Hawkins’ resident fighting expert walks through the workouts he used to punch and kick convincingly on camera.
Brett Gelman is not exactly the first person you’d envision when you think of an 1980s-style action star. The comedic actor, whose acerbic roles in the acclaimed series Fleabag and TV cult comedies like Another Period established a loud, slightly sleazy persona, doesn’t exactly scream Schwarzenegger or Sly. His Stranger Things character Murray Bauman, a journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist introduced in the second season of the Netflix smash hit, doesn’t seem like a likely candidate to take on some of the show’s most intense fight choreography in the recently released Season 4—but as anyone who has binged the nine episode run can tell you, Gelman is more than convincing when he’s pressed to put the character’s karate skills into practice.
While the character’s dedication to his karate lessons is presented as a punchline in the first few episodes of the show, Gelman treated his practice in real life with the utmost care. He says that he trained under Master Phillip Rhee and Master Simon Rhee four days a week for three months.
"It was really learning a wide variety of punches, kicks, blocks—things of this nature—so that I would have as big of a vocabulary as I could for once I started to work with our fight choreographer." Thanks to his hard work, Gelman earned a purple belt.
Gelman welcomed the MH crew into the gym to demonstrate his standard training routine with Master Phillip Rhee, who led the actor through strikes, kicks, and blocking drills on camera. As Gelman says, these are all drills that benefit from the instruction of a Master, so if you’re interested in learning your own karate skills, look up your local studio to check out a class.
Want more celebrity workout routines? Check out all of our Train Like videos.
Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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