There are over one hundred martial arts that come from all corners of the globe. But the most popular around the world and in the United States include Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kung Fu, Karate, and Taekwondo.
Over the years, we've seen quite a few famous faces training in at least one form of martial arts.
Some of our former presidents practiced mixed martial arts disciplines. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were both respected wrestlers in their time. Wrestling is not a martial art, but it is a necessity in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Theodore Roosevelt studied Jiu Jitsu and Judo. Even Bill Clinton has trained in Taekwondo.
If you think those names are surprising, you'll be stunned at some of the celebrities who study martial arts. Robert Downey Jr. of the Iron Man film series is training in kung-fu and is allegedly well on his way to becoming an instructor. Taylor Lautner, who is known for his roles in the Twilight film adaptations has won several awards and medals in karate. Film actress Jessica Alba does tae-bo and a host of different martial arts. She is also known for doing her own stunts.
Some other famous martial artists are:
- Criss Angel, a magician with a hit television show, trained in Karate, Taekwondo and Kung Fu.
- Actor James Cagney was a black belt in Judo.
- Singer Elvis Presley studied Kempo.
- Former Soviet Union President Vladimir Putin is a black belt in Judo.
- Actor Robert Downey, Jr. trains in Kung Fu.
- Action adventure star Steven Seagal is a black belt in Aikido and the first westerner allowed to open a school in Japan.
- Actor Jet Li has studied Wushu and Fan Zi Quan.
- Jackie Chan, comedic and action adventure actor, is a very talented product of the Beijing Opera--who train students in martial artistry and weapons.
- Tang Soo Do is what Chuck Norris is most known for. He has taught it to Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley and Donny Osmond.
- Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is a black belt in Taekwondo and spent some time studying kickboxing.
- Ed O'Neill, from “Married with Children”, has a black belt in Brazilian Jujutsu.