We all remember at least one scene from an action blockbuster where Tom Cruise absolutely smashes a bunch of evil mofos and walks off into the horizon like he was born and bred at the Shaolin temple.
This does leave us wondering if Good ol’Tommy is actually a skilled lethal weapon like Ethan Hunt or just another millionaire superstar who happens to be built like a brick wall.
Luckily for you, we found out all there is to know about Tom’s ability and training in the martial arts, so you know where to place your bets if he ever gets in trouble with a Kung-Fu master like Jackie Chan or is challenged by a complete noob like Justin Bieber.
But that would never happen. Right?
Tom Cruise The Stunt Master or Trained fighter?
It is a well-known fact in the industry that Tom Cruise insists on doing most of his stunts himself. This does make him a total badass who isn’t afraid to get a little scraped up or even break a bone every now and then.
While filming for MI6:Fallout, he had to leap from one building roof to another, during which he broke his ankle.
Now any sane person would be overcome with pain and get to the ER immediately, but not Tom.
He continued the scene in the same single shot! although this scene resultantly became improvised with an unscripted limp with which he ran onwards, to complete the mission like a real-life super spy.
Most of you would be surprised to know that Cruise has not had any ‘formal’ Martial Arts training that would give him a ‘belt’ or any such official award.
This does not mean he isn’t capable of dishing out out extra-large servings of ‘whoop-ass’  if confronted with a threat.
Cruise attributes his ripped physique and a relentless drive to his days as an Inter-State wrestler  for Glenridge High School, so it would be safe to say that he was a ‘fighting man’ since his early days.
Recall the scene from Jack Reacher, where Tom is minding his own business at a small-town bar but rejecting a total cutie leads to being called out by a Jock-like douchebag and his 4 cronies.
He ducks the right hook from the alpha-douchebag, countering with a left elbow which looks like an uppercut, followed by a kick in the nuts.
He calmly proceeds to dismantle two of the minions while the other two cower away in fear.
In almost all his fight scenes, he never fights like a street brawler but instead with impressive techniques and superior control which can only come from weeks upon weeks of tough training.
Martial Arts Training Undertaken by Cruise?
Tom might not have a ‘belt’ but he does have three decades of fight scene training ‘under his belt’. For Jack Reacher, he had to go through 8 weeks of training which consisted of 2-hour grueling sessions ,every single day.
The Man that trained Tom and his team for the film was Martial arts expert and Jiu-Jitsu pro Robb Alonzo.
Robb, who is also a stunt coordinator and works with Cruise in almost every movie designed the fight training for Jack Reacher with the following notion in mind.
“I thought, if I’m a secret agent, I have to be really efficient with all the moves,”
The fighting style and technique employed by Robb for the training is called the Keysi fighting method or KFM which is a martial art of Spanish gypsy origin.
It is the same method that was used by Christian bale to prepare for his fight scenes for The Dark Knight and has been used frequently by other action-stars.
This method is known to utilize defensive ‘covering’ technique in an offensive manner. Exactly like that ‘reverse upper cut elbow’ to the Aforementioned alpha-douchebag in Jack Reacher. Basically, the arms are kept in the covering position while being used to land strikes.
Essentially, KFM is an ‘instinctive’ and ‘low-grounded’ style unlike some other martial arts which were developed for sport and competition, this method focuses on extreme close quarter combat and a ‘360-degree approach’ which focuses on defending against numerous attackers from various positions like kneeling, lying down, etc.
Sort of makes sense why this would be the go-to method to train a spy who is going to face off with multiple baddies.
In some ways, this method is quite similar to Krav Maga as it aims to target an attacker’s weak points such as kidneys, throat, solar plexus or as Tom prefers, the testes.
This is the same style of fighting that Tom has trained frequently since MI3.
Justin Bieber vs Tom Cruise Fight Challenge
There is no doubt that Fight Scenes from Tom’s movies would give John Wick a run for his money, but what would be the outcome if he were to get into a real fight in the octagon?
Back in 2019, Singer Justin Bieber posted a tweet challenging Tom Cruise to a UFC fight which sent the tweeting world into a frenzy, with MMA Icon Connor McGregor offering his fight promotion company’s services to organize the event.
Biebs followed up with a tweet saying that he was “just playing” and that Tom Cruise “would whoop my ass in a fight”.
He also said that he would not be in the same weight class as Tom even though their weight difference is so small that it would be easy to make weight. Excuses we think.
Luckily for all the hardcore beliebers out there, Justin did come back to reality, but what if the fight had actually happened?
It would be safe to say that Tom would have smoothly ‘cruised’ (pun intended) to victory. After all, he has been training rigorously for fight scenes for his movies since Bieber was a cell in his daddy’s sack.
So why would he have momentarily believed that he could beat up Tom Cruise? we have no idea!
Especially considering he couldn’t even appropriately retaliate for being punched by Hollywood sweetheart Orlando Bloom in Ibiza.
Perhaps he had forgotten that the boxing goat Floyd Mayweather would no longer have his back. Something to do with dissing Floyd on Instagram for frequenting strip clubs, which led to Champ labelling Bieber a “traitor”.
Tom Cruise vs Jackie Chan
As much as we love Tom, we don’t think he would stand a chance again Jackie Chan who has trained in Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, and Jeet Kune Do.
He has also trained Hapkido under the grand master Jin Pal Kim which is how he got his black belt.
Even when it comes to stunt injuries, Chan has broken bones starting from his eyebrow ridge to his ankle and everything in between.
It’s hard to think of anyone in Hollywood who has walked away from as many risky stunts and serious injuries as Jackie Chan.
Tom got balls of steel but Jackie Chan is sure to smash him if they ever fought. Skill over Will in this instance!
Movies in Which Tom Has Trained Different Martial Arts
Here are the movies in which Tom Cruise trained in martial arts.
The Last Samurai
Martial Arts don’t only involve hand to hand combat. Traditionally weapons training was part of martial arts training.
To play the role of a captured European soldier who changes sides and becomes a samurai, Cruise had to go through a tiresome process which spanned over several martial arts.
This is perhaps the closest he has gotten to learn martial arts not just as a means of self-defense and perfecting fight choreography, but one which included mental discipline and philosophical cultivation.
As he said himself in a Warner Bros press release:
“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.”
To turn the bitter Alcoholic Captain Nathan Algern into a Katana-wielding Rider, he had to go through almost a year of training in Kendo, Japanese Martial arts, weapons training, and learning to use weapons while riding a horse which is pretty much a forgotten martial art these days. Which makes it even more impressive in our opinion.
It is not often you see Tom play a Villain assassin. Although it is not much of a surprise from a man who loves to take risks.
For the Role of Vincent, He had to take handgun training and considerable knife training so he could actually pass off as a cold-blooded professional killer
He did it exceptionally well and we are keen to see Tom bringing out his dark side again in the future.
So next time when you’re at the bar and Tom accidentally spills his drink on you, it is best not to aggravate him.
He is definitely more of a cool and dangerous Jack Reacher than a stressed and emotional Jerry Maguire.