Scott Adkins: Martial Arts Known (Belts, Fighting Style, Training)

Photo by Mokresh

Are you wondering what martial arts Scott Adkins knows and what his fighting style is?

In this article, we’ll explore: 

  • Scott Adkins’ martial arts known (timeline)
  • Scott Adkins’ fighting style
  • Scott Adkins’ martial arts belts
  • Scott Adkins’ martial arts training and schedule
  • Scott Adkins’ diet
  • Scott Adkins’ steroid use

Scott Adkins: Martial Arts Known (Timeline)

Scott Adkins knows 11 martial arts. They are judo, taekwondo, kickboxing, wushu, krav maga, Jeet Kune Do, MMA (Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling) ninjutsu, and capoeira.

While the exact timeline of Scott Adkins’ martial arts learning is unknown, here are the martial arts Scott Adkins knows and the potential order he learned them. 

1. Judo

Born on June 17, 1976, the first martial art Scott Adkins started was judo at 13 years old in 1989. He was inspired to start martial arts by Bruce Lee, after seeing him in the movie, ‘Enter the Dragon’.

Although Bruce Lee wasn’t known for his judo expertise, Scott Adkins started with judo as his father and brother were both training at a local judo club in  Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England.

The extent of Scott Adkins’ judo expertise is unknown, however, as he soon moved on to other martial arts, it’s likely he has a basic understanding of judo, which has helped him throughout his movie career.

2. Taekwondo

Scott Adkins’ second martial art was taekwondo, which he started at age 13. He was inspired to start taekwondo after seeing Jean Claude Van-Damme in the movie, ‘Bloodsport’, at the age of 12.

He was his biggest fan from 12 to 18 years old, and a huge inspiration for his dedication to martial arts. He wanted his body and his fighting skills.

Shortly after turning 13, Scott Adkins was robbed while on a bus, further increasing the intensity of his taekwondo training for self-defense purposes.

Soon after this incident, Scott Adkins turned his dad’s garage into his own gym where he could practice his strikes and train his body. He even put in a shrine dedicated to Bruce Lee.

He quickly fell in love with taekwondo and continued training it throughout his teenage years despite picking up other martial arts (discussed below). 

He famously trained under the instruction of Ron Sergiew at the Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB), Europe’s largest martial arts organization.

6 years after starting, Scott Adkins earned a black belt in taekwondo at the age of 19, his first and only martial arts black belt.

3. Kickboxing

The third martial art Scott Adkins picked up was kickboxing at the age of 16. Another striking martial art, Scott Adkins started kickboxing because he wanted to continue training his kicks but he wanted to improve his boxing too.

As mentioned before, Scott Adkins was inspired by Jean Claude Van-Damme in the movie Bloodsport (1988), as well as his other movies such as Kickboxer (1989), where kickboxing was the martial art he used.

After a couple of years of training in kickboxing, Scott Adkins continued under the guidance of kickboxing instructor, Anthony Jones.

This training had a big impact on Scott Adkins, leading him to become a kickboxing instructor for the Professional Karate Association. Once per week, he guided karate classes at the Fitness First in Bearwood, Smethwick.

Kickboxing is also the reason Scott Adkins landed his first acting role in ‘City’ Central’ at the age of 22 after he famously taught kickboxing to Tony Jordan’s children, the well-known British television writer.

In ‘City Central’, Scott Adkins uses his judo, taekwondo, and kickboxing skills against police officers.

While working on ‘City Central’ with Tony Jordan, he was spotted by Tung Wai, the director of ‘Extreme Challenge’. He was then flown to Hong Kong to film the movie, which is where his next martial art was learned and used.

4. Wushu

The following martial art Scott Adkins learned was wushu. His wushu talent and training were evident in his first martial arts role, in the 2001 movie, Extreme Challenge.

He was 25 at the time, so his wushu training likely started around 1999 or 2000 when he was 23/24 years old.

In Extreme Challenge (2001), Scott Adkins fights against Yeung Chuen on a platform in a lake. Scott Adkins uses metal nunchucks while Yeung Chuen uses a bo staff in their 2-minute battle.

