Tom Hardy says jiu-jitsu has been ‘key’ to his ‘well-being’ following past drug and alcohol problems

Tom Hardy has said practicing jiu-jitsu has been ‘key’ to helping his ‘well being’ as well as past battles with addiction and mental health.

The actor, 45, surprised onlookers when he took part in a martial arts championship in Milton Kenes on Saturday and proved he is just as much of an action star in real-life as he took home the gold.

Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, Tom shared a passionate post about the positive impact the martial art has had on his life and said he participated in the competition as part of global non-profit organisation REORG.

Candid: Tom Hardy has said practicing jiu-jitsu has been 'key' to helping his 'well being' as well as past battles with addiction and mental health

Candid: Tom Hardy has said practicing jiu-jitsu has been ‘key’ to helping his ‘well being’ as well as past battles with addiction and mental health

He wrote: ‘Addiction is difficult and complex stuff to navigate; as is mental health. Subjects which are both deeply personal for me and extremely close to my heart.

‘It is an honour to be able to represent the charity and my team REORG and the great work they do supporting the mental health and well-being of veterans of service, military and first responders through the therapeutic benefits of Jiu Jitsu and fitness training.

‘Simple training, for me (as a hobby and a private love ) has been fundamentally key to further develop a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well being. 

‘I can’t stress the importance it has had and the impact on my life and my fellow team mates.’

Surrpise: The actor, 45, surprised onlookers when he took part in a martial arts championship in Milton Kenes on Saturday and proved he is just as much of an action star in real-life as he took home the gold

Surrpise: The actor, 45, surprised onlookers when he took part in a martial arts championship in Milton Kenes on Saturday and proved he is just as much of an action star in real-life as he took home the gold

Tom previously spoke about how he entered rehab in 2003 for drugs and alcohol and became sober at age 25.

In a candid interview with the Daily Mirror in 2017, he said: ‘If I had four pints of lager and half a bottle of vodka I could turn this room into an absolute f***ing nightmare in about three minutes. I could destroy everything in my life I have worked so hard for.’

Elsewhere in his Instagram post, Tom hailed the work of global non-profit REORG which he said has changed many people’s lives for the better.

He wrote: ‘REORG is a global non-profit organization and community that encourages and enables veterans, active military, and first responders to use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Physical Fitness Training as a form of therapy to overcome physical and mental challenges, strengthen social connection, and improve overall health and well-being.

‘Their work has changed and saved lives around the world by not only providing an effective, positive means for navigating and managing the challenging psychological aspects of military and first responder careers, but also has allowed many to find a renewed sense of purpose, identity, and community thats often lost when transitioning to civilian life.’

Statement: Tom shared a post about the positive impact the martial art has had on his life and said he took part in the competition as part of global non-profit organisation REORG

Statement: Tom shared a post about the positive impact the martial art has had on his life and said he took part in the competition as part of global non-profit organisation REORG

Tom showed off his strength as he took part in the UMAC Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022, held at Oakgrove School.

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.

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 and intricate tattoos.

Tom looked action ready and showed off his jiu jutsu 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 with an impressive arm bar.

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

Tom wrote: : 'Addiction is difficult and complex stuff to navigate; as is mental health. Subjects which are both deeply personal for me and extremely close to my heart'

Tom wrote: : ‘Addiction is difficult and complex stuff to navigate; as is mental health. Subjects which are both deeply personal for me and extremely close to my heart’ 

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.’

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.

Shocked: Crowds couldn't believe their eyes when the Hollywood star stepped out in a blue jiu jitsu gi at the competition

Shocked: Crowds couldn’t believe their eyes when the Hollywood star stepped out in a blue jiu jitsu gi at the competition

‘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.’

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

Fighting ready: He was seen showing off his fighting moves

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.’

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.

He said: ‘When they put the bracket out the day before, I could see that I would only meet him if it went to a bronze level match or if I saw him in the final.

‘And on the day, he won his first and second match, so I ended up meeting him in the final.’

And when he faced up to the beefy 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’.

He said: ‘Afterwards, he was absolutely sound.

‘He said, ‘These things are nerve-wracking’ and though he’s often on the screen, he said jiu-jitsu is real and nerve-racking to do’.

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

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 mums 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.’

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.

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

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

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'

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

Strength: Tom did not shy away by putting on his best performance

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

Those who take part in the hundred-year-old sport grapple with their opponents on a floor mat in order to achieve ‘non-violent’ submissions.

Sean, who watched each of Hardy’s fights, said the actor won rapid victories in all of them in order to be crowned champion of his section.

He said: ‘I saw his matches, and he had submissions in them all – and they were really quick.

‘He did really, really well. He’s not the highest grade, but you could see he had turned up to win, and he was impressive in every fight.’

Sean said he had tried not to bother the star too much, adding that he felt the actor had a ‘good time’ at the local event.

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

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

Victorious: Tom looked serious as he was declared the winner of his fight during the competition

Victorious: Tom looked serious as he was declared the winner of his fight during the competition

He said: ‘We tried not to bother him too much. We didn’t pap him to bits. We just tried to keep it as normal as possible for him. I think he had a good time.’

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

And 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.

Podium: Tom was seen posing with his gold medal and certificate, which featured his full name Edward Hardy, but he more commonly goes by his middle name Thomas

Podium: Tom was seen posing with his gold medal and certificate, which featured his full name Edward Hardy, but he more commonly goes by his middle name Thomas

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