• Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

Why Jiu-Jitsu is the 'ultimate workout' Tom Hardy swears by

Sep 21, 2022

The secret to Tom Hardy’s movie star muscles! As he wins a Jiu-Jitsu contest at a Milton Keynes school, martial arts experts says it hones power, agility and mental-toughness – and is loved by stars because ‘ego is a non factor’ on the mat

  • Tom Hardy has surprised fans with appearances in UK Jiu-Jitsu competitions 
  • He entered a martial arts championship at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes
  • British actor took home gold during the UMAC Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022 

He’s a Hollywood action man, playing a Marvel villain and Mad Max over his 20 year career – but more recently, Tom Hardy has surprised fans across the UK with appearances in local Jiu-Jitsu competitions.

The British actor, 45, proved his skills in real life as he entered a martial arts championship at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes on Saturday.

Tom showed off his strength as he took home gold during the UMAC Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022 – after secretly arranging to take part in the fight at the local school sports hall, where he went on to floor all his opponents. 

The Dark Knight Rises actor learnt Brazilian jiu-jitsu while preparing for his role as an MMA fighter in the 2011 film Warrior, and more recently, as part of his preparation for the 2018 Venom film, he transformed his physique with mixed martial arts workouts.

Tom isn’t the only Hollywood celebrity who enjoys Jiu-Jitsu – Chris Pratt, Jonah Hill, Rebel Wilson, Gisele Bundchen and Demi Lovato have all tried their hand at the sport.

Chi Lewis-Parry, a Mixed Martial Artist and undefeated UAE Warriors Heavyweight Champion, who has appeared in Bridgerton and Ted Lasso, told FEMAIL that the exercise is popular with actors because ‘within the training room walls in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) gym, the ego is a non factor, on any given day, anyone can be king of the hill.’


He’s a Hollywood action man, playing a Marvel villain and Mad Max over his 20 year career – but more recently, Tom Hardy has surprised fans across the UK with appearances in local Jiu-Jitsu competitions. Pictured right, in Warrior, and left, in London ahead of a training session

The British actor, 45, proved his skills in real life as he entered a martial arts championship at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes on Saturday

Chi said: ‘Brazilian jiu-jitsu is arguably the most intense physical workout you can put yourself through.

‘It’s a sport that requires complete concentration and constant engagement of your muscles. This makes it an excellent workout for your body.

‘Secondary to the physical challenge, the mind is tested. Think of BJJ as a chess match where you are constantly anticipating your opponent’s next move. 

‘Working the mind muscle is just as important as the physical body. It’s an art form that is designed to take size and strength out of the equation.

‘Traditionally, martial arts are practised to teach confidence and BJJ is no different. With confidence comes discipline and this is a staple of life that can benefit multiple areas day to day.’

The martial arts expert added that the sport is great for actors because it can be practised anywhere, as long as you have a ‘willing partner and some gym clothes to sweat in’.

‘While filming for Disney earlier this year I grabbed one of the stuntmen and we worked some techniques in between takes,’ recalled Chi.

He added: ‘In my personal experience, the ego is the downfall of man but for some reason within the training room walls in a BJJ gym, the ego is a non factor, on any given day, anyone can be king of the hill.’

Shock: Tom surprised onlookers when he took part in a martial arts championship and proved he is just as much of an action star in real-life as he took home the gold

Winner: The Venom actor, 45, showed off his strength as he took part in the UMAC Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022, held at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes on Saturday

Surprise arrival: He had secretly arranged to take part in the fight at a local school sports hall, where he went on to floor all his opponents

Shocked: Crowds couldn’t believe their eyes when the Hollywood star stepped out in a blue jiu jitsu gi, which gave a flash of his toned physique as he wore his top partly opened

Personal trainer Rachael Sacerdoti added that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an excellent way for a person to get in shape and improve their fitness while learning self-defence.

THE FATHER WHO TOOK ON TOM HARDY 

Fight: Andy Leatherland, 42, took on Tom in the final and said the Hollywood star brought the same level of intensity to the fight as he does to his action films 

Andy Leatherland, 42, took on Tom in the final and said the Hollywood star brought the same level of intensity to the fight as he does to his action films.

The father, who is a sales manager and blue belt, said he had entered the local event after realising that Tom might be there.

He said: ‘I knew he fought in the last competition locally and won two golds, and I knew at that point that I fitted into his category – I was the same age, belt and weight as him.

‘We used to joke that if he was to fight, I would be the one to fight him, but I didn’t think anything of it.

‘I was contemplating the Milton Keynes tournament as it was very local. And then one morning – he goes by the name Edward Hardy – I saw that he’d actually signed up.’

Andy said he found out the day before the competition that he would only fight Tom if they came face to face in the final or bronze level match.

Action: The father, who is a sales manager and blue belt, said he had entered the local event after realising that Tom might be there 

When he faced up to the actor, he said Tom was entirely focused during the fight.

