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What martial arts does Tom Cruise use?

How Top Gun star Tom Cruise maintains high energy at 60

Want to feel a little younger? Employ the same techniques the actor utilizes to maintain the incredibly high energy levels he has displayed in action movies for more than 30 years.

The Hollywood superstar’s acting credits date back for more than four decades, and yet Cruise shows no signs of slowing down, appearing like a fountain of youth full of energy on every film set and during every interview.

Later this year, the actor returns to the big screen in Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to the 35-year-old original in which he barely seems to have aged a decade.

This summer, he’s leaping over buildings across Europe during production on not one but two new Mission: Impossible movies, a franchise that has become known for the star performing his own stunt work. On the last Mission: Impossible movie, Cruise didn’t even let a broken ankle suffered while performing a dangerous stunt slow him down:

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How does Cruise maintain his high energy levels?

Like many celebrities, the actor follows strict diet and exercise regimes that he credits with keeping in top shape and maintaining high energy throughout the day.

In terms of diet, Cruise follows a strict regime that he learned from good friend and football star David Beckham: he never consumes more than 1,200 calories a day. The actor stays away from carbohydrates and avoids eating large meals, instead consuming fifteen light micro-meals throughout the day.

For exercise, Cruise credits variety as the key to staying in shape.

“Sea-kayaking, caving […] fencing, treadmill, weights […] rock-climbing, hiking. I jog. I do so many different activities,” Cruise said when asked about his fitness routine.

According to health experts, it’s this variety that has helped keep Cruise maintain flexibility and balance and stay in better shape than most men his age.

“How we move conveys energy and youth – not how buff we are,” Anne Elliott, a sports scientist at Middlesex University, told Men’s Health.

“Regularly switching up cardio and strength work with something like fencing or climbing – like Cruise – maintains flexibility and balance: the first two things that give your age away.”

Movement, of course, is a big part of Cruise’s action movie philosophy.

In The Last Samurai, Cruise starred as an American military advisor hired to train Japanese soldiers in modern warfare to suppress an uprising by rebel samurai; he ends up falling in with the samurai instead.

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To prepare for the role, Cruise spent the better part of a year studying how to become a samurai — not only by learning martial arts practices such as kendo sword fighting, but even going as far as to learn Japanese.

“I worked for eight months to get in shape for The Last Samurai,” Cruise told Entertainment Tonight in 2003.

“I learned kendo, Japanese martial arts, and all manner of weapons handling. I not only had to ride a horse, but I had to effectively fight while riding. I studied Japanese […] I’ve learned Bushido. As far as training goes, you name it, I’ve done it.”

“Initially I was concerned about achieving realism in the fight scenes, but I focused on flexibility and gradually lowered my center of gravity with daily workouts enabling me to execute naturally fluid moves without stiffness. I developed deeper breathing and got a clearer sense of awareness, of mind over body, which helped me get through some of the more intense battle scenes without injury.”

With his incredible energy levels, Cruise has been able to make the impossible seem possible in his blockbuster action movies, and silence many of his critics. When the 1.7-meter-tall actor was hired to portray Jack Reacher, described in novels as being around two meters tall, many fans cried foul. But Cruise was able to pull it off.

“Reacher’s size in my books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force,” author Lee Child told Deadline about his protagonist. “Cruise portrays that in his own way.”

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object? For Cruise, that’s where he gets his motivation – and his energy.

“I don’t invalidate it when I can’t do something,” Cruise told Men’s Health.

“I say, ‘that’s interesting’ and go with it. It’s from there you get your energy.”

While diet and exercise are key components to Cruise’s high energy levels, the ability to stick to a strict regime takes an incredible amount of willpower and mental strength.

Like Cruise, you can take some inspiration on forging your own inner strength from the samurai’s Bushido Code, which focuses on eight core tenets: justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, honor, honesty, loyalty, and self-control.

For detailed steps on recalling your own inner samurai, see our technique on accessing your inner warrior. It can be practiced in just minutes a day, and lead to life-changing results.

