The Secrets Behind Keanu Reeves’ Martial Arts Skills Revealed

The secrets behind Keanu Reeves martial arts skills revealed

Although he started his career as an ordinary teen actor, Keanu Reeves eventually established his reputation as one of the most successful action movie actors ever.

Beginning with his box-office hit Speed and the critically acclaimed The Matrix franchise, Keanu never fails to amaze the audience with his deadly moves!

Like many other actors who opt out of action-packed stunts as they age, Keanu seems to master more martial arts as time passes!

With his second shot at stardom with the John Wick franchise, Keanu Reeves constantly delivers bone-breaking fight scenes and other vehicle stunts in the movies.

Keanu Reeves in the John Wick franchise

(No, but for real, our body hurts just by watching him as John Wick)

While it’s common for Hollywood actors to do their own stunts, not many can brag about having mastered several martial arts! Yep, Keanu Reeves doesn’t only do street-brawling techniques in his movies. As a matter of fact, he has learned martial arts ever since he was cast in The Matrix in 1999!

If you’re looking for motivation to get in shape or inspiration for your new fitness regime, read on; perhaps you can be as fit as Keanu Reeves way to your 50s!

How Did Keanu Reeves Train His Martial Arts Skills? The #1 Hollywood Martial Arts Movie Star

While one of his first successes in the action genre was with the 1994 movie Speed, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that Keanu Reeves started learning martial arts. According to Movie Web, after being cast as the main character in The Matrix, Keanu underwent intense training sessions in karate and kung-fu.

Keanu Reeves as Neo learning martial arts

For the following three years, Keanu continued to train in both varieties of martial arts, with the addition of judo and wushu. His passion for martial arts later got him to direct and star in Man of Tai-Chi, inspired by the life of his friend and a professional stuntman, Tiger Chen.

Read Also: Uncovering the Secrets of the High Table from John Wick

Fun Fact: With his extensive skills and martial arts knowledge, you must think that Keanu Reeves has at least one black belt, right?

Well, he doesn’t, at least not by the usual exam! He’s known to have a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and earned an honorary black belt in Judo from the three-time Judo Olympic champion, Nomura Tadahiro.

When he was cast as the titular role in the John Wick franchise, Keanu Reeves expanded his martial arts repertoire with lessons in Krav Maga, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, and boxing.

In an interview, Keanu revealed that his judo skills got him “just a little higher hand.”

Thanks to his experience in judo, he became a bit more familiar with weapons training and knife slashing. It probably explains his ability to turn a pencil into a deadly weapon, too!

On the other hand, John Wick’s director, Jonathan Eusebio, shared with Maxim that Keanu began training Aikido to prepare for the franchise’s third installment since he would have more scenes “fighting multiple opponents at the same time.”

In 2021, the Tae Kwon Do Life Magazine named Keanu Reeves as the biggest martial arts movie star in the world, with ten martial arts he had practiced in his films and his enormous success.

What Martial Arts Does Keanu Reeves Know? Inside His Intense Fitness Regime

Keanu Reeves training martial arts

Keanu Reeves may be nearing 60, but that doesn’t mean he will stop soon! Since his introduction to martial arts in the 1990s, Keanu has been in love with the sport ever since. The actor reportedly practices at least ten types of martial arts, which we have seen in his movies!

Also Read: What the Late Lance Reddick Left Behind: John Wick Spinoff “Ballerina”

Now, in case you want to copy Keanu Reeves’ intense fitness regime on your daily routine, read the complete list below!


Keanu Reeves training kung fu in matrix

Keanu Reeves started learning kung-fu when he was cast in The Matrix. To prepare for the fight scenes in the movies, all main cast were required to undergo months of intense training with Yuen Woo-ping, the famed martial arts choreographer.

For his role in the John Wick franchise, Keanu later put a twist on his kung-fu skills. Combining martial art with weaponry, he mainly practices gun-fu as the assassin’s main fighting style.


johnwick judo technique

Spending four months to learn judo shortly after he got the role as John Wick, Keanu Reeves made it his personal mission to return to his action movie glory as he did in The Matrix.

Keanu’s stunt double, Chad Stahelski, revealed that Keanu’s new skill in judo allows him to mix martial arts with guns, almost like the gun-fu technique.

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

If you’re a fan of the John Wick franchise, you might notice that often our favorite assassin was left with nothing but his bare hand and was forced to pull and grapple his enemies. That, my friend, is you witnessing Keanu Reeves’ skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!

Although he only started training in this martial art in 2020, he has shown excellent skills in many complicated techniques.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise when you discover that Keanu is the protégé of the legendary The Machado Brothers!


Keanu Reeves Akido

Focusing on redirecting the enemy’s attack and throwing them around, Keanu Reeves trained Aikido for four months to prepare for his role in John Wick.

This technique is crucial in the third installment of the John Wick series, as John is now on the run, so he doesn’t have the luxury of spare time while fighting.


After seeing how he turned a mere pencil into a murder weapon, you surely wouldn’t think Keanu Reeves didn’t train in karate, right?

John Wick turned a mere pencil into a murder weapon

Literally translated as “empty hand,” karate allows Keanu to punch, kick, and defeat his opponents with bare hands! Karate is one martial art that Keanu has practiced for years, along with kung-fu.

He started learning karate for The Matrix and has been practicing martial art ever since.

Fun Fact: Do you know that one of the main reasons Keanu Reeves applying different fighting techniques in The Matrix and John Wick is because the latter was short of production time?

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The movie director, Chad Stahelski, claimed that they “don’t want to risk punching and kicking” for the whole movie because it could injure Keanu’s back.

Welp, those are some of the martial arts skills Keanu Reeves mastered. With his passion for sports, it’s no surprise that he decided to learn yet another variety of martial arts for his upcoming projects!

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