clinch. Who needs a treadmill machine when you can transform your own body into a fighting machine?
    Muay Thai

    2210 Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing -- the country's national sport
    • Use a combination of your hands, feet, elbows, and knees as powerful striking tools
    • Improve your stamina and overall fitness with a strict regiment of footwork, movement, balance, and more
    • Practice developing hand-to-hand weapons
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    Beginners Krav Maga

    Developed for the Israeli armed forces, Krav Maga is a no frills, devastatingly effective system of self-defense. Designed to be practical and intuitive, it's perfect for practitioners of all shapes and sizes. Under the guidance of your expert instructor, you will practice proper fighting stances and powerful strikes, and defensive moves like blocks, headlocks, and choke-holds. As you train, you'll develop speed, coordination, incredible core strength, and the confidence to defend yourself against an opponent of any size.
    Beginners Krav Maga

    13347 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn fundamental Krav Maga moves and techniques, just like they are taught in Israel
    • Improve endurance, strength, speed, flexibility, and posture
    • Learn hand-to-hand combat and counter techniques against chokes, bear hugs, and take-downs
    • No experience necessary
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    Intro to Mixed Martial Arts

    Today, all the top fighters in the UFC train Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and the combination of those two arts has come to be considered a new art, MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts! During this introductory class, you'll learn the fundamentals of MMA fighting, including kicks, punches, and stances. You will uncover these maneuvers with the help of a trained professional and see firsthand how MMA doubles as an extremely effective self-defense system. Get the greatest workout of your life while increasing your stamina, flexibility, and coordination, all the while gaining confidence, knowing you can protect yourself in any situation. Plus, there's no better way to blow off steam!
    Intro to Mixed Martial Arts

    2028 Stoner Ave, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a self-defense system that combines elements of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai boxing
    • Improve your coordination, flexibility, strength, and stamina under the guidance of a professional
    • Gain an understanding of practical self-defense skills while boosting your overall health
    • No experience necessary
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    Muay Thai

    Been hanging with friends over Mai Tais? Let's change that spelling a little, have you try something that's actually GOOD for you -- Muay Thai, a martial-art style that will get you in great shape and teach you important skills! With the help of an expert Watts instructor, you'll learn the basics of what's known as the "Art of 8 Limbs". You'll start slowly, but after a little bit of practice, you'll be able to work on your moves in real time with some live sparring. You'll soon be in the best shape of your life, and your self-esteem and confidence will be through the roof! And then if you want to follow up your Muay Thai with a celebratory Mai Tai, well, who are we to judge? You've earned it!
    Muay Thai

    4210 E Los Angeles Ave, Simi Valley

    • Learn the fundamentals of Muay Thai, a martial art style that will leave you in the best shape of your life
    • Increase your self-esteem, focus, and confidence by working hard to reach goals
    • Receive expert instruction tailored to your individual needs
    • Make new friends in a welcoming environment
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    Beginner Krav Maga - Sherman Oaks

    (1)
    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 - Sherman Oaks

    15233 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks

    • 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
    BOOK NOW ← Back
    1 positive reviews
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    Boxing

    Give exercise the old "one-two" and get into boxing. In this class, you'll combine super effective self-defense skills with full-body conditioning. Your expert instructor will teach you the fundamental punches, dips, ducks, and footwork that make up quick and powerful boxing technique. As you learn to defend yourself, you'll be increasing your strength, toning every muscle in your body, and improving your endurance. After this class, you will truly be floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. Maybe you might even get your own training montage too!
    Boxing

    714-716 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles

    • Discover the intense, exciting world of boxing
    • Learn fundamental punches, defense moves and necessary footwork
    • Increase your strength, speed, and endurance with fun workouts
    • Gain the tools to defend yourself against any opponent
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    Beginners Boxing

    Step away from the treadmill and up to the punching bag. Boxing is an incredible workout that combines cardio, strength training, and practical self-defense techniques. Your expert instructor will teach you the proper form for powerful, controlled jabs, hooks, crosses, and uppercuts, plus essential footwork and defensive maneuvers. As you train, you'll gain strength, muscle tone, speed, and endurance... not to mention the confidence that comes with knowing how to throw a darn good punch!
    Beginners Boxing

    13347 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the fundamentals of boxing
    • Build noticeable muscle, speed, and stamina
    • Learn self-defense techniques to prepare yourself for any situation
    • No experience necessary
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