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Photo: Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick courtesy Paramount Pictures

8 Celebrities Who Can Actually Fight In Real Life

8 Celebrities Who Can Actually Fight In Real Life

When Justin Bieber and Tom Cruise once briefly contemplated fighting each other inside the Octagon, it raised quite a few eyebrows. Here were two regular guys (well, pop culture superstars), who could potentially end up face-to-face in combat. Yet fans without a doubt asked themselves the most obvious question: Can these two actually fight?

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Martial arts, and to be a genuine martial artist, it takes years of dedication and practice to be able to reach a level acceptable for competition. It should not be taken lightly.

While Bieber does his fair share of boxing training (with Floyd Mayweather, no less), he’s in no way capable of actually fighting in the cage. Cruise, at the very least, was a high school wrestler, so he may have some of the necessary skills hiding latent somewhere.

Yet, there are a handful of celebrities who possess the skills required to enter the field of combat. You’d be surprised with some of them and what they are capable of. These men and women have trained in the art of combat.

Let’s take a look at who they are and what they’ve done in the gym. Today, Evolve Daily shares 8 celebrities who can actually fight in real life.

1) Wesley Snipes

He’s famous for roles in movies such as Blade, Demolition Man, and The Expendables. Wesley Snipes has been in blockbuster action films since the 1990’s, and he’s used a variety of martial arts disciplines to portray fight scenes in his movies.

Snipes has been training in martial arts since he was a kid, and is a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido, and also trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Kung Fu, and Capoeira. Yes, he can definitely fight.

2) Demi Lovato

Singer, songwriter, and pop star Demi Lovato, famous for her hits “Sorry Not Sorry”, “Give Your Heart a Break”, and “This Is Me”, has a bright and flashy superstar smile, and is every bit the pop star you would imagine her to be. But don’t let her good looks fool you, Lovato takes names on the mats, and she’s been doing so for a long time.

Lovato has been studying and training in the art of BJJ for a while now, and is equipped with the technical knowledge to choke you out or hyperextend your arm if you get too close.

3) Chris Hemsworth

He’s the God of Thunder on the big screen, has biceps the size of footballs, and trains like a madman to achieve superhero levels of fitness. Chris Hemsworth spends hours and hours of time training in the gym to better play his iconic superhero movie role of “Thor”. But aside from being a health and fitness nut, Hemsworth is also a huge fan of mixed martial arts.

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It comes as no surprise then that he does a bit of martial arts training himself, and mixes it up well with his routine. Hemsworth is known to train in both boxing and Muay Thai when he feels the need to unleash Thor’s fury on the pads.

4) Henry Cavill

On the silver screen, he plays a buff dude who wears his underwear over his pants, has a huge ‘S’ on his chest, can zip through the air, and shoot laser beams out of his eyes. Henry Cavill may very well be the best Superman we’ve had yet, finishing off bad guys with his superhuman strength. But that doesn’t mean he can’t fight in real life too.

Cavill also trains in the art of BJJ avidly and utilizes the martial art to not only keep himself in top shape but also to equip him with the knowledge of the grappling sciences.

5) Idris Elba

Known for playing Heimdall in Thor: Ragnarok, and Brixton in the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, Idris Elba is the epitome of an action star, with the chiseled physique, mean mug, and fighting skills.

Why does he fight so well on screen you ask? Maybe because Elba is a legit kickboxer who has had a couple of professional fights. Elba sheds some light on his training and competition in the docuseries, Idris Elba: Fighter.

6) Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher BJJ

Ashton Kutcher was awarded his purple belt by Prof. Rigan Machado.

To many fans, he’s just Kelso on That 70’s Show, but Ashton Kutcher is more than just a romantic comedy superstar. He’s also a high-level BJJ practitioner who has been working on his skills for a few years already and holds a purple belt.

In fact, he’s so good, grappling world champion and 8th degree BJJ red and black belt Rigan Machado once famously claimed that Kutcher would beat Conor McGregor in a straight grappling contest.

