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Why Freddie Prinze Jr. Is Empowering His 7-Year-Old Daughter to Learn Martial Arts

Courtesy of Freddie Prinze Jr.

The favorite memories you have with your parents growing up are probably the little hobbies you did together. For Freddie Prinze Jr and his daughter, those memories will probably be centered around cooking and, you know, kicking ass jiujitsu-style.

Despite your 90s-girl theories, Prinze's biggest purpose in life isn't acting: "Acting was not my number-one passion even when I was doing it," he says. "When I became a father, acting wasn't even in the top 10. Food has always been number one, video games and surfing are a close two and three. Martial arts—well, they made me do it for so long, so I still have some resentment—but that's like number four."

Prinze took his love of cooking as far as Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Pasadena before making his big break in acting. Years later, he's returning to his roots (and memories) with his recently released cookbook, Back to the Kitchen. Prinze teamed up with Palmolive to share some "messipes" and talk about the things that bring his family together. While Prinze shares his number-one passion, food, with the whole fam, he shares his number four, jiujitsu, with his 7-year-old daughter Charlotte Grace. (BTW, Prinze is one of many superfit celeb dads who are total #dadgoals.)



The Legend of C ... #GoHaveSomeFunWithYourKids #archery

A post shared by Freddie Prinze (@realfreddieprinze) on


When he was just 3 years old, Prinze was introduced to martial arts by his godfather, Bob Wall—a regular fighter in any Bruce Lee movie, who you can spot by "the scar that goes down his eye," says Prinze. "Before I could even construct sentences I was throwing wheel kicks," he says. At age 12, he was introduced to Brazilian jiujitsu.

"I've always found that jiujitsu is the best martial arts for women because the position of being on your back with an aggressor between your legs—as a jiujitsu practitioner, that guy's in a lot of trouble," says Prinze. And that's exactly why he thinks it's so important that his daughter learns it too. (Self-defense is just one of many benefits of martial arts training.) His 5-year-old son, Rocky James, is also learning to box, but for Charlotte, it's all jiujitsu.

"They don't even teach her how to punch," he says. "But she will know how to take someone down (whether they're bigger than her or not) with leverage. And if she's the one on her back, she won't have to worry, because she'll know how to do a triangle choke, an arm lock—there are a million options. It's very important to me that she's able to do that."

While we're total boxing advocates (seriously, is there anything more satisfying than landing a good punch after a tough day?), Prinze has a point about its efficacy as a self-defense too: "If you weigh 100 pounds and a guy weighs 200 pounds, a punch is not going to do anything," he says. "It's going to make him mad. But if you just move your arm across their neck a little bit while he's trying to grab you and it cuts off that vein—they go to sleep, and you can leave." (Ready to try it? Start with these basic MMA-inspired moves.)

Yeah, teaching your kids to cook and eat healthy (which Prinze also gets a gold star for) is pretty admirable. But teaching your daughter some empowering boss-babe self-defense skills? That might just be the coolest dad move ever.


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