How Quickly Can Actors Learn Karate Moves for Filming Purposes?


Actors are often tasked with transformative tasks before commencing filming for new movies. On an aesthetic level, famous stars regularly need to lose weight or bulk up, but countless new skills also must be mastered. This is especially prevalent in action films, where actors are required to perform fight sequences, stunts and other demanding feats. Just consider Tom Cruise, an actor who insists on filming his own stunt sequences, regardless of how dangerous or demanding they are.

Among the most iconic skills that actors have practiced over the years are karate moves and other martial art sequences. Figures such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan are the most famous, although most seasoned actors will need to run through a few karate routines at some stage in their careers. With the news of the Cobra Kai Season 5 release date, we got to thinking – how quickly can actors learn karate moves for new films? Stay with us as we explore everything you need to know regarding the subject.

Popular karate moves to learn

The first place to start is with the most popular karate moves that people learn as beginners. Although specialist actors like Jackie Chan are capable of advanced karate techniques, most movie stars in generic action films will get by with a few basic moves. These can include:

  • Mae Geri: Mae Geri, or front kick, is a straightforward karate move that is common in fight scenes. It can be used either as a snapping front kick or a more sustained, thrusting front kick, both of which utilize the flat of your foot to provide maximum power.
  • Mawashi Geri: One of the most iconic karate movies used in films, Mawashi Geri is a roundhouse kick generating a ferocious amount of force. Unlike a standard Mae Geri, with Mawashi Geri, the hips are used to provide more energy.
  • Choku Zuki: Choku Zuki is a straight punch, one of the most used karate moves. It’s similar to a normal punch but can be a lot more powerful when done correctly. As the most accomplished karate masters will tell you, it’s all about shifting your weight precisely when throwing your fist.

How to learn karate

Starting your karate journey doesn’t have to be difficult. There are countless ways to start learning the popular martial art these days, with a plethora of resources available online for beginners. Learning karate has various benefits, from improved hand-eye coordination to better mental and physical health in general. This is not to mention the added sense of personal security you get from knowing how to defend yourself.

Although it has never been easier to learn karate online, going to dedicated martial art training centers will always be the best method. Places like have a longstanding tradition in karate, judo, ju-jitsu and other martial arts, alongside top-tier facilities and coaches. There is also a handy forum for getting in touch with the local community or asking questions.

The best karate movies

Choosing the best martial arts movies is a tall order. There have been so many that it’s difficult to count, although fans have some clear favorites. Take a look below for our choices:

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Ang Lee’s beautifully shot Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of the definitive martial arts movies of recent times. Not only are there stunning action sequences but the narrative also contains a heartfelt love story intertwined with the madness.
  • Enter The Dragon: Bruce Lee’s most famous film, Enter The Dragon was a box office smash hit on its release in 1973. The legendary martial arts star tragically died the year before its release. However, his legacy was cemented by the epic blend of karate, judo and kung fu on offer.
  • House of Flying Daggers: Tony Ching Siu-tung was in charge of choreography during House of Flying Daggers, an immaculately presented martial arts movie offering hauntingly beautiful fight scenes. The director, Zhang Yimou, went on to direct the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, and his skills are evident when rewatching House of Flying Daggers.

How long does it take to learn karate for a movie?

Actors need a more limited knowledge of karate for movies than those who are genuinely looking to earn their belts. Fight scenes are choreographed in most instances, so learning different moves is simplified somewhat. Regardless, most actors will need to train for a few months at least before they can perfect a karate sequence for the big screen.