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Did Keanu Reeves actually know martial arts when he acted for the movie "The Matrix"?

If no, how did he act in the movie?

Do he actually know any kind of Martial Arts?

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I know some actors actually know forms of the martial arts. For instance, Wesley Snipes had been practicing martial arts since he was a child. –  user4311 Mar 8 '13 at 7:41
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2 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Apparently Keanu Reeves, after the Matrix experience, got hooked on Martial Arts. But as far as the movie is concerned, we're talking about choreography (you learn moves as when you do with dancing).

According to The Matrix FAQ on Imdb:

The actors that were hired had some kind of physical background; Carrie Anne-Moss was a dancer and Keanu Reeves used to play ice hockey. These experiences were used by Yuen Woo-Ping and his stunt crew when choreographing the fight scenes although all of the actors had stunt doubles for the more dangerous stunts. Most of the actors had no previous training. The actors underwent a hard training under Master Yuen Woo-Ping who made them all look like expert Kung Fu fighters.

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I'm pretty sure on the DVD extras for the first movie, it discusses this subject at length - from memory all of the actors were sent to a bootcamp for many months before filming started to get a grasp on the basics. –  user1887 Feb 25 '13 at 14:29
    
I also remember hearing Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) say he's NOT very coordinated, and that's why he mainly throws right punches in the movie. I didn't notice that the first few times I watched The Matrix, but after hearing that and matching it again, I noticed how little variety he has! –  BrettFromLA Mar 31 at 21:45
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To add on to what Alenanno said:
This is the case for almost any movie. With any of these movies you're seeing choreographed fights, not actual fights. They're more dance than fighting, there's 0 or near 0 actual physical contact, little/no improvisation, it's all heavily planned out for visual effect. Each punch, kick, block, was planned and known to all participants, and practiced many times. Many of these roles go to professional dancers and martial artists because they need much less training, they're physically flexible, and depending on their achievements, their renown as dancers/martial artists might bring in more viewers to such a film. Dance and Martial Arts training generally involves a lot of memorizing long lists of movements, flexibility, and endurance, which is all that's generally required to do these fight scenes, and it requires less of the films budget in order to prepare the actors to learn/do the fight scene.
But anyone in physical shape, not just martial artists and dancers, can do these scenes with training and practice.

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