7 Movies to Get You Motivated to Train in Martial Arts (And A Surprising Bonus) » Skip to content

7 Movies to Get You Motivated to Train in Martial Arts (And A Surprising Bonus)

Whether you’re an experienced martial artist or just thinking of starting out, motivation isn’t always easy when you train in martial arts. It can be helpful to spend some time building up your motivation with one of the many great martial arts movies—or maybe you just want a little entertainment. Whatever you’re in need of, we’ve got a list of the best martial arts movies ready for you.

The Karate Kid

Ask any of your martial arts fellow students or instructors who are over the age of 40—this was probably the movie which led them to join a dojo for the first time if they lived in America during the ‘80s. The film is still a classic. It inspired many Americans who weren’t familiar with the martial arts to consider practicing for the first time. The Karate Kid introduced a generation of young Americans to karate.

Enter the Dragon

This might be Bruce Lee’s most famous film. This film came out in 1973, though sadly, Lee passed away only a month before. The film is Bruce Lee at his finest. It’s also one of the most financially successful martial arts films ever made, spawning even more martial arts films through the 70’s and 80’s.


This is a classic 80’s movie; not strong on the writing or plot but chock full of action. It was huge for the career of Jean Claude Van Damme, who inspired many martial artists in the 90’s.

The plot centers around a martial arts competition, held underground. It’s violent and grimy and it’s often cited as a film that inspired the popularity of mixed martial arts and cage fighting. It’s also fun for a retro watch.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

This film made martial arts cool and mystical again, something to elicit wonder in the mind of viewers. It moved away from the more violent films of the 80’s and 90’s. It brought some of the history and culture and myth back into discussion about martial arts.

The special effects were unapologetically unrealistic, but just realistic enough not to be completely ridiculous. No other film has inspired martial artists to increase their vertical high-flying kicks or try to float!

Renzo Gracie: Legacy

If you love MMA or jiujitsu, few other documentaries will inspire you more. The film is shot over many years, giving it a scope that most films can’t hope to achieve. It follows the career of Renzo Gracie, documenting his ascent in the world of mixed martial arts.


Boxing is sometimes characterized as more of a sport than a martial art, but there is one argument for including this film on this list that can never be refuted: Eye of the Tiger. Don’t bother trying to find a more inspirational soundtrack to train with!

Beyond the famous soundtrack, Rocky is the story of a common man who won’t quit and fights against the odds. It was released during a low point in American cultural history, when audiences needed a character like Rocky. The film still inspires people decades later.

Be Water

This is a recent film. It’s a documentary on Bruce Lee, though certainly not the first. The name derives from a famous Bruce Lee saying. Bruce Lee’s impact on the world of martial arts and pop culture can’t be underestimated; this film helps viewers understand why.

David Blaines TV Specials

Feeling sore from your last workout? A bit too tired to go train? Watch five minutes of any David Blaine special and you’ll feel like you can’t complain. Blaine is a “magician” who is better known for setting up difficult and extreme physical and mental challenges. He has frozen himself in a block of solid ice for three days. He has balanced on a tiny platform very high above the ground for days without sleeping…then he jumped off the platform and survived. The list of seemingly impossible physical feats goes on.

If you’re looking for proof that the human body and mind are capable of amazing things, then watch any of Blaine’s odd physical challenges. You’ll easily be able to shake off your soreness and get to the gym.

Ready to Start Your Martial Arts Journey?

  Now that you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to martial arts, getting your real-world training started is the next step. At Premier Martial Arts, we welcome students of all levels to enjoy the benefits of this ancient physical art. Find one of our many locations nationwide to start your own martial arts journey today.

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