Mohamed Itoumaine was refereeing at a Brazilian jiu-jitsu event final month in Wolverhampton, England. To his shock, one of many individuals was Tom Hardy, a big-time Hollywood actor with credit from Mad Max: Fury Street to Venom to the Batman franchise. He additionally starred within the MMA film “Warrior” in 2011.
Hardy, a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, ended up successful the REORG Open on Aug. 20 — in each the gi (the standard uniform of the martial artwork) and no-gi tournaments. Hardy competed within the 36-years-old-and-up division, 85.5kg in no-gi and 82.3kg within the gi. Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which has an emphasis on combating on the bottom, is among the key martial arts utilized in MMA.
After Hardy’s closing victory, he and Itoumaine talked. Hardy works with the REORG charity, which helps navy veterans in the UK after they return residence. Itoumaine was working his personal event, sponsored by REORG, a couple of weeks later.
“He mentioned, ‘Put me down, I am coming,'” Itoumaine informed ESPN. “In his humorous voice, he mentioned: ‘Depend on me.'”
Nonetheless, Itoumaine doubted Hardy would really present up. He is an enormous film star, in spite of everything. Three weeks earlier than the event, Itoumaine bought the registration listing again and Hardy’s title was on there. Itoumaine determined he would preserve it a secret to not name any undesirable consideration to Hardy’s participation. Hardy competed beneath his actual title of Edward.
“He is a person of his phrase,” Itoumaine mentioned. “It actually impressed me.”
After which, on the Final Martial Arts Championships (UMAC) event in Milton Keynes, Hardy went out and gained once more. Competing within the 41-years-old-and-up division, Hardy, competing within the gi at 82.3kg, submitted all three of his opponents en path to the gold medal.
The person who performed fearsome Batman villain Bane is actually expert in actual life.
“He is actually official,” mentioned Itoumaine, a second-degree black belt. “Lots of people assume, ‘Oh, Tom Hardy – he is only a celebrity.’ No, you get him on the mat and he’ll smash you.”
Andy Leatherland mentioned there have been some whispers that Hardy may compete on the UMAC after his shock participation in Wolverhampton. He knew that if Hardy entered the event, he’d possible be in his bracket. The day earlier than the occasion, the registration listing was revealed and Leatherland noticed he would face an “Edward Hardy” within the finals in the event that they each made it by way of. They usually did.
Leatherland mentioned the gang was “buzzing” throughout Hardy’s matches and everybody had their telephones out recording and taking photographs.
“Lining up for the ultimate was nerve-wracking,” Leatherland mentioned. “I did not communicate to him nor him to me, we have been each simply specializing in the match. As we stepped ahead and confronted one another there was a realization of who I am dealing with however because the referee begins the match the main target modified to being within the second and Tom merely grew to become the man attempting to take me down — and I used to be considering how greatest to counter him and assault.”
Leatherland mentioned he made an error and Hardy jumped on his leg and bought a straight leg lock submission.
“It was simply one other struggle however clearly it wasn’t as Tom is internationally acknowledged so I’ll bear in mind this one for a very long time,” Leatherland mentioned. “Afterward he spoke about his nerves for the day which I agreed with as [competing], typically, is tough and aggravating. He mentioned contemplating his life is on stage he is wonderful with that, however jiu-jitsu is actual and impacts him identical to everybody else.”
On Wednesday, the 45-year-old Hardy posted about his foray into Brazilian jiu-jitsu on Instagram, whereas additionally selling REORG, which he wrote “encourages and allows veterans, energetic navy, and first responders to make use of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Bodily Health Coaching as a type of remedy to beat bodily and psychological challenges, strengthen social connection, and enhance general well being and well-being.”
“Easy coaching, for me (as a passion and a non-public love) has been essentially key to additional develop a deeper sense of inside resilience, calm and effectively being,” Hardy wrote about Brazilian jiu-jitsu. “I can not stress the significance it has had and the impression on my life and my fellow teammates.”
Danny Appleton, who’s a navy veteran and a part of the REORG program, confronted off in opposition to Hardy within the semifinals of the REORG Open final month within the gi division. He mentioned he was shocked to be competing in opposition to somebody as well-known as Hardy and he was impressed with Hardy’s power immediately. Hardy submitted Appleton with an armbar after escaping from a cross-collar choke and a triangle choke try.
“I used to be very shocked at his power,” Appleton informed ESPN. “He had actually good approach shifting from one submission to the following. Tremendous spectacular.”
Afterward, Appleton mentioned he chatted with Hardy, who informed him how tight the cross-collar choke was and that he would come and prepare with him at Gracie Barra Middlesborough sooner or later.
“He was so right down to Earth,” Appleton mentioned. “He spoke to my kids who’re each followers and likewise each follow jiu-jitsu. We spoke about REORG the charity and the way a lot he does for them, taking time to show as much as compete in addition to be a trustee for them.”
Itoumaine thinks Hardy, who represents Roger Gracie’s jiu-jitsu crew in England and has skilled beneath Carlos Gomez in Los Angeles, is near a purple belt and he wouldn’t be surprised if in the future Hardy earns his black belt.
“I feel he is in for a long term,” Itoumaine mentioned. “I feel he’ll [get his black belt]. He undoubtedly will. He loves it a lot. He mentioned to me, ‘It is an habit for me.'”