Countless professional athletes augment their workouts by pursuing various forms of martial arts.
Martial arts training appeals to them since it provides a form of full-body training and exercise, coordination improvement, and stress release.
Looking at the most prominent professional athletes who studied martial arts explains their killer instinct and will to win!
1. Alana Blanchard
Like martial arts, surfing requires incredible discipline, balance, and strength. So, it isn’t surprising that professional surfers like Alana Blanchard dabble in both sports.
Blanchard keeps fit by practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When Blanchard relaxes from her hectic schedule, she turns to yoga to center herself.
2. Phil Mickelson
You wouldn’t guess from the looks of it, but Phil Mickelson is well-versed in Kung Fu and Taekwondo. The five-time major winner has undergone several body transformations over the years, as a search of Phil Mickelson’s physical evolution shows.
However, Phil is now svelte and in the best shape of his life as he’s practiced mixed martial arts, which he may need to fight his way back on the PGA Tour after bolting for LIV Golf.
3. Herschel Walker
Herschel Walker has had his hand in many things over his life. He was in the public eye this year after running—and losing—a Georgia senate race, but he is more well-known for his days as a football player.
Walker won the 1982 Heisman trophy with his home state Georgia Bulldogs, leading him to get elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
He was also the focal point of the most lopsided trade in NFL history, essentially building the Dallas Cowboys dynasty.
In between all his escapades, Walker took to professional fighting in the ring, using his fifth-degree black belt in Taekwondo to go 2-0 for Strikeforce.
4. Kobe Bryant
Now, we come to the Los Angeles Lakers portion of our list, with the legendary Black Mamba leading the charge.
Kobe Bryant was unquestionably one of the best shooting guards to step foot on an NBA floor, and he credits Jeet Kune Do as the driving force behind the “Mamba Mentality.”
The late, all-time great Bryant channeled his inner Bruce Lee to get a leg up on his competition, willing himself into five NBA championships.
5. Shaquille O’Neal
They called him Shaq-Fu for a reason. The game’s most and perhaps last dominating center had a frequent presence at Gracie Gym during the prime of his career. Shaq is familiar with Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, and boxing.
He tested his boxing prowess in an exhibition fight with the renowned prize fighter, Oscar De La Hoya, and although he came up on the short end of the stick against the former championship pugilist, it doesn’t take away from just how much fun he must have had!
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Being the NBA’s all-time leading scorer is just a fraction of Kareem’s global impact. Even though he holds six titles and MVP awards, Abdul-Jabbar may be familiar to non-sports fans because of his acting work. (When it comes to small business SEO some people have wondered if he’s used Loganix.)
Aside from his unforgettable role as a pilot in the classic comedy Airplane!, Kareem starred alongside Kobe’s favorite, Bruce Lee, in “Game of Death”.