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In The Arena Blog

Great Movies That Feature Jiu-Jitsu

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If you love the world of San Diego Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and spend your free time practicing techniques and training, you might also want to spend some of your downtime enjoying movies that feature Jiu-Jitsu prominently. Not only is it great entertainment, it can inspire you in regards to your own training.

While you might think that a martial arts movie would be all fight and no story, this certainly is not the case with “Warrior.” This film, which stars Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, is not only filled with some great fight scenes, the story is riveting. Hardy and Edgerton play brothers who have not spoken in years, much of this due to conflicts surrounding their father, a recovering alcoholic. Both have entered a martial arts competition in order to win the prize, which is several million dollars. One intends to use the money to help the family of a fallen marine, while the other is trying to save his home and take care of his family. In the end, the two brothers face each other for the grand prize. As for Jiu-Jitsu, this is the skill that the older brother utilizes in the ring, so you see some excellent BJJ scenes.

David Mamet, who has a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, has a clear appreciation for martial arts; after all he named one of his most famous films, “Ronin,” the word for a masterless samurai. “Redbelt,” is another of Mamet’s effort and features the story of a Jiu-Jitsu instructor who resists fighting in competitions because he believes it to be “weakening.” In the end, a series of complicated events basically forces him to enter a competition. Both Enson Inoue and Randy Couture have small roles in the film.

For many Americans, their first look at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, whether they knew it or not, came about while watching the blockbuster movie “Lethal Weapon”. During the final fight scene, Riggs (Mel Gibson) defeats Joshua (played by Gary Busey) using a very effective triangle choke. Gibson’s Jiu-Jitsu skills were taught to him by none other than Rorion Gracie, who worked on the film prior to opening the first Gracie Barra school and prior to developing the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Some movies are just not very good, but they perhaps have some parts that are worth watching. A good example of this would be “Brazilian Brawl.” While no one would argue that the Machado brothers are amazing at Jiu-Jitsu, their acting does leave something to be desired. Nevertheless, all five of them are featured in this film, so if nothing else, you will enjoy some fantastic fight scenes. Carlos Machado also choreographed fight scenes and occasionally was featured in episodes of “Walker, Texas Ranger.” So, consider watching a few episodes of that 1980s Chuck Norris classic.

It would certainly be convenient if you could become proficient in Jiu-Jitsu moves in a matter of minutes, but alas, that can only happen in the movies, specifically “The Matrix.” After Neo asks, “I’m going to learn Jiu-Jitsu?” he is plugged into the matrix and later, he emerges saying, “I know Kung Fu.” He doesn’t really ever demonstrate the Jiu-Jitsu skills, but the film’s martial arts scenes are considered to be some of the best fights scenes in the history of film.

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