Tom Hardy, who stars as Eddie Brock in Sony’s Venom franchise and played Bane in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, recently went viral for taking part in a martial arts tournament in the UK. On Saturday, September 17, (via The Guardian), the actor competed in the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship in Milton Keynes, England.
Hardy won all of his matches, earning a certificate and a gold medal. The actor is a blue belt in the sport. For context, per BJJ Success, Jiu-Jitsu has five primary belt tiers—white, blue, purple, brown and black—with three higher levels: red-and-black, red-and-white and red (via The MMA Guru).
A picture of the Venom star at the competition was posted on Twitter (originally shared by the Facebook page taped_fingers), garnering over 70,000 likes:
A spokesperson for Ultimate Martial Arts Championships, which organized the tournament, praised Hardy for his participation: "Everyone recognized him but he was very humble and was happy to take time out for people to take photographs with him. It was a real pleasure to have him compete at our event."
Andry Leatherland, Hardy's final opponent, told the Daily Mail that he entered the competition after realizing that the actor had signed up under his legal name, Edward Hardy:
"I was contemplating the Milton Keynes tournament as it was very local. And then, one morning—he goes by the name Edward Hardy—I saw that he'd actually signed up. [...] The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that. He didn't say a word, he didn't say anything." Leatherland added about being beaten by Hardy: "I made a mistake and he capitalized on that. He absolutely nailed it, and he subbed me, and it was over relatively quickly."
Tom Hardy himself posted about the event on his Instagram, and explained how Jiu-Jitsu has helped him in his personal life:
"Addiction is difficult and complex stuff to navigate; as is mental health. Subjects which are both deeply personal for me and extremely close to my heart. It is an honour to be able to represent the charity and my team, REORG, and the great work they do supporting the mental health and well-being of veterans of service, military and first responders through the therapeutic benefits of Jiu-Jitsu and fitness training. Simple training, for me (as a hobby and a private love) has been fundamentally key to further develop a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well being. I can't stress the importance it has had and the impact on my life and my fellow team mates."
He also took the opportunity to praise the work done by REORG, which, as he described, is "a global non-profit organization and community that encourages and enables veterans, active military, and first responders to use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Physical Fitness Training as a form of therapy to overcome physical and mental challenges, strengthen social connection, and improve overall health and well-being."
Hardy's Past With Jiu-Jitsu
In August, Hardy entered previous competition: the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Wolverhampton, England. Per People, the actor earned two gold medals—one in the gi (martial arts uniform) category, and one in the no-gi one.
Competitor Danny Appleby, who went up against Hardy, told Teeside Live he was shocked when he found out he would copmete against the actor. Hardy, however, asked him to act like he would with any other opponent:
"I was waiting match-side for the semi-final in Wolverhampton when Tom [Hardy] showed up. I didn't know he was going to be there. And they expected me to remain composed. […] I was shell-shocked. He said, 'Just forget it's me, and do what you would normally do.' […] He's a really strong guy. You wouldn't think it with him being a celebrity. I do okay. I've done about six tournaments and I've been on the podium in every one. But he's probably the toughest competitor I've had—he certainly lived up to his Bane character [from 'The Dark Knight Rises']."
Tom Hardy is expected to reprise his role as Eddie Brock in Venom 3. In June 2022, he took to Instagram to offer a look at the film's screenplay, written by Kelly Marcel (Fifty Shades of Grey, Venom: Let There Be Carnage).
Venom 3 does not have a release date yet, but Sony’s Spider-Man Universe is set to continue with Kraven the Hunter, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, slated for release on October 6, 2023. Madame Web, starring Dakota Johnson, which comes out on February 16, 2024.
On the animated side, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will swing into theaters on June 2, 2023. To learn more about REORG and its work, visit the site's official website.