(Video) Before Actor Jason Statham was a BJJ Purple Belt, He Was a Pro Diver Who Represented England

Eight years before making his big-screen debut in the 1998 crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Jason Statham was a professional diver representing England. He competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand in three diving events – placing 8th in the 1-meter springboard, 11th in the 3-meter springboard, and 10th in the 10-meter platform event.

Though his diving career didn’t quite achieve the superstar status of his later acting exploits, Statham’s athletic background proved invaluable for his transition to becoming a bonafide action hero. “I think what I didn’t achieve (in sports) has probably helped me focus more and take my acting career more seriously,” he told the BBC in 2008.

Statham has showcased his diving and athletic skills in numerous film roles over the years, often performing his own stunts without using a body double. One of the most memorable was the 2018 movie The Meg, where his character engaged in an underwater battle with a massive prehistoric shark.

Statham discovered his passion for diving at a young age after watching a high diver perform in Miami while on a family vacation. “I was on holiday in Florida with my mom and dad,” he recalled. “And there was a guy who used to do a high dive at noon every day from one of the hotels we stayed in. And I say ‘when we get home, I am going to do that.'”

True to his word, the pre-teen Statham joined a local swimming club back in England and quickly took to the sport. Within a year he had made the British national team, kicking off a decade-long career as an elite diver.

Statham participated in the Olympic trials for the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Games but narrowly missed out on qualifying for the main event each time – something he admits was “a bit of a sore point” and one of his few regrets from his sporting days.

While his diving credentials may have gone under the radar at the time, Statham’s athletic physicality and modeling looks soon opened doors in the entertainment industry. He landed commercial modeling gigs for brands like French Connection and Levi’s after the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

It was Guy Ritchie’s gritty London crime thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels that gave Statham his first major acting role and launched his career in 1998. He quickly followed it up with a scene-stealing performance in Ritchie’s sequel Snatch two years later, cementing his status as an up-and-coming talent.

From there, Statham became one of the most bankable action stars in Hollywood via his appearances in blockbuster franchises like The Transporter, Crank, The Expendables, The Mechanic, and Fast & Furious. He has thrived by playing tough, no-nonsense anti-heroes adept at hard-hitting fight scenes and intense stunt work – skills clearly benefitting from his athletic background.


Statham’s physical preparedness even led him to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the early 2000s alongside his friend Ritchie. He has since earned a purple belt in the martial art.

In his interview for combarbear back in 2014. he said:
I hear that you and Guy Ritchie are training jiu-jitsu together. Who is better?

He has better chances to achieve good results. We started training jiu-jitsu many years ago. We first started out in a garage, where we parked our cars, then later we moved over to a gym. This was 10 years, no maybe 12 years ago. He works hard, he’s a good fighter

“How do you do you stay fit? Do you practice some martial art or any other sport?

“-I love martial arts. I do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and some kickboxing. I’m practicing anything that can help me in my profession. Even though if I wasn’t gonna do it for my job I would practice those sports anyway because I really enjoy them.”

Why exactly Jiu-Jitsu? It’s a very specific form of martial art.

“The reason why I train Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is that my face won’t get hurt as there is no a lot of contact with my face so my face won’t have bruises and any kind of damage which is very important for my profession. It’s pretty hard to stand before cameras if you have damaged face and bruises so you have to try and do something else.”

Jason Statham’s preparing for his Fast and Furious Role training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
These days Jason Statham can be seen training Jiu-Jitsu almost every day. He’s preparing for the upcoming movie “Fast and Furious Spin-off Hobbs and Shaw”. It will be a very interesting role for him as he’s teaming up with Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock”.