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Stranger Things' Brett Gelman Got Seriously Into Karate For His Murray Role

"Stranger Things" Season 4 saw the gang take on the evil Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), a Freddy Krueger-like fear demon that proved to be one the most devilish villains the town of Hawkins had ever seen. Along the way, Eleven/Jane Hopper (Millie Bobby Brown) had to take down the somehow-alive Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) once again, Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) had to slay Metallica's "Master of Puppets" while facing Demobats in the Upside Down, and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) had to be rescued from a gulag in Russia's Kamchatka.

Coming to Hopper's aid in the newest season were Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), and the double-agent Yuri Ismaylov (Nikola Đuričko) who went through the bowels of hell in the Russian prison system to save Hawkins' favorite police chief. (Some fans thought the whole thing didn't really make sense.) Luckily for the group, Murray had been practicing karate, albeit against children. But nevertheless, those skills — and a handy flamethrower — helped save the day. In an interview last July, Gelman talked about what went into those karate scenes and how much he got into the process.

As a fan of the genre, Gelman finally got to be an action hero

Brett Gelman, who plays the affable conspiracy theorist Murray in "Stranger Things," finally got to show off his karate skills in the Netflix show's fourth season and become an action star. In an interview with Vulture, Gelman shared that as a lover of the action film genre and as someone who was uncoordinated when he was younger, it was very satisfying to channel his inner Van Damme. "I trained, for three months and four days a week, with Simon Rhee and Phillip Rhee, who are masters in Taekwondo," he said. "I wanted to make sure that I reflected and represented being a black belt as much as possible."

While he wasn't actually striving for the black belt, Gelman wanted to make sure his training was as extensive as those who actually would. According to Gelman, the regimen included "a lot of combinations of punching, kicking, and blocking; the different types you can do in martial arts [are] very extensive. You could train for three months and only scratch the surface of the vocabulary you acquire."

Gelman wanted to learn that vocabulary "so when I got with Hiro Koda, who was the ['Stranger Things'] choreographer, I could use what I learned and know what Hiro was talking about when he wanted me to do something. Or if I didn't know what he was talking about, I would be able to quickly learn it because my body was used to learning martial art moves. I was drenched in sweat at the end of every single workout."

Gelman was taken by how much power he had within him

His fight training and what he learned showed "Stranger Things" actor Brett Gelman that he could inflict a lot of damage on another human being. He was able to sidekick a breakaway board that he was told was the equivalent of breaking a person's ribs.

"For a lot of the training, they made sure the way I was performing the moves would look good on-camera," Gelman recounted. "For example, the hooks might be wider on-camera than they would be in actual self-defense." Regardless of whether he was doing the moves for TV or to increase his belt status, the way it looked was all important.

While Gelman doesn't think he's mastered anything at this point — he acknowledged as much above — he is most proud of learning to do both perfect side kicks and roundhouse kicks. "It was very satisfying, knowing I had that power in me," he said of the force behind his hits. Fans will have to wait until the fifth and final season of "Stranger Things" to see if Murray Bauman can use his karate skills one more time before the show comes to a close.