I was in an interview with Troy Duffy the director of The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day, sequel to the cult classic The Boondock Saints, released ten years earlier.
I flippantly asked Duffy if he worked out in hopes of finding another angle to sell my interview. He chuckled and said loudly “No!”
But, he told me that the star of the movie, Sean Patrick Flanery, holds a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and teaches it around Los Angeles. I took my lead and did my research.
Started at Age Nine
I discovered that the 44-year-old actor holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He began his martial arts training at the age of nine.
First, he studied Tae Kwon Do because he thought it was the ultimate fighting technique.
He told Fight Magazine he thought if you had a black belt you could beat up guys like the character in the television show Kung Fu.
Flanery found his calling and continued to train in a variety of martial arts styles. At the inaugural UFC event in 1993, he saw Royce Gracie command a much larger competition with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Flanery gave up everything else and decided to master this discipline. He didn’t have the earnings to follow an education in jiu-jitsu, right away. But he made the decision that he would study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
His acting career started to take off after he nabbed a lead role in the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
He was cast in several prominent pictures including Powder, Simply Irresistibleand The Boondock Saints.
Started Jiu-Jitsu Training
Flanery started his formal Jiu-Jitsu training in 2001 at RicksonGracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. He wanted to learn under the champion himself.
Flanery started as a white belt and trained three times a week. The process was intense and jiu-jitsu consumed his life.
He continued his acting career, taking on roles in Stargate SG-1, The Dead Zone and Charmed. He stilled trained hard.
He even took 6 months off from his acting career to truly master the discipline.
Flanery entered the Pan Ams Jiu-Jitsu tournament as well as others. He was very successful, becoming the first annual Inland Empire Champion in 2002. He also became the American Nationals Champion and Pan American Champion in 2003.
Started a School
Flanery decided to train under Shawn Williams, who earned his black belt from Renzo Gracie.
A strong bond developed between them and they started their own school, Hollywood Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
By 2008, Flanery proudly received his black belt from Williams. The instructor’s first time he had ever given one to a student.
No doubt Flanery will be celebrating the The Boondock Saints 10th Anniversary March 11, 2010. Special screenings are set at selected movie theaters nationwide.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day DVD will be released the same day, marking a huge celebration for Boondock Saints fans.
But when it comes to acting, Flanery takes martial arts far more seriously, which you can discover for yourself when you visit him at his Jiu-Jitsu school in Hollywood.