Martial Arts and John Wick: Chapter 4 (part 3)

22. February 2023

Today is 22. February 2023. Let’s get ready to watch John Wick: Chapter 4!
Release date 24. March 2023.  Only 30 days left!
Let’s continue discussion about the martial arts world, which is a key element of the John Wick movies. Stahelski’s and Reeves’ relationship with martial arts and some excerpts from the book Keanu Reeves’ Art & Speed – from the Martial arts chapter -, which will bring us closer to understanding martial arts and the fight scenes in John Wick movies.


Chad Stahelski and martial arts

Chad Stahelski is also a martial arts enthusiast and has used his passion for the martial arts to enhance his work as a filmmaker. His love for martial arts began at a young age. He grew up watching martial arts films and was particularly inspired by the work of Bruce Lee. He started training in martial arts as a young boy and since has become proficient in a variety of martial arts styles, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, and Kali.

Stahelski’s martial artist skill has had a significant impact on his philosophy on the martial arts. He believes that martial arts are not just about physical combat but are also a means of developing mental and emotional strength. He believes that martial arts training can help individuals become more disciplined, focused, and self-aware.

As a filmmaker, Stahelski has used his martial arts background to create some of the most visually stunning and realistic fight scenes in the the John Wick movies. He and his team of choreographers created a unique fighting style that blends elements of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Gun-Fu. This style involves using hand-to-hand combat techniques and firearms in seamless combination. 

Keanu Reeves and martial arts

Stahelski has worked closely with actors like Keanu Reeves, who shares his passion for martial arts, to ensure that the fight scenes are not only visually impressive but also technically accurate.

Keanu’s fascination with martial arts started at a young age. As a child, he was captivated by the martial arts films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, which fueled his interest in martial arts. He also saw martial arts as a way to discipline his mind and body. As he grew older, he began to take his interest in martial arts more seriously and started training in various martial arts styles.

For the Matrix movies, he had to learn a unique style of martial arts called “wire-fu,” which involves performing acrobatic stunts and fight choreography with the assistance of wires and harnesses. Reeves worked closely with Yuen Woo-ping, a renowned martial arts choreographer, to develop the wire-fu style for the Matrix films. In addition to his wire-fu training, Keanu has studied a wide range of martial arts styles over the years. He has trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Boxing, and Krav Maga, among other styles. He has also trained with various martial arts masters, including Machado brothers, Tiger Chen, and Taryn Terrell. 


The second instalment was also a big hit, and Keanu went on to complete the John Wick trilogy, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum released in May 2019, becoming the highest grossing film of the franchise in just ten years. The title also shows how Keanu trained for this role. Patrick Murphy, a trainer, said about the actor: “I never have to convince him to do another rap. Workouts are designed to make him feel good and strong, not destroy him. Because he is getting so beat up during the shoot as it is. I spent a lot of time dreaming up different combinations and pairings of exercises. There was also special attention paid to the shoulders, which got a lot of use during the jiu-jitsu, gun-fu, judo, wrestling, and other stunts. I am always blown away by his level of commitment. There are no quick edits to save him, he is stunt fighting with dozens of guys at a time, and really selling it. By the end of filming he is almost as battered and bruised as the character he is playing. There is the heart of a warrior in there.”

To be continued …

Excerpts from the book:
The Matrix’Hero, Wins Over New Dimensions
© Yvette Kulik 2022  All rights reserved

Keanu Reeves' Art & Speed


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