Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory has black belts in Judo and BJJ

Zoltan Bathory is a renowned lead guitarist of heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. What many don’t know about Bathory is that he has cultivated a lifelong passion for martial arts.

In a recent interview with MMA Mania, he talked about his journey in combat sports and discussed the mental conditioning and perspective it provided him.

Being raised in Europe, structured martial arts training was not widely available to the young Bathory. However, he discovered an opportunity that set him on his path.

He said: “I was the guy that made my own like nunchucks and smacked myself in the face and the throwing stars and all that crazy stuff, right? But you know it wasn’t available. What was available however was Judo. Because Judo is an Olympic sport. It was state sponsored so there’s a a judo academy almost in every city. And definitely a couple of them in every major city.”

Bathory then switched to jiu-jitsu and now has a black belt in both disciplines. He said: “So [when I was] nine years old I joined a judo Academy and I started training in Judo. And you know my whole life I was a grappler. So I trained as you know, as a judoka and then maybe like 15 years ago 16 years ago I converted to jiu-jitsu. So now I got both. I got a black belt in both.”

Even though people says that BJJ is hard, Zoltan never felt that. He loved training with his friends.

He said: Beyond the physical techniques, Zoltan credits martial arts for instilling a mentality to approach hardships as opportunities rather than insurmountable obstacles. He says: “I mean you know everybody says that it’s really hard to get a black belt. In especially Jiu-Jitsu, it takes a long time, right? And you know I kind of repeated that phrase so many times I always say like, ‘Yeah man, you know a lot of hard work and you know dedication and you have to just show up and then eventually you get…’ Then I’m thinking back and I’m like is that true? Was it really hard?”

“And I’m like actually no. I have to go to do something I love doing with my friends that are my right close friends, right? I know it wasn’t hard.I love going to jiu jitsu. I love training I love all that so…”

“Was it really hard? No. Actually it was a lot of fun. And you know the journey never stops, right? There’s always somebody better, there’s always something you don’t know, and the more you know the more you learn. That’s how much you don’t know, right?”

Bathory’s martial arts philosophy has been a guiding force in his ascent to heavy metal stardom. He acknowledges that the journey never truly ends, with constant opportunities for growth and learning. His early exposure to the physical and mental rigors of martial arts toughened him, making him the star he is today.

He continued: “I became successful in other ways because I was a martial artist, and I saw everything through that you know that perspective, right? So you know, when you when you train, when you especially when you start at a young age, right? It’s kind of like it toughens you first and foremost, right? But you get used to you know that that sort of physical aspect of confrontation… but also mentally.”

Additionally, Zoltan is married to jiu-jitsu icon Heather Gracie, granddaughter of one of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s founding fathers Carlos Gracie. Zoltan has been inspired to support the sport’s growth after marrying into such a profoundly influential family.