‘Lining up, he was very focused. The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t say anything.

‘When it came to the match, you couldn’t help notice that it’s him, but then it just became a competition.

‘I made a mistake and he capitalized on that. He absolutely nailed it, and he subbed me, and it was over relatively quickly.’

Andy said Tom was ‘absolutely sound’ when they chatted after the fight and admitted to him that he found the martial arts competitions ‘nerve-wracking’.

When asked if he’d fight Tom Hardy again, Andy added: ‘I would, absolutely.’

‘An all-round sport encompassing cardio, agility, strength-endurance, power, and mental-toughness, Ju-Jitsu is also brilliant for improving your stability and balance,’ she said.

‘The versatility of this martial art means that it is a prime way to exercise and develop your core and general strength. 

‘Strength training and conditioning are a vital aspect of the sport as it focuses predominantly on the ability to move, use and manipulate your own body weight to advance on your opponent.

‘Because it builds your confidence and self-control, and improves your mental state, Ju-Jitsu is the ideal practice for an actor or actress who needs to stay focused and on their game. 

‘It can also be practised anywhere, and is supreme for getting the body strong and in prime shape,’ the fitness expert added.

Last month, Tom caused a similar stir when he turned up at the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Wolverhampton, which raised money for military personnel dealing with mental and physical health issues. 

Tom was competing in his role as a trustee for the REORG Charity, which works with people with life-altering physical injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, training them in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to help aid their mental and physical recovery.

Crowds on Saturday couldn’t believe their eyes when the Hollywood star stepped out in a blue jiu jitsu gi, which gave a flash of his toned physique and intricate tattoos.

Tom looked action ready and showed off his Jiu-Jitsu skills as he floored his opponents and amazingly fought his way to the final.

The fighter, who holds a high-level blue belt in the ground-fighting combat sport, made short work of the competition as he won gold.

He was seen posing with his gold medal and certificate, which featured his full name Edward Hardy. He more commonly goes by his middle name Thomas.

According to an event description of the UMAC BJJ open, it was open to all ‘BJJ belt levels in adult, juvenile and kids divisions’. 

Andy Leatherland, 42, took on Tom in the tense final and said the Hollywood hardman brought the same level of intensity to the fight as he does to his action films.

The father, who is a sales manager and blue belt, said he had entered the local event after realising that Tom might be there. 

Elsewhere, Sean Rosborough, who sponsored the event, said the organisers knew the global mega-star would be coming to the championship a few weeks earlier.

But he said they kept the actor’s appearance ‘to themselves’ to stop masses of people ‘distracting’ him from taking part in the competition.

Sean, 37, said Tom was ‘brilliant’ with fans who approached him for photographs while adding that the mothers in the audience were ‘all over him’.

He said: ‘We found out he was coming probably a couple of weeks before. But the organisers kept it to themselves – and didn’t want masses of people turning up distracting him from what he was doing.

‘He was brilliant. A lot of people were asking for photos, and coming up to him, and he had no problem with that all. The mums were all over him. It didn’t bother him.

‘And when he was fighting, he was focused on what he was doing. He’s amazing at Jiu-Jitsu.’

Speaking of Tom’s appearance at the event, one of his opponents – who was not named – told MKCitizen that he recognised Tom straight away, saying he was ‘shell-shocked’ by the star’s surprise appearance. 

He said: ‘Everyone knows who Tom Hardy is, don’t they? I was shell-shocked. He said “just forget it’s me and do what you would normally do”. He’s a really strong guy… You wouldn’t think it with him being a celebrity.’


Incredible: Tom looked action ready and showed off his Jiu-Jitsu skills as he floored his opponents and amazingly fought his way to the final

Victory: The fighter, who holds a high-level blue belt in the ground-fighting combat sport, made short work of the competition as he won gold with an impressive arm bar

Planning: Sean Rosborough, who sponsored the event, said the organisers knew the global mega-star would be coming to the championship a few weeks earlier

Secretive: But he said they kept the actor’s appearance ‘to themselves’ to stop masses of people ‘distracting’ him from taking part in the competition

Kind: Sean, 37, said Tom was ‘brilliant’ with fans who approached him for photographs while adding that the mums in the audience were ‘all over him’


Moves: Tom was seen showing off his action star moves as he beat his opponents 

Overjoyed: After one fight, Tom flashed a huge grin as he was declared as the champion 

Tom reportedly got into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when he trained for the film Warrior, where he played the part of a former boxer who trains to be an MMA fighter.

The Max Mad star most recently starred as Alfie Solomons in the final season of hit series Peaky Blinders. 

He is expected to soon reprise his role as Eddie Brock for a third instalment of the superhero movie Venom, which is currently in pre-production.

Prepping for his role as the Marvel villain in the Spider-Man spin-off saw Tom working out five times a week and sometimes twice a day with Pro MMA fighter Nathan Jones.

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