American actor Jack Black has voiced the title role of DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda. Does the actor know martial arts in real life?
Jack Black has dabbled in martial arts. He received judo and karate training as a child. He has jokingly described his high level of martial arts skills in recent years, however, Black has yet to seriously showcase a significant talent for any martial art before a camera.
Let’s look into the evidence of whether, or not, Jack Black possesses a knowledge of martial arts.
Kung Fu Panda
A prime reason one might wonder if Jack Black has a knack for a martial art, is his starring voice role as Po in the Kung Fu Panda franchise.
Jack Black has starred in three feature films as Po, as well as short films as the same character. Po is an innocent but tenacious panda who can learn kung fu at a glance.
Watch this epic fight scene from the feature film of the series, released in 2008. If only Jack Black had these skills real life.
The Song “Karate”
As you probably know, Jack Black has been part of the comedy rock duo “Tenacious D” since 1994. In 2001, they released their debut, self-titled album. The album featured two karate-based songs—”Karate” and “Karate Schnitzel” (a skit).
In the lyrics for Karate, Jack Black proclaims, “With karate I’ll kick your ass!” to a bemused man who has apparently stolen Black’s love interest.
In the music video, Jack Black delivers an impressive flying side karate kick which ends up beheading his opponent. Fortunately the man is able to reattach his head, with no noticeable repercussions.
As you might have been able to tell from the description of the video, the stunt is most probably a bit of film trickery. Watch the strange and hilarious music video:
He Had Judo and Karate Lessons (At Some Point)
It’s not known exactly how long ago Jack Black had formal martial arts training, but he has stated that he had lessons in both martial arts as a child.
Talking about his days as a youthful defensive fighter, he revealed that he never got to practice with weapons, saying “Perhaps I wasn’t ready.”
Jack Black learned some impressive tricks in his adolescence and has a favorite move he likes to bust out on stage. He told Q magazine, “Oh yeah, I have a mini tiger roll.”
“I learned that move back in my judo class days; it’s a dive and then you go into a spinning somersault. There was a time where I felt that the show wasn’t complete without a mini tiger roll. It’s pretty powerful,” the actor continued.
Is Jack Black a Martial Arts Expert?
No—seems to be the answer. Although he had lessons for an unknown amount of time, and an unknown number of years ago, one can hardly come to the conclusion that Jack Black is more talented than any other grown man who went to Judo class as a child.