Millions of people watched Chadwick Boseman battle for the Wakandan throne in Marvel’s box-office-record-breaking Black Panther over the weekend.
Viewers in Tampa Bay probably didn’t realize that at least some of T’Challa’s moves trace back to here, where Boseman trained with martial artist Marrese Crump.
On a recent episode of Vice’s Desus & Mero, Boseman was asked how he got in fighting shape for the demanding role.
“I was able to train with a guro, Marrese Crump, in Tampa,” Boseman said. ("Guro" is a Filipino word for a teacher of martial arts.)
Boseman also said he’d first worked with jiu-jitsu Grandmaster Bill McCloud in Brooklyn, and later, with Marvel’s fight choreographers at a camp before filming, plus endured grueling, five-hour workouts for months with a conditioning coach.
Crump is a martial artist, fight choreographer and actor who grew up in south Hillsborough County’s Progress Village neighborhood, and previously ran 3R Self Defense Academy in Carrollwood. These days he’s based in Atlanta.
Boseman posted several photos and videos of them training together to his Instagram in 2016 before filming started, and in 2017 as production was going on.
In a recent interview with kungfukingdom.com, Crump praised Boseman’s athleticism, and said he already had a strong grasp of martial arts principles and philosophy.
“T’Challa’s fighting style has its own vibe and rhythm. It has to start with the mindset first. Chadwick was already tapping into all that, so we aligned our thoughts and built the structure from that foundation,” Crump told the website. “As far as training, we covered many areas such as empty hand, weapons, technology, strategies and mind-science. To protect the nation, he needed to have knowledge of many different methods of combat, even ones beyond the borders of Wakanda as well.”
Fans of martial arts movies might recognize Crump from The Wrong Side of Town, in which he faces off in a fight scene against another Tampa guy and Marvel film star, Dave Bautista. Bautista also trained with Crump in Tampa before that film.
Crump has also appeared in The Man With The Iron Fists and starred in Tom Yum Goong 2 in which he faced off with Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa.