The Martial Arts Behind Hollywood's Greatest Fights

January 24, 2020

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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    Jiu Jitsu (No Gi)

    To gi, or not to gi...that is the question. Allow us to make the decision for you --- NOT TO GI! Come down to 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu West LA in your gymwear of choice and learn the fundamentals of No Gi Jiu Jitsu. The sport uses similar moves as its robed counterpart, however they are executed slightly differently because your opponent doesn't have sleeves to pull on for leverage. An expert instructor will teach you the basics of Jiu Jitsu. You'll start slow but then, once you've got a grip on things, you'll take part in some live sparring to really get the blood pumping! And then, once you're back at home, all showered and refreshed.... THAT's the time to put on that comfy, cozy robe.
    Jiu Jitsu (No Gi)

    1080 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the basics of No Gi Jiu Jitsu, with the help of an expert instructor who will show you the ropes
    • Get in great shape as you practice fundamental moves and then engage in live sparring
    • Walk out of class with handy self-defense techniques that are both practical and a ton of fun
    • Wear your preferred gym clothes -- this is a No Gi class!
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    Tai Chi Trial

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    When a style of martial arts has been practiced for hundreds of years, like Tai Chi has, you can bet it's effective! Come see for yourself in this free-trial Tai Chi class at the West LA School of Martial Arts. Practicing Tai Chi will help you develop both a better body and mind. In this class, you'll learn movements and poses that will get you in great shape by increasing your flexibility, agility, and strength, as well as giving you great mental health benefits. Tai Chi is built on foundation of mindfulness of your body and surroundings, with an emphasis on meditation, breathing, and coordination. It is likely that you'll feel an instant decrease in stress after this class. Plus, you'll learn how to improve your balance, which could help alleviate muscle pain and soreness. So, what are you waiting for? With all these benefits, there's no reason to NOT practice Tai Chi!
    Tai Chi Trial

    11512 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the basics of the ancient art of Tai Chi in a professionally-led, all-levels-welcome class
    • Pick up techniques that will help you become more mindful of your surroundings and the movements of your body
    • Feel a boost in both your mental and physical health with this natural healing system
    • Get a confidence and energy boost that you'll certainly take home with you
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    1 positive reviews
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    Martial Arts Trial

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    Looking to spice up your workout while also learning some important skills? Try out this free martial-arts class where you'll learn self-defense techniques that could one day come in handy in a pinch! You'll start with a series of drills that will teach you the fundamentals of striking, grappling, throwing, and submissions. Along the way, you'll also get a great workout that will burn calories and build muscle. Once you're comfortable with the techniques, you'll get the chance to engage in some live sparring sessions with classmates. But the best part? For the entire class, you'll be learning skills and techniques that you'll be able to use for the rest of your life -- whether in a classroom, dojo setting or in a real-world self-defense application. So, why not try this class....just for kicks!
    Martial Arts Trial

    11512 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn the basics of martial arts in a professionally-led, fitness-focused class
    • Execute a series of drills that will develop your skills in striking, grappling, throwing, and submissions
    • Get an incredible full-body workout as you train all of your core muscles
    • Develop very practical self-defense skills that could one day prove to be greatly helpful
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    Tai-Chi

    Almost all fitness programs help you attain a better physique, but how many of them actually help to train the brain? Kill two birds with one stone through Tai Chi, a legendary martial art that will bring together your mind and body to act as one! Anybody who has ever tried to practice traditional Tai Chi at least once understands that it is not a simple relaxation exercise, but a great practical art, the study of which will aid you on your journey towards finding your true self, revealing your potential, and reaching self-fulfillment. Learn body control, balance, and timing as part of your training, and begin to see more intrinsic and internal benefits once you absorb the foundation of this art. Develop greater breathing control, flexibility, and mental focus as you unify your being and truly take control of every aspect of your self!
    Tai-Chi

    12217 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Become familiar with the basic moves of Tai Chi, a martial art that focuses equally on the mind as it does on body
    • Learn breathing control, balance, external movements, and proper timing
    • Develop a keen knowledge of yourself as you improve your speed and mental clarity
    • Practice a useful new set of skills in an encouraging and welcoming environment
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    Beginners Capoeira (USC Campus)

    Mix the kicks of martial arts with acrobatic spins and flips, set it to the exciting rhythms of live Afro-Brazilian music, and what do you get? -- Capoeira! In this class, you will learn the fundamental footwork, sweeping kicks, and impressive spins that make up a Capoeria-styled match. Practice improvising moves with a partner to create a breathtaking routine. As you train, you'll be getting into amazing shape, burning tons of calories and building incredible endurance through constant movement. Get into the best shape of your life while having the time of your life -- the best of both worlds!
    Beginners Capoeira (USC Campus)

