Who Trained John Wick Martial Arts?

by Barbara

The action movie genre has a rich history of iconic characters who leave a lasting impact on audiences. One such character is John Wick, portrayed by Keanu Reeves. John Wick stands out not only for its intense action sequences but also for its meticulous choreography and realistic portrayal of martial arts. This article delves into the training regimen and the martial arts disciplines that transformed Keanu Reeves into the formidable John Wick.

Keanu Reeves: The Actor Behind John Wick

Keanu Reeves is known for his dedication and commitment to his roles. His portrayal of John Wick required an exceptional level of physical fitness and proficiency in various martial arts. Reeves is no stranger to action roles, having previously starred in “The Matrix” series. However, the training for John Wick was unique and extensive, demanding a different set of skills and a rigorous preparation period.


The Training Regimen

Reeves’ preparation for John Wick was comprehensive, encompassing multiple aspects of physical conditioning and martial arts training. His regimen was designed to build strength, agility, and endurance while mastering various combat techniques. This training was essential to portray John Wick as a relentless and skilled assassin.


Chad Stahelski: The Director and Mentor

Chad Stahelski, a former stuntman and martial artist, played a pivotal role in Reeves’ transformation. Stahelski’s background in martial arts and stunt work made him the perfect mentor for Reeves. Stahelski not only directed the films but also provided invaluable guidance in Reeves’ training.


Martial Arts Disciplines

The John Wick franchise incorporates a blend of several martial arts disciplines, each contributing to the character’s unique fighting style. These disciplines include Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a modern tactical shooting method known as “Gun Fu.”


Judo plays a significant role in John Wick’s fighting style. This Japanese martial art focuses on throws and grappling techniques, allowing Wick to neutralize opponents efficiently. Judo’s emphasis on leverage and balance is evident in the film’s fight sequences. Reeves trained extensively in Judo, learning how to execute throws, joint locks, and pins with precision.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is another cornerstone of Wick’s combat style. BJJ specializes in ground fighting and submission holds, enabling Wick to control and incapacitate opponents on the ground. Reeves trained under the guidance of experienced BJJ practitioners to master these techniques. His BJJ training involved drilling various positions, transitions, and submission holds to create a realistic and effective fighting style.

Gun Fu

One of the most distinctive elements of John Wick’s fighting style is “Gun Fu.” This term describes a combination of firearm proficiency and close-quarters combat techniques. Gun Fu is characterized by fluid movements that seamlessly integrate shooting and hand-to-hand combat. Reeves trained with firearms experts to develop the skills needed for this hybrid fighting style. His training included tactical shooting drills, movement exercises, and practicing weapon transitions.


Collaborating with Martial Arts Experts

Reeves’ training for John Wick involved collaboration with several martial arts experts. These professionals provided specialized instruction in their respective disciplines, ensuring that Reeves’ performance was both authentic and impressive. Some of the key figures in his training include:

Higan Machado

Higan Machado, a renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, played a crucial role in Reeves’ BJJ training. Machado’s expertise helped Reeves develop a solid foundation in ground fighting techniques. Under Machado’s tutelage, Reeves learned to execute submissions, escapes, and transitions with skill and confidence.

Jonathan Eusebio

Jonathan Eusebio, a martial arts choreographer and stunt coordinator, contributed significantly to the fight choreography in the John Wick films. Eusebio’s background in various martial arts, including Kali and Silat, added depth to Wick’s combat style. His choreography emphasized realism and practicality, ensuring that the fight scenes were both visually stunning and believable.

Taran Butler

Taran Butler, a world-class competitive shooter, was instrumental in Reeves’ firearms training. Butler’s expertise in tactical shooting helped Reeves develop the precision and efficiency needed for Gun Fu. Reeves trained extensively at Butler’s range, practicing marksmanship, weapon handling, and movement drills.

Incorporating Martial Arts into John Wick’s Character

The integration of multiple martial arts disciplines is what makes John Wick’s fighting style so distinctive. Each technique is carefully choreographed to showcase Wick’s proficiency and adaptability. The blend of Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Gun Fu creates a seamless and dynamic combat style that is both realistic and cinematic.

Realism and Authenticity in Fight Scenes

One of the standout features of the John Wick films is the commitment to realism and authenticity in the fight scenes. The choreography emphasizes practical techniques that can be applied in real-world combat situations. This approach sets John Wick apart from other action films, where exaggerated and unrealistic moves are often used for dramatic effect.

The Role of Conditioning and Physical Fitness

In addition to martial arts training, physical conditioning played a vital role in Reeves’ preparation. The demands of performing intense fight sequences required exceptional strength, endurance, and agility. Reeves followed a rigorous fitness regimen that included weight training, cardiovascular exercises, and flexibility work. This conditioning ensured that he could perform the demanding choreography without injury or fatigue.

Reeves’ Dedication and Work Ethic

Keanu Reeves’ dedication to his training is a testament to his work ethic and commitment to his craft. He spent months preparing for each film, often training for several hours a day. His willingness to push himself and embrace the challenges of learning new skills contributed significantly to the success of the John Wick franchise.

Training for Specific Fight Scenes

Each John Wick film features unique and memorable fight scenes, each requiring specialized training and preparation. For example, the famous nightclub fight scene in the first film involved intricate choreography and precise timing. Reeves had to master the sequence of moves, which included Judo throws, BJJ submissions, and tactical shooting, to create a seamless and impactful scene.

Evolution of John Wick’s Fighting Style

As the John Wick series progressed, so did the complexity and sophistication of the fight scenes. Each subsequent film introduced new elements and techniques, reflecting Wick’s evolution as a character. Reeves’ training adapted to these changes, incorporating new disciplines and refining existing skills to meet the demands of each film.

Impact on the Action Genre

The success of the John Wick films has had a significant impact on the action genre. The emphasis on realistic martial arts and practical fight choreography has set a new standard for action films. Other filmmakers have taken note, and the influence of John Wick can be seen in the increased focus on authentic combat techniques in recent action movies.

The Legacy of John Wick

The legacy of John Wick extends beyond the films themselves. The character has become a cultural icon, admired for his skill, determination, and resilience. The meticulous training and preparation that Keanu Reeves underwent to portray John Wick have contributed to this legacy, creating a character that resonates with audiences worldwide.


The journey to becoming John Wick was a demanding and transformative process for Keanu Reeves. Through rigorous training and the guidance of martial arts experts, Reeves developed the skills and proficiency needed to bring the character to life. The blend of Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Gun Fu created a unique and realistic fighting style that set John Wick apart from other action films. Reeves’ dedication to his craft and the commitment to authenticity in the fight scenes have left a lasting impact on the action genre, establishing John Wick as an iconic and influential character in cinematic history.

In the end, the story of who trained John Wick in martial arts is one of collaboration, discipline, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. The combined efforts of Keanu Reeves, Chad Stahelski, and a team of martial arts experts have created a character and a series of films that continue to captivate and inspire audiences around the world.

Related topics:





You may also like


Rnada is a movie portal. The main columns include trailers, movie reviews, celebrities, movie knowledge, news

Copyright © 2023