1. Laura Vandervoort

Actress Laura Vandervoort told Maxim in 2014, “I have a second-degree black belt in Shotokan karate.” She revealed that her training helped her prepare for her role as the only female werewolf in existence on the Syfy series “Bitten.”

The star played Supergirl on “Smallville,” with her debut in the first episode of the show’s seventh season in the fall of 2007. As Clark’s Kryptonian cousin Kara, who had been in suspended animation since their home planet exploded, she was strong-willed and independent-minded.

The Canadian actress is also known for her parts on the TV series “V” as well as the films “Ted” and “This Means War.”

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2. Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes started training in martial arts at the age of 12 and holds a fifth-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a second-degree black belt in Hapkido.

He may have polished up some of his fighting skills while serving over two years in prison for failing to pay his income taxes

Snipes is known for films including “Blade,” “Demolition Man,” and “The Expendables 3.”

 

3. Willie Nelson

Singer Willie Nelson was promoted to fifth-degree black belt the day before his 81st birthday in April 2014. He has been training in the Korean art of GongKwon Yusul for over 20 years.

“It’s just good for you physically. For your lungs. The more you’re breathing, exercising, the better you’re going to feel,” Nelson told KVUE about his training.

“I think martial arts is one of the best exercises you can do. Mentally, spiritually, physically, everything,” he told the AP.

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4. Ryan Phillippe

Actor Ryan Phillippe earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do when he was a kid growing up in Delaware.

He most recently appeared in the ABC series “Secrets & Lies” and is known for films including “Cruel Intentions,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Flags of Our Fathers.”

Phillippe is also known for being the ex-husband of Reese Witherspoon, with whom he has two children.

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5. Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White has a black belt in Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Kobudo, Goju Ryu, Tang Soo Do, Wushu, and Kyokushin.

Michael Jai White’s versatility as an actor has garnered him success in both TV and film. As a black belt in seven different karate styles, he has been able to leverage his deep connection to martial arts and emerge as a multi-faceted talent that possesses comedic chops while being one of the most recognizable action movie actors around.

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6. Bear Brylls

Discovery Channel star Bear Brylls opened up about his martial arts training in his 2012 memoir, “Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography.”

He explained, “I signed up as soon as I could for the karate and aikido clubs, and found that I loved the martial arts way—the focus, the camaraderie, and above all the acquiring of an art that requires the use of guile over power, technique over force…

He added, “I will never forget the day I finally got awarded my black belt, and the pride I felt. The day of the grading had taken three years to arrive, and for those three years I had given it my all: training at least four or five times a week, religiously.” Bear Grylls-LMK-116199

7. Taylor Lautner

“Twilight” star Taylor Lautner earned his black belt at a young age. After starting out in a traditional style he decided to focus on “extreme” martial arts at age 7.

When he was eight, he won three gold medals at the World Karate Association. In 2003 at age 11 he was number one in the world for NASKA’s Black Belt Open Forms, Musical Weapons, Traditional Weapons and Traditional Forms.

Lautner, who played werewolf Jacob in the popular vampire series, is also known for films including “Abduction” and “Tracers.”

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8. Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker has a black belt in Kenpo and showed off his skills in the 2010 sci-fi flick “Repo Men.” He has also has extensively studied kali stick fighting.

Whitaker is known for films including “Platoon,” “The Last King Of Scotland,” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

The Texan-born star has an eye condition called ptosis, which means “drooping eyelid.”

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9. Dolph Lundgren

“Expendables” and “Rocky IV” star Dolph Lundgren has a 3rd degree black belt in Kyuokushin and was the captain of the Swedish National Karate Team.

He is known for films including “A View To A Kill” and “Universal Soldier.”

Fun fact: he has a Master’s Degree in chemical engineering.

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10. Ryan Pinkston

Actor Ryan Pinkston holds a second-degree black belt in Wushu Kung Fu and a first-degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.  He taught martial artis in Herdon, Va., and holds World Titles in the United States, France, Canada and Central America, including Individual Grand Champions and Synchronized Teams divisions.

The star is known for films including  “Full of It,” “Bad Santa,” “Spy Kids 3-D” and “Soul Plane.”

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11. Nia Sanchez of Nevada

Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez of Nevada, is a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

During the pageant, when judge Rumer Willis asked her opinion about the rampant sexual abuse cases on college campuses, Sanchez said: “I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves.

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12. Shilpa Shetty

Indian actress Shilpa Shetty also reportedly has a black belt and is very athletic — she has trained in sports such as baseball, volleyball and dance.

Shetty is one of Bollywood’s most successful stars and one of India’s top models. She is often credited with having one of the best bodies in the country.

She reportedly speaks her native language Tulu, as well as English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu.

“Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.” ShilpaShetty2

13. Evan Rachel Wood

Evan Rachel Wood also has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. During an interview with SheKnows in 2011 she revealed that she’d love to play a superhero — and has the credentials to back it up.

“I never get offered superheroes. I never get offered comedies, because people have an idea of who I am as an actor. But I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I can totally kick butt!” she said.

She explained that she turned to martial arts because she couldn’t dance. “I wasn’t good at ballet. I was a fighter, I guess. I just needed that. I did it for years, until I got my black belt,” she explained.

Her films include “Thirteen,” “Across the Universe,” and “The Wrestler.”Evan Rachel Wood 10-20140512-74

14. Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a black belt in Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do.

Born on March 10, 1940, Chuck Norris started studying martial arts in Korea in the 1950s. He was serving in the U.S. Air Force at the time. When he returned home, Norris soon opened his karate studio. He switched to movies in the 1970s, appearing with Bruce Lee in Return of the Dragon. Norris became a popular action-film star in the 1980s, Walker, Texas Ranger, The Delta Force (1986) and starred in his own television series in the 1990s.

karate-4In the 1960s, Norris opened more than 30 karate studios. He taught several celebrities, including Priscilla Presley and actor Steve McQueen. McQueen encouraged his teacher to try acting. In addition to being an instructor, Norris also was a fierce competitor. He participated in numerous martial arts tournaments, and he won many of the events he competed in.

Norris earned his first World Middleweight Karate Championship title in 1968. Proving to be one of the greatest fighters in martial arts, he defended this title five more times. He decided to retire after his 1974 victory.

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15. Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme has a black belt in Shotokan karate. He also practices kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Tae Kwon Do.

Van Damme began studying Shotokan karate at age 11, and also eagerly took to weightlifting and ballet. As a teenager, Van Damme won the middleweight championship of the European Professional Karate Association and was named “Mr. Belgium” in a bodybuilding competition.

He used his physical abilities to become the star of such American action flicks as Bloodsport (1988) and Double Impact (1991)van

Regeneration (2010) and voice the character of Master Croc in Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). In 2012, Van Damme was back in his element as part of the veteran butt-kicking ensemble featured in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2.

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