Tom Hardy is a beloved international movie star and award-winning actor. He’s been named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and one of GQ’s Best Dressed British Men.
He also happens to be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt from the Roger Gracie-affiliated REORG BJJ organization. And, as of last month, he’s a gold medalist in BJJ competition.
To celebrate Hardy’s victory, let’s take a look at his martial arts training journey. How did he get started? Why does he train? And how did one of the more intriguing stars in Hollywood get even more interesting?
When did Tom Hardy begin training in martial arts?
Hardy is famous for the dedicated preparation that he puts into his roles. So when he signed on to play a mixed martial artist in the early 2010s, learning how to fight became an important part of his job.
The actor was no stranger to intensely physical roles when he agreed to play Tommy Riordan, a U.S. Marine who stumbles into competitive MMA while visiting his fractured family in 2011’s Warrior. He even tackled some hand-to-hand combat when he portrayed the infamous bareknuckle boxer Charles Bronson in 2008’s Bronson. But Warrior was his introduction to more formal martial arts training.
“[Preparing for for Warrior was] much more fight-oriented than Bronson,” Hardy told Interview Magazine in 2009. “Bronson was more violence.”
How did Tom Hardy train for Warrior?
To look and move like a professional fighter, Hardy turned to some of the best.
“I started training in December when I was doing another film and we trained all the way through to shooting, six weeks straight fighting with Nate Marquardt who’s a middleweight for the UFC, Anthony Rumble Johnson, who’s another middleweight for the UFC, Yves Edwards from Pride,” the star told Interview. “It was the most intense seven-day-a-week training and then we trained all the way through the first two months of shooting as well til we actually got into the ring. It was pretty intense, a step up from Bronson on fighting. The choreography was really to the letter, and it wasn’t originally backed by the UFC.”
Did Tom Hardy continue to do MMA after Warrior?
Mixed martial arts-influenced workouts and combat training have remained a staple of Hardy’s pre-action film training regimen. To prepare for Venom, for example, the actor trained up to twice a day for five times a week with a mix of MMA, boxing, and jiu-jitsu.
In addition to his work-related training, Hardy began to work on his BJJ game in his spare time. The actor became a trustee and a pupil with an organization called REORG, which is dedicated helping people with serious physical injuries, PTSD, and depression through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
According to BJJ Tribes, Hardy earned a second stripe on his white belt in 2019, and was promoted to blue belt a year later.
Does Tom Hardy compete in BJJ?
While there’s no evidence that he’s a regular on the BJJ tournament circuit, the star did make waves when he participated in a charity tournament for REORG this past August. Hardy came first in his division, winning the final with a solid arm bar. He also won the respect of his competitors in the process.
Speaking to local news, Danny Appleby said that he was “shellshocked” when he found out that he’d be facing Tom Hardy in the tournament. He was also surprised when his famous opponent told him to “’just forget it’s me and do what you would normally do.”
Appleby did just that. But Hardy was up to the challenge. “He’s a really strong guy. You wouldn’t think it with him being a celebrity. I do okay, I’ve done about six tournaments and I’ve been on the podium in every one. But he’s probably the toughest competitor I’ve had — he certainly lived up to his Bane character, that’s for sure.”
Here’s a clip of Hardy in action: