Keanu Reeves admits he gets sucked into Jiu-Jitsu: The deeper you go in training, you get less normal life

For his role as the skilled assassin John Wick in the popular action film franchise, Keanu Reeves has undergone intense training in martial arts, weapons handling and tactical driving.

But one discipline he has fully immersed himself in is the grappling art of jiu jitsu. Reeves admits this deep dive into the nuances of jiu jitsu has come at the expense of having a normal life outside of training.

“As you get deeper and deeper into training, you get less and less normal life,” Reeves says in an interview about his preparation for the latest John Wick installment. “Which I’ve enjoyed, but focused on it [training]. Friends are like, ‘Where did you go?’ I’m in the training paradigm.”

For John Wick: Chapter 4, Reeves spent months working with renowned Brazilian jiu jitsu masters like the Machado brothers to truly elevate his skills. “We brought the masters in, the Machado brothers, just so we can get the best knowledge to come in and really up his jiu jitsu game,” says director Chad Stahelski. “We spent a lot of time grappling.”

Rigan Machado, who helped train Reeves, was amazed by the actor’s commitment and ability to absorb high-level techniques. “Every position, he knows how to escape, how to set up, how to counterattack, and how to do submissions,” Machado said. “They have their focus, their determination, everything perfect. They’re very present.”

This dedication to mastering jiu jitsu’s intricacies is part of Reeves’ intense preparation for performing as much of his own martial arts choreography and stunts as possible in the John Wick films. “I really enjoyed the physical side of it,” Reeves explains. “I’m a Virgo. I like tasks. I like the puzzle. I like trying to get good at something. So it’s fun to do physical stuff, figure it out and try to be great at it.”

While the deep immersion in training comes at the expense of a normal personal life, for Reeves it’s worth it to bring unmatched authenticity to the film’s kinetic fight sequences and gunplay. His grappling skills are just one part of the intensive weapons and combat training that allows him to do a majority of his own stunts. It’s this grounded realism that has made the John Wick movies a global hit with action fans worldwide.