7) Mario Lopez

His acting career took off when he landed the role of A.C. Slater from Saved By The Bell, and then soon dabbled in the world of mixed martial arts and boxing. Mario Lopez got his lean and cut physique by wrestling and playing football in high school, but was able to maintain his fitness by training in boxing and BJJ.

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In this clip, Lopez is seen sparring with Mexican boxing great Canelo Alvarez and appears to have held his own.

8) Jason Statham

One of the most prolific action stars in the modern day, Jason Statham has made it a habit of kicking butt on screen — whether he’s the good guy or the bad guy. Star of movies such as “Transporter”, “The Expendables”, and the “Fast & Furious” franchise, Statham’s on-screen fight sequences are so realistic because the guy actually knows how to fight.

Statham trains in various martial arts disciplines from BJJ to kickboxing to boxing and wrestling. Just like his characters in the movies, Statham can put a beatdown on anybody who wishes to put him to the test.

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The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai

Yeah you guessed it – it’s that Tom Cruise movie where he learns all about the choppy sword movements of the Samurai and joins them in their last stand.

I will admit, the simple idea of watching a Samurai or Martial Arts movie with Tom Cruise in the lead makes me sick, but it’s actually not too bad…..

Let’s sum it up – Tommy boy plays an American war hero named Nathan, who loves a good drop of the booze. Nathan is hired to teach a Japanese army how to use firearms to fight their enemies but the remaining Samurai who refuse to step into the new world and are fighting for their honor.

After a short battle the newbies are defeated by the Samurai and Tommy boy Nathan is caught and forced to live in a village and learn the ways of the Samurai – where he changes his view and joins them during their last stand against the gun touting Japanese army.

Ultimately, we see a story of the flashy and undisciplined ‘new’ vs traditional and disciplined ‘old’.

Tom Cruise

Nathan studies up on the Samurai but remains very detached from their culture until he is immersed in their simple and honorable life after being captured. He sees the strength in their values and finds a little inner peace, and is somewhat converted to the cause as he begins to feel he wants to protect it himself.

This all plays out in a long movie which tells an relatively interesting story that separates the two cultures. In cinematic Samurai fashion we see our heros make their stand to die for what they believe in, fighting to their very deaths. Tom’s character seems to be thrown right into the middle of it, but he seems to be more of a middle man to help bridge the gap between the audience and understanding and learning the culture of the Japanese – even to the point where America comes off a little as the bad guy!

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There’s a few nice action sequences and of course one big epic battle toward the end of the film, and even Tommy boys shows off some nice moves! But mostly it is a movie about Japanese and Samurai culture, telling the story of what the last of Samurai had to face when their chapter had ended.

Battle Scenes

It’s a decent movie but as a martial arts ‘action’ fan I got rather bored, I felt it was boring and drawn out, I did want to see more people getting sliced up. Some more action would be nice but detrimental to the depth of the film – which would have been told much better in a shorter time frame.

However the story told is a thought provoking one and the performances are all solid. The Last Samurai appears to be a cheap American version of a Samurai themed movie at first glance but when watching it you see that it has been put together and told very well.

The picture it paints of the Samurai in their last stand is pretty interesting and you can empathize with the warriors trying to protect their ways, standing up for tradition and the history which made them the men they are, versus simply signing over to cheap and easy death by way of gun. This film demonstrates the value of the man and his skill over the pulling of a trigger.

Would you enjoy this film? If you’re an action junkie – maybe not. If you’re a martial arts fan who appreciates history, traditions and the many concepts and themes behind styles and martial arts itself, then the Last Samurai will be entertaining for you. With high production values and a solid cast of actors it’s a very watchable film.

If the idea of a Hollywood guy like Tom Cruise in the role bothers you (as it would many martial arts fans), just remind yourself that he is there to help explain concepts and ways of the Samurai to the audience, to point out the difference in culture and make the film easier to understand in a natural way.

The film isn’t so much about him as it is told through him, so check it out I say it’s solid!

On Blu Ray –

Region Free (Plays in Any Country)
The Last Samurai [Blu-ray]

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