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Does Tom Cruise do Jiu-Jitsu?

Tom Cruise is one of the most famous and iconic actors in Hollywood. He is known for doing many of his own stunts in action movies like the Mission: Impossible franchise. This has led many people to wonder – does Tom Cruise also do martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu? The quick answer is: Yes, Tom Cruise does train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He started learning it for movie roles and has continued training for years.

Tom Cruise’s Martial Arts Background

While Tom Cruise is best known as an actor, he has trained extensively in various martial arts over the years for action movie roles. Some of the martial arts he has trained in include:

  • Taekwondo – Tom trained in this Korean martial art for his role in the 2012 movie Jack Reacher.
  • Krav Maga – He learned this Israeli self-defense system for the Mission Impossible movies.
  • Wing Chun Kung Fu – Tom studied this style under a private instructor for the Last Samurai film.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Started training in BJJ during the 2000s and has stuck with it.

So even though Tom Cruise is primarily an actor, he takes the physical preparation for his roles very seriously by undergoing intensive martial arts training. This indicates his dedication and work ethic when it comes to authentic action sequences.

When Did Tom Cruise Start Learning BJJ?

Tom Cruise started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the mid-2000s while preparing for action roles. Some sources point to 2004 as the year he began learning BJJ.

Martial arts and fight choreography were required for action movies like The Last Samurai (2003), Collateral (2004), and the Mission Impossible series. To perform these demanding physical roles safely and realistically, Tom turned to specialized martial arts training.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu became part of Tom Cruise’s regular fitness regimen thanks to its practical self-defense techniques and full-body workout. Even after movie productions wrapped, he continued learning BJJ to stay in shape.

Why Did Tom Cruise Choose BJJ?

There are a few key reasons why Tom Cruise chose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as part of his training:

  • Realistic techniques – BJJ has practical techniques drawn from actual fighting that are useful for movie fight scenes and stunt work.
  • Grappling skills – The grappling component of BJJ provides skills for realistic takedowns, throws, and ground fighting.
  • Fitness benefits – Tom recognized the conditioning, strength and flexibility benefits of regular BJJ training.
  • Low injury risk – BJJ training has a relatively low risk of injuries compared to striking martial arts.
  • Recommendations – Fellow celebrity practitioners like Keanu Reeves and Chuck Norris may have put Tom onto BJJ.

The combination of practical self-defense skills and safe full-body exercise made BJJ an excellent fit for Tom Cruise and his fitness needs.

Where Does Tom Cruise Train BJJ?

Tom Cruise trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu primarily at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Paragon Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

Paragon is one of the top BJJ schools in California headed by renowned instructor Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller. As a private academy, it offers A-list celebrities and professionals a flexible, discreet environment to train away from the public.

Some of the other celebrities who train BJJ at Paragon include Ashton Kutcher, Keanu Reeves, Ed O’Neill, and Chuck Liddell. Tom Cruise enjoys the low-key atmosphere to focus on his training.

He also periodically trains at other BJJ gyms like Machado Academy headquarters in LA. Wherever Tom travels for filming, he takes the opportunity to drop into local BJJ academies and get some training in. This allows him to learn from different instructors and training partners worldwide.

Tom Cruise’s BJJ Training Routine

According to interviews with his BJJ instructors, Tom Cruise trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu three to five times a week whenever possible. He takes private lessons as well as group classes.

A typical training session will include:
– Drilling BJJ techniques – Tom practices moves like armbars, chokes, sweeps, escapes, etc.
– Sparring rounds – He spars to sharpen timing, technique and defensive skills.
– Fitness conditioning – BJJ workouts improve his strength, endurance and flexibility.
– Learning new techniques – Instructors teach Tom more advanced skills as he progresses.

In preparation for specific movie roles, Tom’s BJJ training ramps up to daily intense sessions. He also trains BJJ while on breaks from filming to stay sharp. Tom’s consistency with BJJ training over 15+ years shows his dedication to the art.

Tom Cruise’s Progress in BJJ

Tom Cruise holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Paragon head instructor Ricardo Miller. He was awarded his black belt in July 2018 after approximately 14 years of steady training.

Some key milestones in Tom’s BJJ journey are:

  • 2004 – Starts training in BJJ at white belt level
  • 2007 – Earns blue belt after 3 years of solid training
  • 2011 – Awarded purple belt after another 4 years
  • 2015 – Receives brown belt ranking
  • 2018 – Promoted to black belt by Professor Miller

Achieving a BJJ black belt under a world-class instructor like Ricardo Miller demonstrates Tom Cruise’s skill level and depth of knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Has Tom Cruise Competed in BJJ?

Despite his long BJJ training history, Tom Cruise has never competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. As a high-profile actor, he chooses to avoid the risks of sports injuries from competition that could affect his film schedule.

Instead, Tom Cruise focuses his BJJ training on learning practical techniques for movie stunt scenes and physical conditioning. While he trains in advanced techniques as a black belt, he views BJJ mainly as an important fitness tool rather than a competitive sport.

