Comedian, UFC broadcaster and podcaster Joe Rogan is probably the most important advocate of BJJ today, besides the Gracie family. Rogan has a deep love for martial arts and had trained karate, taekwondo, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu.
But sadly, his introduction to martial arts wasn’t spontaneous – it was something that came out of bad experiences.
During a podcast episode featuring Dave Portnoy, Rogan opened up about his martial arts roots saying:
“I was bullied. Like most people, you know, gotten, I didn’t know how to fight. I was scared. And I was like, I need to learn how to fight. And I joined a martial arts school and I just got obsessed with it.
Notably, this was before MMA was recognized.
“…martial arts have always been around and I was a big Bruce Lee fan. Chuck Norris fan, watched a bunch of those movies and s**t. ”
“Amazing to do that. How cool would it be to be able to do that, and then I watched a bunch of kickboxing matches, and I got into it, and then coming home from a Red Sox game.”
“It’s a crazy story. I would have already been taken karate, a little bit late, it was too far from my house was hard to get there. My parents didn’t want to drive me. ”
And this place was right off the tee. So I was at Fenway Park with a buddy of mine would see a baseball game. And then I was like 14 or 15. And when we’re walking home from the baseball game, there was so many people waiting in line for the tea. You know, it is yeah, yeah. So we decided to just f***ing walk upstairs and see what this taekwondo school was all about.”
“And as I was walking up the stairs, I was hearing the sound. And it was like whoop, cheenk like it was whoop, cheenk. And what it was, was this guy kicking this heavy bag, and the bag was flying and the cheenk was the chains that was holding the bag.”
“And I got up there at the top of the stairs, and watch his guide, John Lee, who was the national champion, who was training for the World Cup. So he’s at the peak of training. And he was doing a spinning back kick over and over again, into this heavy bag. ”
How martial arts gave Joe Rogan confidence
“And I remember watching it, and I could not believe what he could do. I couldn’t believe the power that this guy could generate in that kick. And he became like a mentor to me. ”
“And as a kid who was like, finally, I was a loser my whole life. And then finally, when I was 15, I found this thing that I got obsessed with. That changed the way people looked at me like I was now listen,”
“I was good at something like really good at something. And then I became a state champion four years in a row and I won the US Open and I won the national tournaments and it was a big fucking deal for me.”