In an interview, Scott Adkins explained how they spent 2 whole days on a raft in a lake to film the scene. Yeung Chuen was a wushu expert and Scott Adkins would’ve learned a lot from him during the movie’s filming process.

This movie also gave Adkins the chance to work with major martial arts stars: Woo-ping Yuen, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li, as well as some of Hong Kong’s best fight choreographers and directors who’d been in the industry since the 70s.

Both Jackie Chan and Jet Li had extensive backgrounds in wushu-taolu, where the required performance and elegance make for great martial arts actors who can more easily perform fight sequences.

To aid his wushu performance, Scott Adkins trained in acrobatic gymnastics to improve his explosiveness, balance, grace, and flexibility.

Scott Adkins again worked with Jackie Chan in The Medallion (2003). They have a short fight scene where they both use kung fu against one another.

Scott Adkins’ wushu skills are evident in many of his martial arts movies, especially the Undisputed movies where there are a lot of flashy slow-motion techniques used.

He again uses nunchucks in the 2009 movie, Ninja, and overall his wushu training served his martial arts movie career very well.

5. Krav Maga

The following martial art Scott Adkins learned was krav maga, although he said he only learned a little. 

Although unknown, it’s likely he started learning krav maga in 2001/2002 because he used krav maga techniques in the 2003 movie, Special Forces. 

A memorable scene involves a stealth infiltration of the enemy base, where Scott Adkins employs krav maga techniques to neutralize guards silently.

Krav maga is an Israeli martial art designed for self-defense and taught to the Israel Defense Forces. It emphasizes striking and grappling and focuses on using whatever techniques are necessary for self-defense against an aggressor.

It teaches practitioners how to protect themselves against common forms of assault such as punches, kicks, and chokeholds, and students also learn how to disarm an aggressor successfully.

Some of the most effective self-defense techniques it teaches are groin strikes, eye pokes, and headbutts.

Scott Adkins uses krav maga techniques in many of his movies, such as Ninja (2009) and Eliminators (2016), mostly to disarm enemies.

6. Jeet Kune Do

Scott Adkins claimed he’s learned a little Jeet Kune Do, which isn’t a surprise considering he’s been a massive fan of Bruce Lee since seeing his movies at 10 years old.

Jeet Kune Do was founded by Bruce Lee and is a philosophy rather than a martial art. It promotes using the best fighting styles, techniques, and lessons from all martial arts for real-life self-defense situations (combat realism).

This is why Jeet Kune Do is credited with paving the way for modern MMA. Bruce Lee described JKD as ‘casting off what is useless’ (complicated techniques) and having 3 main principles.

They are:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Directness
  3. Freedom

Essentially, Scott Adkins adopted the philosophy of Jeet Kune Do and applied it to his martial arts training.

7. Mixed Martial Arts (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling)

Scott Adkins started to learn mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2004/2005 before his starring role in Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006).

As he was already an exceptional striker due to his kickboxing and taekwondo background, he would’ve improved his judo skills for standing grappling, as well as learned some wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to become “the most complete fighter in the world” (Yuri Boyka).

Learning MMA would’ve also helped Scott Adkins blend together the many martial arts he already knew, especially the wushu-taolu aspect of bringing acrobatic and elegant performance to his MMA fight sequences.

He continues to use his MMA expertise throughout the Undisputed movies and many others, and he also has a great MMA fight against UFC fighter, Andrei Arlovksi, in the movie Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.

8. Ninjutsu

Another martial art Scott Adkins learned was ninjutsu. He would’ve learned ninjutsu around 2007/2008 in preparation for his lead role in the movie, Ninja (2009).

Ninjutsu, or Ninpō, is the Japanese martial art strategy of the ninja. Ninjutsu uses stealth, assassination weapons, and the philosophy of striking fast and escaping rather than standing to fight.

The main weapon used in ninjutsu are shuriken, a concealed weapon used as a dagger or misdirection tactic. The most popular form of shuriken used by the ninja are the ninja stars (throwing stars) as they’re perfect for stealth attacks.

Undercover in many of his movies, the philosophy of the ninja has served Scott Adkins well.

9. Capoeira

The last known martial art Scott Adkins learned was capoeira. It’s unknown at what age he started his capoeira training, but it’s likely to have been around 2008/2009 before his starring role in Undisputed 3: Redemption (2010).