His instructors describe Tom as intensely dedicated during lessons, which allows him to absorb skills rapidly. However, competing against other black belts may jeopardize upcoming movie productions, so he does not take the risk of entering tournaments.

Benefits of BJJ for Tom Cruise

Here are some of the key benefits Tom Cruise has experienced from his years of practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

  • Movie fight skills – BJJ gives Tom an arsenal of grappling techniques for choreographed movie battle scenes.
  • Staying in shape – Regular BJJ training provides an intensive full-body workout to stay fit all year round.
  • Stress relief – The mental focus required in BJJ serves as a form of moving meditation that relieves stress.
  • Self-defense – The practical techniques equip Tom with self-protection skills to handle real physical threats if needed.
  • Discipline – Earning a BJJ black belt requires years of perseverance and discipline, which translates to his acting career.

As a nearly 60 year old action star, Tom Cruise relies on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to keep himself in phenomenal shape. His athleticism and abilities during filming are a testament to the benefits of consistent BJJ training.

Tom Cruise’s Advice on Starting BJJ

In interviews over the years, Tom Cruise has offered some advice for those looking to begin training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu:

  • Find a reputable academy with experienced BJJ instructors.
  • Buy a sturdy BJJ training gi (uniform) to withstand the rigors of training.
  • Expect to be challenged both mentally and physically at first.
  • Tap early and often when caught in submissions to avoid injuries.
  • Relax and breathe rather than using brute strength to force techniques.
  • Stay patient on your BJJ journey – progression takes consistent time on the mats.

Tom emphasizes having the right mindset of openness and humility when starting out in BJJ as a beginner. Setting ego aside allows faster growth and effectiveness in applying the techniques.

Who Has Tom Cruise Trained BJJ With?

Throughout his BJJ training since 2004, Tom Cruise has learned from many high-level instructors both at Paragon and elsewhere. Some notable BJJ black belts he has trained with include:

  • Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller – Head instructor at Paragon BJJ in LA and Tom’s long-time teacher.
  • Rigan Machado – One of the legendary Machado brothers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Eddie Bravo – BJJ black belt and founder of the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu system.
  • Marcus Soares – Respected BJJ black belt who teaches in Miami, Florida.
  • Roger Gracie – BJJ champion and member of the esteemed Gracie family.

Training with renowned teachers has allowed Tom Cruise to develop excellent BJJ skills. He also periodically crosses over into MMA training with pro fighters to sharpen his striking and takedown defense.

Some MMA athletes he has prepared with for movie roles include former UFC champion Randy Couture and boxing coach Jay Glazer. Exposure to high-level grapplers and MMA fighters ensures Tom’s abilities are well-rounded.

Does Tom Cruise Use BJJ in Movies?

Fans have caught glimpses of Tom Cruise’s jiu-jitsu skills in action scenes from several movies over the years. While choreographed for entertainment, these sequences often incorporate real BJJ techniques.

Some examples of Tom Cruise’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques on film include:

Collateral (2004)

  • Takedown defense against the assassin played by Javier Bardem
  • Knee-on-belly position to control Bardem’s character
  • Rear naked choke

Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

  • Counters a knife attack with a clinch into a bodylock takedown
  • Escapes a mount position while handcuffed

Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation (2015)

  • Closed guard sweep reversal against assassin
  • Uses overhook to counter a choke attempt

Mission Impossible 6: Fallout (2018)

  • Takedown defense against bathroom attacker
  • Rear naked choke against John Lark character

While choreographed for movies, Cruise’s fluent use of actual BJJ techniques is a testament to his training. His integration of Brazilian jiu-jitsu into action scenes makes the fights feel more authentic.

Tom Cruise’s Legacy in Martial Arts

Tom Cruise’s dedication to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has helped shine a spotlight on the art in the mainstream. Other Hollywood action stars like Keanu Reeves have followed his lead and taken up BJJ.

Cruise helped pioneer a new standard for actors to undergo rigorous and prolonged martial arts training for film roles. This approach raises the authenticity of movie fight scenes.

Thanks to his continued passion for BJJ spanning over 15 years, Tom Cruise will leave a lasting legacy for integrating the “gentle art” into Hollywood’s action movies. His black belt skills have shown that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a versatile martial art for self-defense, fitness, and entertainment.


In summary, Tom Cruise is a dedicated practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, earning a black belt since first starting it in the 2000s. He trains up to five times a week, focusing on developing practical techniques for film along with strength and conditioning.

While not a competitor, Cruise utilizes his BJJ skills to perform his own stunts and fights on camera. His ability to pick up this difficult martial art demonstrates Cruise’s work ethic and physical talent. Despite his fame, Tom’s commitment to perfecting his BJJ game one session at a time serves as an inspiration.

Year Tom Cruise’s BJJ Rank
2004 White Belt
2007 Blue Belt
2011 Purple Belt
2015 Brown Belt
2018 Black Belt