Tom Hardy Just Won Double Gold At A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament
— Updated on 8 May 2023

Tom Hardy Just Won Double Gold At A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament

— Updated on 8 May 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Picture it now: after years of learning the Gentle Art the hard way, you sign up for the 2022 REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. When the day finally comes, you pack your duffle bag, eat a banana – nothing too heavy before weigh-ins, just something for a hit of potassium – and make your way down to Wolverhampton’s Aldersley Leisure Village. Hips stretched, belt tied, you step onto the assigned mat, bow, and face your opponent. That’s when you realise this isn’t your regular Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu hobbyist — it’s Tom Hardy.

Yes. For the uninitiated, the 44-year-old actor of Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises, Venom, and Peaky Blinders fame has been (sporadically) training in BJJ since 2011; shortly after production wrapped for his masterpiece of an MMA drama Warrior, in which he starred alongside Australia’s own Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte. At the time of this writing, Tom Hardy is a four-stripe blue belt on the precipice of purple. And considering his dominant performance this past weekend which yielded two gold medals, a promotion may soon be in order.

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Tom Hardy Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament Win - 2022 REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship

While it’s unclear what his journey to the top podium resembled in the no-gi event, reports indicate Hardy swept his division in the gi event with back-to-back submission victories. None of this points and advantage bullshit. Based on the footage we scrounged online, the man dealt out armbars and a leg lock of some kind. Probably an ankle lock. Toeholds, kneebars, and heel hooks aren’t usually legal for blue belts in BJJ competitions.

One of the matches recorded begins with Tom Hardy’s opponent – military veteran Danny Appleton -pulling guard and closing it up before threatening the triangle. Hardy defends, stacking Appleton, later scrambling to knee-on-belly. Hardy transitions to the North-South position and threatens a kimura lock, but Appleton refuses to budge. That’s when Hardy decides to go in the opposite direction with the limb he already has locked up and secures the armbar. Appleton taps.

“Imagine waiting for a semi-final match, first blue belt tournament, and Tom Hardy comes matside,” Danny Appleton wrote on Instagram.

“What an honour, strong as a bull, but I tried my best. Amazing day, massive thanks to REORG. Amazing day for an even better cause.”

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Another match recorded between Tom Hardy and a fella named Damian Olszewski begins in similar fashion. Olszewski pulls guard, Hardy stacks him. There’s a stray upkick from the former, apologies and reassurances are exchanged. As the hostilities resume in the centre of the mat, instead of passing the open guard, Hardy opts for the leg entanglement and secures the ankle lock(?). Olszewski taps.

Tom Hardy isn’t exactly the only celebrity Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, either. Obvious advocates like Joe Rogan and the late Anthony Bourdain aside, everyone from Henry Cavill, Jonah Hill, Demi Lovato, and Mario Lopez, to Russell Brand, Keanu Reeves, and Jim Carrey have been known to grace the mats. On the top end of Hollywood’s martial arts pecking order, Ashton Kutcher has recently earned the rank of brown belt under Rigan Machado, while director Guy Ritchie and sitcom fixture Ed O’Neill have long been BJJ black belts.

According to Grappling Insider, as hinted by the competition name, this tournament was staged by a charity called REORG which apparently provides training for “disabled combat veterans in the UK suffering from either serious injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.” Other avenues of support REORG pursues include providing the ex-servicemen/servicewomen with memberships, clothes, and a community to lean on. A good cause, indeed.

Find out more below.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]