    2306 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles

    • Experience a thrilling combination of martial arts and dance with Capoeria
    • Lean to execute sweeping kicks and acrobatic spins and flips
    • Develop incredible endurance, flexibility, and strength
    • No experience necessary
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    Introductory Defensive Handgun

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    International Tactical Training Seminars, Inc. is a world-renowned firearm and tactics training school. ITTS classes are taught by a cadre of LAPD SWAT instructors who have all had considerable first-hand experience in the field -- they practice what they preach! Experience the most straightforward training in the most compressed time possible. The principles you will learn in Handgun 1 will serve as the basis upon which all other ITTS classes are built -- Carbine, Shotgun, Sniper, and Specialty Courses. Learn the local gun laws, how to set up a safe room, achieve accurate shots, hit reactive steel targets, and gain the confidence to control and manipulate a handgun on your own. Whether you come just for fun or because you want to protect yourself and your loved ones, this class will be an incredibly valuable experience.
    Introductory Defensive Handgun

    149 S Barrington Ave, Los Angeles

    • Learn to be a responsible gun owner so you can mitigate the potential risks and hazards of having a weapon in your home
    • Discuss situational awareness, so that you will be properly prepared for any instance that calls for drawing of your gun
    • Practice loading and unloading, cleaning your weapon, and aiming at targets
    • Develop a solid foundation of gun knowledge so that you can take more extensive classes
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    7 positive reviews
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    Kung Fu

    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting...and now, you can as well! During this class, you'll learn how to crouch like a tiger and stay hidden like a dragon as the basic techniques of this ancient Chinese martial art are taught to you by a trained professional. As you practice breathing control, basic stretches, and stances, you'll improve your circulatory system, strengthen your nerves, and build up immunity through a series of movements and exercises that make muscles and tendons strong, ligaments flexible, and joints more mobile. Bring your body and mind to a more perfect level of coordination and feel prepared in the face of danger, knowing you have full control over your emotions, mind, strength, and movements. All of this is Kung Fu: a martial art that guards your health and is, in fact, an art of life.
    Kung Fu

    12217 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Become familiar with the basic tenants of Kung Fu, a martial art that focuses equally on the mind and body
    • Learn breathing control, balance, external movements, and proper timing
    • Develop a keen knowledge of yourself as you improve your speed and mental clarity
    • Practice a useful new set of skills in an encouraging and welcoming environment
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    Boxing

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    You were late to work, you spilled coffee on your white shirt, and you lost the keys to your place. Really, all you want is a boxing session to vent your frustration. You've simply outgrown the old scream-into-your-pillow trick. Whatever the case may be, this boxing class at A4 Fitness has something in store for everyone! Fun, informative, and safe, boxing is a great way to get rid of your frustrations, build endurance, and learn how to protect yourself. Under the guidance of an experienced boxing coach, you will learn effective combinations of footwork, balance and head movement that will help you better understand defense and punch delivery. So not only are you getting a great, mind-clearing workout in, but you're also training -- disciplining -- your body to move in technical, calculated ways.
    Boxing

    2210 Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles

    • Learn what boxing is all about under the guidance of experienced boxing coaches
    • Run through combinations of footwork, head movement, and punch delivery
    • Gain a better understanding of how to use the structure of your body to defend and to deliver hard-hitting punches
    • Loosen up and sweat out your frustrations during this hour session
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    Muay Thai

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    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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    6 positive reviews
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    Heavybag Training (Trial Class)

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    In KMU Heavybag Training, originally created for Krav Maga students, instructors mix in bodyweight style training to increase the intensity and toning power of every workout. The result is a fast-paced 60-minute training session that torches up to 1,000 calories while building agility, speed, mobility, strength, power and cardiovascular endurance. Students rapidly improve their physiques as well as their ground and standup fight skills. Sounds exciting, right? It certainly is. Every 60-minute session delivers a constantly varied, hardcore full body workout that keeps your mind engaged and your body challenged. And let’s be honest here—hitting things for fun can also make you feel like a badass, giving you some much-needed catharsis and stress relief. Give KMU Heavy Bag Training your all and you’ll quickly slim down, tone up, move faster, feel stronger, hit and kick harder.
    Heavybag Training (Trial Class)

    334 S Main St, Los Angeles

    • Get a high-intensity workout and become a lean, mean fighting machine
    • Get toned, build muscle and bolster your cardiovascular health
    • Take out your frustration on an unsuspecting punching bag
    • Open to people at any stop along your fitness journey
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    2 positive reviews

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