Iko Uwais was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Maisyaroh and Mustapha Kamaluddin. His grandfather, H. Achmad Bunawar, was a master of silat, an Indonesian traditional martial art, and founded a silat school. Iko himself has been learning silat since he was 10 years old. He became National Champion in 2005 in Silat Demonstration category. Iko's talent as a martial arts actor was discovered by Welsh film Director, Gareth Evans, who visited Iko's Silat school for a documentary in 2007. Evans then asked Iko to quit his daytime job as a driver in a telecommunications company and join Evans' movie production company as the leading actor in his movies.