We at the AWMA Blog love stories about families who do their martial arts training together. And we love learning about the ways in which martial arts practices can help actors get in shape for combat scenes. So we were excited when Angelina Jolie recently revealed that she’s been getting ready for her debut in the Marvel cinematic universe by joining her kids’s martial arts classes.
While this development is intriguing for martial arts enthusiasts, it’s not particularly shocking for anyone who has been paying attention to her life and career. Jolie has never shied away from action roles in and often prepares for films like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mr & Mrs Smith, and Salt by taking up intense martial arts and weapons training. The actress, filmmaker and philanthropist’s enthusiastic support of her children’s martial arts training is also well-documented.
Let’s take a deeper look and the Jolie family’s training backgrounds and how they’re coming together now.
Angelina Jolie’s and Martial Arts: The Early Years
After landing the titular role in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Jolie and the filmmakers decided that they needed to take the character’s physicality very seriously. “I think we realized early on that because of the type of character that Lara is, you can’t pretend to be her, you have to be her. Like you can’t pretend to do the stunts, and wear the guns and shoot them, and just run around like that. The character has to actually do those things. And every day was this tempting obstacle course. You know, doing it as her, with the confidence of her and the fun of her,” the star told NY Rock while promoting the film.
“I had to train for over two months before filming, and then all the way through we were training. But I learned all these different skills. They put up a boxing bag and a bunch of power bars in my living room for like eight months. “
According to Jolie, her expansive workout routines also included elements of bungee ballet, diving, weapons training, kick boxing, and “everything from yoga to soccer and rowing.”
It was challenging, but it appears that the experience had a long-lasting effect on her. “I found, to my surprise, that I loved it. That it was in me, and I was able to keep going and wanted to keep going. I wanted to keep getting back into it, even when I hurt myself. And I was really happy when we would accomplish something. So I was really having fun.”
Angelina Jolie’s Ongoing Relationship With Martial Arts
Since then, Jolie has continued to do whatever it takes to make sure her action scenes are tough and authentic. “Angie throws herself into everything fully, be it rehearsals or the actual shooting,” Simon Crane, a stunt instructor who has worked with Jolie on a number of films, told SELF.
For an example of how Crane and Jolie work together, here’s the martial arts component of her training for 2010’s Salt: “For her fight training, we got her learning a combination of Muay Thai and Krav Maga very early on. We would then pick the moves she was best at and combine them into a sequence. The training, at the early stages, took up about three to four sessions a week, lasting approximately two hours each. When we started filming, we trained during lunch breaks or on the weekends.”
Her next action film challenge will be taking on the super hero universe in Marvel’s Eternals, which is scheduled to be released in 2020.
Angelina Jolie: Martial Arts Mom
Jolie’s children aren’t new to martial arts training, either. Their training — and her support of it — occasionally has been popping up in celebrity roundups and news stories for a few years now. In 2017, for example, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that she’d been spotted at the Shaolin American Self Defense Academy in North Hollywood, sharing treats with her daughter Vivienne’s Karate class. “Every time Vivienne did a move, Angelina made sure to watch and smile at her — it was sweet,” a fellow parent told the website.
Jolie is often photographed taking her daughter to Karate, cheering from the sidelines, and admiring trophies at the dojo.
How Martial Arts (And Her Kids) Are Helping Angelina Jolie Prepare For Her Next Movie
In The Eternals, Jolie will be playing Thena, a superhuman warrior who serves as the Goddess of War’s representative on Earth. “Thena is very aggressive and she’s a real fighter so it’s been good for me to get back to weapon training. I fight a lot. I love doing action.” she recently told OK! magazine. “Right now for Thena I’m having to do so much training because she’s so positive and healthy.”
This is where lessons with the kids have come in handy. “My son Knox does some weapons classes and Viv does Karate so I’ve been jumping into all their classes. I’m the mom that keeps showing up. It’s been fun and going to the gym together is really good.”
As an added bonus, her children are also keeping her humble, which is an important quality for any martial artist to have. Playing a superhero, Jolie said, is making her feel pretty empowered. Especially when she puts the costume on. “Then you see your kids and the way they look at you, like, ‘What are you doing?’” she added. “And you get brought nicely back down to earth, with comments like, ‘You are so weird Mom.’”