Back in 2018, acclaimed English actor Tom Hardy, known for his roles in blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and Venom, stumbled upon a boxing club in West London during one of his training sessions. Intrigued by the sight of people grappling in their white and blue gis, Hardy, who had previously starred in the MMA-themed film Warrior, decided to explore this martial art further.
Jiu-jitsu coach Carlos Santos was conducting a grappling class that day, but due to Hardy’s knee condition, engaging in ground-based exchanges posed a risk. Santos suggested an introductory class to assess Hardy’s capabilities without compromising his physical well-being. The following day, Hardy attended his first Brazilian jiu-jitsu session, and from that moment, his journey with the art began.
“He will never stop doing jiu-jitsu anymore,” shared Santos with mmafighting, reflecting on Hardy’s passion. “Jiu-jitsu is in his blood, in his soul, in his heart.”
Hardy’s dedication to the sport was evident as he committed to three-hour private classes, five days a week, immersing himself in the art form. However, the global pandemic necessitated gym closures, compelling Hardy to adapt his training routine.
Despite the challenges, Hardy’s commitment never wavered.
“He’s a great champion,” Santos remarked proudly, having coached Hardy in a recent no-gi tournament where he achieved a 100-percent finish rate and secured the gold medal. “He’s very special. He really loves jiu-jitsu. It’s so nice to see someone dedicated to the art in that way.”
As a black belt under the tutelage of grappling legend Roger Gracie, Santos instated a no-photos, no-videos policy in his gym whenever Hardy and other notable students were present, allowing them to train privately and enjoy their sessions undisturbed.
“He wants to enjoy the art like a normal person,” Santos explained. “He always participates in group classes too. I admire that about him. Typically, famous individuals prefer private lessons. While he initially started with those to understand the art, he eventually requested to join the group classes and continued training afterward.”
While Hardy’s upcoming film projects, including Havoc, Venom 3, and The Bikeriders, will bring him back to the silver screen, his dedication to jiu-jitsu remains unwavering. Santos revealed that even during filming, Hardy ensures his passion for grappling is nurtured.
“His stuntman trains jiu-jitsu because of him,” Santos revealed with a chuckle. “They practice together on set. I sometimes send them exercise videos to keep them connected with what we’re working on in the gym.”