Joe Rogan Says Anthony Bourdain’s Passion For Jiu-Jitsu Nearly Rivaled His Love For Food — ‘He Was Trained Twice a Day, Every Day’

When most people think of the late Anthony Bourdain, they typically think of food. The former chef became a global icon after starring in his hit TV show, Parts Unknown

However, few people knew that the now-deceased food-lover also had a passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, his obsession became so strong that he practiced twice a day, every day.  

Anthony Bourdain became ‘obsessed’ with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain visits the Build Series to discuss “Raw Craft” | Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage

RELATED: 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain initially had no interest in Jiu-Jitsu, but after his ex-wife picked it up he took an interest in it too. Before long, Bourdain couldn’t pull himself away from the gym. Joe Rogan recalled Bourdain’s love for Jiu-Jitsu during a recent conversation with Robert Downey Jr. about martial arts.

“Bourdain, before he died, he was obsessed with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” Rogan said. “Yeah, became really obsessed with it at 58, and got really good. He was training every day, and he was trained twice a day every day. So he went from when I first met him, he was chubby, he was smoking cigarettes, he drank every night … and then his ex-wife got really into Jiu-Jitsu, and then he decided to follow her one day to classes … and then became obsessed, and then really got good …”

Anthony Bourdain’s Jiu-Jitsu habit transformed his body at 61

Thanks to his TV show Parts Unknown, Bourdain got to try many of the best foods the world has to offer. However, after decades of eating, smoking, and drinking, his lifestyle choices had left him considerably overweight. 

During the same conversation, Rogan added that Bourdain’s commitment to mastering Jiu-Jitsu completely changed his appearance. He noted that Bourdain had once been photographed with his shirt off, showing an impressive physique for a 61-year-old man. According to a 2017 interview with Men’s Health, Bourdain dropped 35 pounds and never looked back.

“… I was 35 pounds overweight, a chain smoker, flabby, zero cardio. Taking stairs was not fun,” Bourdain said. “To my shock and surprise, I endured, barely, that first session. I found it very strategically and intellectually intriguing. I like problem-solving and I also like being the stupidest person in the room. I like being at the foot of a very steep incline where you never reach the top. It’s one of the reasons I like Japan.”

Anthony Bourdain started practicing Jiu-Jitsu as a practical joke 

Even though Bourdain became a renowned lover of Jiu-Jitsu, he was initially reluctant to try it out. He rarely exercised, and had no interest in fitness. However, things changed when his ex-wife invited him to a class as a practical joke. 

“My then-wife was a full-time martial artist and invited four of the least likely people she knew to take a private training session in the hope it would be hilariously funny and pathetic,” Bourdain said. “She picked me, Doug from Big Gay Ice Cream, and two others. I’d never been in a gym in my life.” 

Bourdain’s introduction to Jiu-Jitsu changed him forever. Before long, he was traveling the world to visit academies and wrestle anybody who was up for the challenge.