We talk a lot about the practical applications of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)—using it for self-defense, as part of competitive athletics, or even just keeping yourself physically fit. But in addition to all of those things, BJJ has had a huge influence on the way we experience our art—specifically, in the realm of choreographed fight scenes.
Once upon a time, fight scenes in movies were almost exclusively striking-based, but the more
popular BJJ became, the more it began to be used. We actually have a member who’s an actor
and uses BJJ in one of his shows. He’s currently performing in a combat show at Sherwood
Forest Faire (running weekends through April 3), and he finishes one of his fights with ogoshi
(hip throw) to arm bar—while wearing armor and holding an eight-foot halberd. Check it out HERE!
It got us all inspired, and after he showed us that video we spent the rest of the morning watching
fight scenes with BJJ in them. Here are a few of our favorites:
Lethal Weapon (1988)
Before Mel Gibson became an anti-Semite, he rose to superstar status with the movie Lethal
Weapon. The final fight of the movie doesn’t feature a lot of jiu-jitsu in it, but he does finish him
off with a triangle, and it’s one of the classic examples of jiu-jitsu being used in a movie.
Flash Point (2007)
This is a long scene, and the striking-to- jiu-jitsu ratio is on the high side, but the jiu-jitsu that’s in
there is among the best you’ll ever see. Highlights in this award-winning choreography include
some outstanding guard work around the one-minute mark, the only slam triangle escape I’ve
seen that’s actually plausible, and the fighters actually using the “gi” in a street setting. Make
some popcorn and enjoy the ride.
This one’s a must see for anyone interested in the sport of jiu-jitsu. Written by David Mamet, it
stars Chiwetel Ojiofor (who would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for his role in 12 Years a
Slave), as a BJJ instructor who’s forced to enter the world of prize fighting. The choreography is
totally gritty and realistic. And bonus! The whole movie is available on YouTube:
The Warrior (2011)
After decades of boxing movies, Hollywood finally gave us an MMA movie, and boy is it a good
one. There’s BJJ sprinkled through the whole movie, but this is one of the better moments, from
toward the end.
The Last Stand (2013)
This guy BJJs the crap out of Arnold Schwarzenegger before getting his ass knocked out, and
then he pulls a knife and BJJs him a little more before Arnie beats his ass again. I’m kinda
bummed that Arnie couldn’t win the fight with some legit jiu-jitsu, but I guess in Hollywood,
being the Terminator is enough of a trump card.
This is a Chilean movie that I’d never heard of before today, but holy crap do I want to watch it
now. In just three minutes we see about half a dozen judo throws, fifteen different submission
attempts, and guys going back and forth in every possible position. It’s basically a roulette wheel
of BJJ. If you know anything about the sport then you’ll find yourself yelling expletives at the
screen (as I did) when they screw things up, and fair warning, the ending to the fight is super
lame, but none of that is enough to keep this fight from being a totally fun ride.
So, there you have it! Our Top 5 Favorite BJJ Fight Scenes! Which one is yours? And which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comment section below!