MMA fighting styles

All types of martial arts used in the series (so far)

the John wick The franchise is an action-packed assassin series, and the films incorporate many different forms of martial arts into their action sequences. John wick debuted in 2014, and has since grown into a hugely popular action movie franchise, even migrating into the summer season with John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. A key element for John wick becoming the phenomenon that it is now lies in the series’ elaborate and intricate action scenes.

Directed by veteran stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (with Stahelski performing the solo of John Wick: Chapter 2 on the John wick The series is full of stunts and action that are not only jaw-dropping but also a style of their own. The fight scenes in particular mix gun fu with martial arts, interweaving the two to establish a style that other assassin action movies love. Atomic blonde and Anybody have also adopted. The franchise also has plenty of amazing martial artists on board to make its fight scenes hit hard.


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Mark Dacascos, Roger Yuan and Tiger Chen are just a handful of those who brought their skills to the John wick franchise, with John Wick: Chapter 4 also enlisting Donnie Yen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Scott Adkins and Marko Zaror. With so many martial artists from diverse backgrounds from different disciplines, combined with Keanu Reeves’ own training for the series, the John wick movies have used a very long list of martial arts forms in their action scenes. Here are all the martial arts disciplines seen in the John wick franchisee so far.


One of the martial arts seen throughout the John wick the franchise is judo, with John himself being its primary user. Founded by Kano Jigoro, judo is renowned for its throwing techniques. John is a highly skilled judoka and throughout the franchise often relies on various judo throws to surprise his opponents. John also frequently mixes his judo skills with his use of firearms, throwing or sweeping an enemy to immobilize them momentarily before taking them down with a bullet. The Sofia of Halle Berry in John wick 3 has a very similar approach to combat as John, mixing judo throws with gunfire in the film’s battle in Morocco.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Photo of John Wick vs. Miss Perkins

the John wick the films also feature heavy use of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which Keanu Reeves also trained extensively for the role. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling-focused style of fighting that primarily focuses on ground combat with chokes and joint manipulations, and is a staple in the MMA world. John is also a follower of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, while the former John wick Her nemesis, Mrs. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), also used her as her main fighting style. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner’s gi can also be used for chokes, which Perkins implements with his leather jacket in his fight against John.

John Wick in a club

Karate has many different sub-schools including, but not limited to, Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, and Kyokushin, the latter John wick 4 star Hiroyuki Sanada is a practitioner of. Translated as “empty hand”, karate is a martial art focused on punches and kicks, and was arguably made most famous in the West by Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid franchise. Although John prefers to fight enemies with throwing techniques, he also uses karate punches and kicks, with several of John’s opponents being karatekas as well.


Photo of John Wick vs. Kirill

While countless martial arts teach kicking techniques, Korean Tae Kwon Do is particularly known for its emphasis on kicking. John faces several enemies who display skills in Tae Kwon Do, and one of the best examples of Kirill in the first one. John wick, played by Daniel Bernhardt. In their nightclub encounter, Kirill is a formidable opponent for John with his quick and powerful kicks, while other assassins in the John wick The playoffs are also skilled kickers with training in Tae Kwon Do.

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Image of John Wick vs. Cassian Round 2

Kali is from the Philippines and fights with sticks and knives. John is a knife fighter with deadly skills just like his main opponent in John wick 2, Cassien (Common). Fight co-choreographer Jonathan Eusebio explained in an interview with Maxim This kali was the basis of John’s knife fighting skills, which also extend to his ability to take down opponents with a pencil, a feat that is part of what fuels the legend of Baba Yaga.

Kung Fu

There are many different forms of kung fu, with China’s famous Shaolin Temple being considered the birthplace of kung fu for a millennium and a half. Other martial arts across Asia can trace their lineage back to kung fu in one way or another, and the many different subsets of kung fu vary widely from hard to soft in their emphasis and their approaching combat. the John wick the franchise highlights kung fu in John wick 3 when John encounters a gang of assassins in New York’s Chinatown. One of them is even played by Keanu Reeves’ good friend, Triple threat star Tiger Chen, with whom Reeves worked The matrix cinema and Tai Chi Mister, while Donnie Yen is John wick 4 role will also inject kung fu into the series.


Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum

Another fighting art in John’s arsenal is Russian martial art aambo. A fairly young martial art on the world stage, sambo was created in the 1920s by Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oschepkov. Although a hybrid of different fighting techniques, sambo is closely related to judo with an equally strong emphasis on throwing techniques. With the Eastern European origins of John (his birth name is revealed to be Jardani Jovanovich in John wick 3), it makes sense that he has significant training in sambo alongside various other martial arts. In addition, a scene in John wick 3 when John meets The Principal (Angelica Huston) shows a group of students in sambo training.

Shooting fight

Keanu Reeves as John Wick and Dog in John Wick 3 Parabellum

Born out of Japanese professional wrestling, shoot wrestling began as an effort to bring combat authenticity to the world of professional wrestling. Marksmanship mixes an array of different martial arts and is now used by many professional MMA fighters, with a number of ramifications such as marksmanship boxing. Eusebio revealed in the Maxim interview that shoot wrestling was also part of Keanu Reeves’ training to play John Wick.

RELATED: Why John Wick 4 needs to feature more martial arts stunts


Another martial art well known for its throws, Aikido focuses on redirecting the momentum of an opponent’s attack to use its energy against them. It was a big goal of John wick 3, with John now frequently faced with multiple opponents. As Eusebio explained in Maxim, the combat choreography of John wick 3 took this into account and oriented John’s fighting style to incorporate more elements of aikido. In John wick 3, with John now a man on the run, his throws often see him taking down an enemy so as to continue the energy of their attack away from him, and allowing John to immediately focus on the next opponent.


John wick 3 was where the franchise drew a wider array of different martial arts than ever before, and brought ninjutsu into the equation with John’s Shinobi enemies led by Zero (Mark Dacascos). Ninjas in feudal Japan used various techniques of stealth and espionage, as well as weapons and unarmed combat. Zero’s students rely on exactly this type of attack, surprising John from the shadows in the decisive battle of the Continental and wielding various Japanese bladed weapons, such as the Wakizashi. Several contemporary schools also teach modernized forms of ninjutsu, most notably the Japanese Bujinkan Association, as well as the modern school of American ninjutsu teacher Stephen K. Hayes, known as To-Shin-Do.


Shinobi John Wick's Chapter 3 Photo

The Southeast Asian silat martial art, like many martial arts, includes a large number of different schools and subsets, and is often named after the region they originated from, such as Silat Melayu in Malaysia and Pecak Silat in Indonesia. Many western moviegoers have familiarized themselves with the silat by Lowering films, and rightly so, two of this series’ own stars, Cecep Arif Rahman and Yayan Ruhian, appear in John wick 3 like two of Zero’s Shinobi students. Both Rahman and Ruhian are true exponents of the silat and also wield the signature silat knife known as the kerambit in their fight against John.

the John wick The series has certainly come a long way from its debut in the B-movie, to now become the model that action films collectively seem keen to follow, whether in the general concept of the assassin movie or the approach. of the series to orchestrate the action. Meanwhile, the franchise’s martial arts fights remain a crucial part of its popularity with their creativity and eclectic nature. When it comes to showcasing a large collection of different forms of martial arts, no current Hollywood action movie series, and perhaps none around the world, does better than John wick continue to.

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  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)Release Date: March 24, 2023

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