A lot of capoeira techniques and movements were used in the movie, some by Scott Adkins, but mostly by Lateef Crowder’s character, Rodrigo Silva, whose martial arts base is capoeira.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art incorporating dance, fluid movements, spins, and acrobatic inverted kicks.

Scott Adkins would’ve learned some capoeira for its fluidity and acrobatic nature, as well as to aid him in the fight choreography against the movie’s capoeira expert, Lateef Crowder.

Capoeira mixes very well with his acrobatic gymnastics and wushu training to aid the visual performance of his fight sequences.

What Is Scott Adkins’ Fighting Style?

Based on his movies due to not having any real-life fight experience, Scott Adkins’ fighting style is mixed martial arts (MMA). 

Within MMA, Scott Adkins’ fighting style is as a striker as he’s heavily influenced by kickboxing and taekwondo – his 2 main martial arts.

He uses lots of flashy taekwondo kicking techniques and multi-direction kickboxing combinations in the vast majority of his movies because they look the best on camera.

He uses these kicks to keep the distance and up close he uses his boxing skills to dispatch enemies. He also uses a fair amount of judo for standing grappling and  Brazilian jiu-jitsu for ground grappling and submissions.

Essentially, Scott Adkins’ fighting style in his movies is made up of the martial arts he knows and has practiced for years – judo, taekwondo, and kickboxing.

Bringing them all together for the camera, his fight sequences are MMA-based, with a large influence from kickboxing and taekwondo, as well as his wushu and acrobatic gymnastics training.

During an interview, Scott Adkins famously said, “The thing that most people don’t understand about film fighting, is that it’s got nothing to do with real martial arts. It’s got more in common with dancing.

A real martial artist will really struggle to show the techniques to the camera. They believe they have to do the right technique all the time, but they should be doing the right technique for the camera”.

Here’s a video showing the evolution of Scott Adkins throughout his movie career.

His fighting style features the martial arts he uses in each movie, and as can be seen, it’s mostly taekwondo and kickboxing techniques as it allows him to display his power, technique, acrobatics, balance, and martial arts skills.

Does Scott Adkins Have a Black Belt?

Yes, Scott Adkins has a black belt in taekwondo, his only martial arts black belt.

He’s also equally proficient in kickboxing, being an instructor at the Professional Karate Association (PKA). However, kickboxing doesn’t have belts.

Scott Adkins’ Martial Arts Training & Schedule

Scott Adkins has been training in martial arts and weightlifting since 13 years old, after being inspired by Bruce Lee, Jean Claude Van-Damme, and Jackie Chan.

Scott Adkins Training Schedule

Scott Adkins’ training schedule looks like this:

  • Sunday and Monday: Weight training
  • Tuesday: Martial arts
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Weight training
  • Friday: Martial arts
  • Saturday: Rest day/flexibility/stretching

His training schedule changes slightly depending on his upcoming movie role.

He’ll reduce weight training and add more martial arts and cardio sessions if he wants to be quicker, more agile, more flexible, and better with his striking and overall martial arts ability.

If he needs to be as muscular as possible as he was in the Undisputed movies, his schedule will look like the one above.

Scott Adkins trains in the gym for 40 minutes to an hour, 6 days a week, every week. He dedicates each day to either martial arts or weight lifting and adds cardio, yoga, or some form of stretching a few times per week.

Mostly he’ll stretch on his weightlifting days, as weightlifting makes his muscles really right, especially as he’s getting older. When it comes to cardio, he’ll often replace it with martial arts training at a higher pace rather than go running.

Scott Adkins Martial Arts Training

In terms of training, Scott Adkins likes to use a taekwondo paddle. It allows him to train the basics but especially the more athletic and flashy techniques.

It helps him to improve his accuracy while understanding the correct striking distance (especially with kicks) to keep people safe when it comes to filming.

Scott Adkins accidentally hit Benedict Cumberbatch very hard in the chest with a flying sidekick during the filming of Doctor Strange (2016). The sidekick sent him flying into the banister, and although it hurt him, the footage was used.

As Scott Adkins is already proficient in several martial arts, he performs pad and mitts workouts to maintain his technique and stay in shape. He also often spars to keep his techniques, footwork, movement, and focus sharp.

