We love a good rumor and, lately, all things relating to the on-off relationship between Robert Pattinson and Keira Knightly have been big news. But did the “Battling Bonnett’s” actor really give the actress a black belt in karate or was it all just a publicity stunt?

Let’s take a trip back in time to July 2012 when the English actor was spotted at the Los Angeles Martial Arts Studio training with his trainer and some other martial arts enthusiasts. We’re going to explore whether or not he really knows what he’s doing and if that silly rumor about black belts is true. Let’s dive in.

The Black Belt Behind The Scenes

If you’ve been reading our site for any length of time, you know that we’re big fans of Keira Knightly. We think she’s stunning, talented and genuinely nice, which is why we were so disappointed when her and Pattinson’s off-and-on romance was reported as being over. Hopefully, it’s just a bump in the road and they’ll eventually work things out. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the fact that Knightly is dating a “bonded” (her words, not ours) Scottish billionaire and let’s enjoy the fact that she’s getting to spend so much time with one of the most popular movie stars in the world. We love a good mystery and, as the old saying goes, “the more, the merrier” when it comes to investigating any romance. So, let’s get into it.

The Training

When you watch one of the most popular movies of all time — the Harry Potter series — you’d probably agree that Robert Pattinson is quite the karate master. In fact, he is the founder and owner of the Los Angeles Martial Arts Studio, which is where he trained for the movie. Interestingly, the studio was actually in the process of filming when he got there, so it seems like he timed his visit just perfectly. He was spotted by one of the crew members, who took a picture of him in the middle of training. Of course, we can’t confirm anything other than what we saw in the picture but, from what we can gather, it seems that he is quite the serious student. Here’s a quote from his bio on the studio’s website:

“I studied Kyokushin Karate (気子迪拉格文) with two of the greatest teachers in the world, Genshin Kobayashi (剣聖貞昌) and Master Chuck Liddell (朴珈果). They are both living legends and have dedicated their lives to sharing their knowledge with as many people as possible. I’m honored to be their student.”

The Fashion

What can I say? Sometimes, a man just wanders off into the wilderness dressed like a hunter. Fortunately, we have pictures to remind us of this fascinating moment in time.

The Fact Check

There are always rumors about celebrities and their relationships but, as we mentioned, we think that this one is just silly. We are, however, going to check it out and see if he really did get a black belt in karate or not. If so, it would be something new for the actor. He has also been spotted wearing a traditional Scottish outfit (kilt, golf outfit, and all) so maybe he’s adopted a bit of Scottish culture. Let’s take a look at some of the evidence.

Is He A Black Belt?

First of all, according to the Los Angeles Martial Arts Studio website, he is not a black belt. In fact, he is only wearing the training pants for the studio’s blue belt test. According to the website, black belts wear a black uniform with white trim. The website also lists the following designations:

  • Wu sao
  • Shaolin monk
  • Gentleman karateka
  • Maverick
  • Black Belt
  • Senior Black Belt
  • Sensei
  • Shudokan grandmaster
  • International Karate Federation (IKF) master
  • Kobayashi Karate
  • Judo
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
  • Mixed Martial arts (MMA)
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Kung Fu

So, from the above, we can see that he is not a black belt. And, for the record, neither is Chuck Liddell. But what about Genshin Kobayashi? Is he also not a black belt? Well, technically, no. According to the website, master teachers like Kobayashi are addressed as “sensei” (teacher) and wear a white belt that has a black dot in the center. On their left pants leg, they wear a white stripe bordered with a blue circle. Like Pattinson, he is not wearing a black uniform but, rather, has on a white shirt and black pants. So, while he is not a black belt, he is indeed a sensei. Furthermore, as we’ve established, Chuck Liddell is also not a black belt but he is the founder of the studio. So, it would appear that even the instructors at the Los Angeles Martial Arts Studio don’t consider themselves part of the black belt club. Interesting.

Does He Practice Karate?

We have more than enough evidence to prove that he practices karate. All the above information aside, let’s take a look at some of the pictures from his visit to the school in July 2012. Here he is, looking rather dashing in his karate gear. He’s obviously had a bit of fun with it, as he’s wearing shorts and a t-shirt with the Hollywood sign on it. And, in another picture, he is practicing with the following students:

  • Tiger Chen
  • Preston Crum
  • Dwayne Taylor
  • Dorian Jackson
  • Mike Anderson

So, there you have it. We can see that he practices various martial arts, including karate. But does he get good at them? Well, let’s take a look at his IMDB page. According to the internet Movie Database, he’s only been involved in one martial arts movie, “Living in a World of Puppets” (2016), which was based on a manga series. While it didn’t do well at the box office, it’s still well-regarded by critics. Here’s what IMDB says:

“Pattinson is phenomenal! He’s seriously committed and you can tell he’s really trying his best. The stunts were all so believable and it was such a pleasure to watch him. His fight scenes stole the show and the character he plays is such a unique mix of tough and tender. In many ways, it’s like he was born to play this character. Highly recommended!”

Does He Have Any Tournaments?

On the subject of tournaments, we only have his word that he has competed in a number of karate tournaments. However, we can’t actually confirm this. There are no records of any tournaments in the actor’s name. Here’s what we can find:

In 2009, he did take part in a tournament in England, which he won. On the subject of competitive karate, he has said:

“Yes, there’s always been this side of me that’s been interested in competition. Even as a kid, I remember thinking it would be really cool to beat someone intellectually rather than just physically. To this day, I still think it’s interesting to see who can show their skill more, rather than just their strength.”

Where Does He Practice?

This is another question that can only be answered by taking a look at pictures. We have several and, in one of them, we can see him practicing in a gym. While this doesn’t prove that he practices in a particular place, it would appear that he does. There are also several pictures of him at home training and studying martial arts. Here’s another picture, this one showing him from behind, training with the following students: