Keanu Reeves Was 'Knocking Himself Out' During John Wick 4 Nunchuck Training

During the first act of Chad Stahelski's "John Wick: Chapter 4," the titular character (Keanu Reeves) gets into a massive, dragged-out fight in the Okinawa branch of the Continental Hotel. Being a resourceful assassin, John Wick can kill with guns, knives, clubs, or whatever implement happens to be handy. As luck would have it, John manages to get his hands on a pair of nunchucks and proceeds to stave in several skulls. It is but one impressive action flourish in a movie overflowing with them; the flick is 169 minutes of nearly wall-to-wall fighting.

Nunchucks are a well-known weapon to anyone who grew up consuming action media in the 1980s. Thanks to an influx of ninja-based movies from the Cannon Group, the feudal Japanese assassins quickly proliferated throughout genre films, eventually reaching mainstream acceptance with properties like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." With the ninjas came a collection of Japanese weapons that many children became weirdly familiar with. Kunai, kusarigama, katanas, sai, and nunchucks were part of any schoolyard conversation. Padded nunchucks — two wooden clubs attached by a short length of chain — could even be purchased at sporting goods stores for a short while, and many kids had a wonderful time bonking themselves in the head learning how to use them.

Said bonking, it seems, also happened to Reeves as he trained to use the nunchucks for "Chapter 4." In a special behind-the-scenes video available on YouTube, Reeves can be seen hurling down his nunchucks in utter frustration.

The John Wick Workout

The amount of fight training Keanu Reeves went through lasted a long time and, from the looks of it, was incredibly brutal. Reeves is now 58, and had to push himself extra hard to perform the amazing stunts and gunfights the film demanded of him. A lot of credit, too, goes to the film's massive stunt team, which created four films' worth of action for "Chapter 4." Reeves said of the action:

"It's been about 12 weeks of training. It's new levels of action. You know, 'Let's have nunchucks!' which was ... challenging. [...] 'John Wick' action asks just a little bit more. And you see the effort and the commitment from the team."

One can find multiple videos online of Reeves, out of character, learning how to use nunchucks, and working on the "John Wick: Chapter 4" fight choreography. One can see from the training, of course, that Reeves is not hitting his foes, and is not using real wooden nunchucks. 

For Men's Journal, Reeves also talked about his workout and training regimen for "Chapter 4," which involved weapons handling, driving, and many visits to a shooting range. To bulk up, there was a lot of free weight training, as well as a great deal of calisthenics. Playing John Wick also involved a new kind of diet, as bruises and other minor bang-ups were unavoidable. Reeves took a lot of supplements to accelerate his healing and get him back into fighting shape for the movie. Evidently, he took "bio-curcumin turmeric extract, NAD+ cell regenerator, and omega-3." The Breakfast of Champions. 

Men's Journal does detail how to get into shape like John Wick as well, but there are no hints as to how to better use nunchucks. One would do better to turn to a local martial arts instructor for that.