He’ll switch to a heavy-bag session when he’s without a partner and wants to train his power.

Scott Adkins Weightlifting

When he first started bodybuilding and weightlifting, Scott Adkins followed the principles laid out in the Joe Weider Encyclopedia and has kept the same principles ever since.

The main principle he follows is progressive overload, where he tries to add weight each session to keep adding muscle mass. 

And while he looks to add weight often, Scott Adkins likes high-volume training of 8 to 12 reps of 3 to 4 sets for each exercise.

He sticks to fundamentals such as bench presses, deadlifts, squats, and pull-ups as he believes bodybuilding is best kept simple.

He also likes to do pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, and plyometric squats as these exercises are perfect for martial arts movies because they train you to jump high and explosively while maintaining agility.

Outside of the fundamental lifts, Scott Adkins tries to focus on building and maintaining a strong core at all times. This is important for his movie roles, as every time he kicks (which is a lot) he’s using his core.

To train his core, Scott Adkins likes to do L-Sits, plank to kettlebell pull-throughs, and windscreen wipers. He also does a lot of back extension exercises with slow and considered movements to train his posterior chain and core.

No matter which exercise he does, Scott Adkins believes maximum intensity is key to improving both weightlifting and martial arts sessions.

Scott Adkins Diet and Nutrition

When he’s shooting a movie, Scott Adkins tries to drop body fat and maintain muscle mass so that his muscles are popping and movie-ready.

To do this, Scott Adkins eats the majority of his carbohydrates at breakfast and lunch and then cuts them out. The only carbohydrates he eats after lunch are fruits as a snack and vegetables with either meat or fish for dinner. 

With these simple dieting principles, along with martial arts training and weightlifting, Scott Adkins says his body fat is easily stripped as he can achieve a calorie deficit and maintain his energy.

Does Scott Adkins Take Steroids?

It’s unlikely Scott Adkins takes steroids year-round, but he’s definitely taken steroids in the past for some of his movie roles.

The most obvious roles Scott Adkins took steroids for were the Undisputed movies, especially Undisputed II where he was at his biggest and looked well over 200 lbs.

In an interview, Scott Adkins said, “I put on a lot of muscle because I would have looked too small next to Michael (Jai White) if I hadn’t.”

He also spoke about how he had 6 months to pack on as much muscle as possible, and that he was carrying an extra 6 kilograms of muscle which he felt on his knees and back when performing the acrobatic taekwondo kicks.

So, while he’d never openly admit to taking steroids for the role, putting on 6 kilograms (13.2 lbs) of muscle in 6 months for a seasoned weightlifter is impossible without steroid use.

In his YouTube video about Scott Adkins’ steroid use, More Plates More Dates believes he took a testosterone base with a dihydrotestosterone (DHT) derivative such as Anavar, Winstrol, Masteron, or Primobolan.

DHT derivates are used by athletes and fighters as they increase performance in a number of ways. 

They give neurological support and improve cognitive outcomes and sharp reflexes, and they also increase force production without cranking estrogen too high. They also help avoid bloatedness and water retention.

In Undisputed II, it’s highly likely the amount of testosterone he used was higher as he had the largest muscle mass in this movie.

Apart from the Undisputed movies, he also looked suspicious in the 2009 movie, Ninja. He was especially diced and his muscles had a capped look, indicative of steroid use.

Overall, it’s not a surprise Scott Adkins would take steroids, as every action and martial arts movie star has taken them for roles.

Here’s the video of MPDT talking about Scott Adkins’ steroid use:

To Conclude

Scott Adkins knows 11 martial arts and has been training in martial arts and weightlifting for over 30 years since the age of 13.

Scott Adkins’ martial arts are judo, taekwondo, kickboxing, wushu, krav maga, Jeet Kune Do, MMA (Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling) ninjutsu, and capoeira.

With his training in both Jeet Kune Do and MMA, and how he brings many martial arts styles together in his movies, Scott Adkins’ fighting style must be considered MMA.

Within his MMA fighting style, Scott Adkins is a striker, heavily influenced by his taekwondo and kickboxing background, as well as his wushu and acrobatic gymnastics skills.

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