Tom Hardy is best known for his roles in some of Hollywood’s biggest hits including Inception, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Venom. But now, the Hammersmith, London native is getting some added attention from the combat sports community after making the rounds at multiple BJJ tournaments over the last few years.
Initially, Tom Hardy took up the sport in 2011 while filming Warrior, co-starring Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte. In the film, Hardy plays an ex-Marine who returns home and enlists his father to train him for an MMA tournament. More than a decade later, Hardy has continued to hone his craft on the mat, earning his purple belt along the way. Hardy’s coach, Carlos Santos, recently spoke about the actor’s dedication to the sport.
Santos, a BJJ black belt under legendary grappler Roger Gracie, began training Tom Hardy in 2018 after the Dunkirk star walked into a West London gym initially looking to hit the pads for a bit. Instead, an ongoing jiu-jitsu class caught Hardy’s attention, but a knee injury initially prevented him from jumping in. Santos offered to set up private sessions, but before long, Hardy was jumping into group classes and even continued to train after class.
“He’s very special. He really loves jiu-jitsu. It’s so nice to see someone dedicate like that to the art,” Santos added.
Tom Hardy Gets His Stuntman into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu While Filming
Given his celebrity status and the attention that tends to bring, Santos no longer allows photos and video recordings inside the gym, allowing Hardy and other famous students the best possible opportunity to enjoy their time at the gym.
“He wants to enjoy the art like a normal person,” Santos said. “He always does group classes too. I admire that about him. Famous people usually want private classes. He did that at first so he could understand the art, but then he asked to be on the group class too — and would continue training after the class was over.”
Tom Hardy has multiple films currently in production, the most notable being the third installment of the popular Venom franchise. Hardy also has two other projects coming down the pipeline, Havoc and The Bikeriders. Despite being regularly on-location for his various film shoots, Hardy still manages to find the time to train and has even gotten his stuntman into the habit, according to Santos.
“His stuntman trains jiu-jitsu because of him,” Santos said. “They practice together when they’re filming. Sometimes I send them videos with exercises, showing what we’re working on in the gym.
“I’m very happy and honored to train him. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to work with him. He really is expanding the art. He loves the culture.”