Tom Hardy makes use of Jiujitsu to assist the navy and first responders

Movie stars like Tom Hardy often play the role of a tough guy in movies, but if his recent appearances at Brazilian jiujitsu competitions are to be believed, the man who played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is one of those rare exceptions: an actor , which can hold its own on and off the screen. Behind the Gi, Hardy has grown into a true warrior, using his passion for BJJ to work on his own physical and mental health issues while helping raise money for the military, veterans and first responders. M&F takes a closer look.

Hardy, aged 45, recently made headlines by showing up to legitimate British martial arts competitions without fanfare. But while these appearances seem slightly surreal and make for an entertaining read, there's a lot of seriousness that motivates its participation. Pictures of the Mad Max star on the mat went viral after he clinched a couple of gold medals in August after back-to-back wins via submission. Then, just last weekend, Tom Hardy was back in action at the Ultimate Martial Arts Championship Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022 where, to the surprise of almost everyone, he subtly showed up to the event under his real name, Edward Hardy, and once again defeated all of his opponents to claim gold to win.

Sandie Johnson

Tom Hardy is a warrior on and off screen

When did Hardy's love of martial arts get serious? The answer to that can be traced back to his role as Tommy Riordan Conlon in the 2011 film Warrior. During the promotion of this film, the star spoke about the process of portraying an MMA fighter in an interview with The Guardian. "I boxed two hours a day, two hours muay thai, two hours jiujitsu, followed by two hours choreography and two hours weightlifting, seven days a week for three months," Hardy said. "So come on! You really have to want that, so it was a challenge."

As the most recent images show, Hardy's love for the martial arts continued after the film was made and he is now a true blue belt competitor. But mixing on the mat isn't just about trophies and medals for this man from Hammersmith, London. In fact, Hardy's true motivation for competing is to work on his own well-being while raising money for REORG; a charity that uses BJJ as a way to find strength in friendships. They offer therapies to veterans and active-duty members of the military, law enforcement, and emergency services.

Brazilian Ji-Jitsu as mental and physical therapy

REORG uses Jiujitsu training and philosophies to provide therapy to people with a variety of issues, from PTSD and depression to loneliness and disorientation. In supporting the cause, Hardy is in the company of a growing list of elite ambassadors including Roger Gracie, Braulo Estima, Kenny Florian and many others. Hardy recently posted on Instagram reflecting on what his journey with jiujitsu means to him.

“Addiction is difficult and complex, and so is mental health. Topics that are both deeply personal to me and very close to my heart," he wrote in a touching message. "It is an honor to represent the charity and my team REORG and the amazing work they do to support the mental health and well-being of war veterans, military personnel and first responders through the therapeutic benefits of jiujitsu and fitness training. For me, simple exercise (as a hobby and as a private love) was fundamentally the key to further developing a deeper sense of inner resilience, calm and well-being. I can't overstate the importance it had and the impact it had on my life and my teammates."

Tom Hardy is right. Studies show that physical exercise is one of the most efficient ways to counteract depression. With this in mind, REORG encourages and empowers veterans, active military and first responders to use Brazilian Jiujitsu and fitness training as a form of therapy to address physical and mental challenges. Additional benefits often include increased social connection and greatly improved overall health and well-being. Her essential work has transformed and saved lives around the world by providing an effective, positive vehicle to navigate the challenging psychological aspects of military and first responder careers. The charity has also enabled many people to find a new sense of purpose, identity and community that is often lost in the transition to civilian life.

So it's fitting that REORG was formed in Hardy's native UK, and thankfully the group has since expanded to gain a presence in the US and New Zealand. Sandi Johnson, who attended the Milton Keynes competition and supported her 26-year-old son, also known as Tom, told M&F that the presence of the film stars was a great example of how we are all part of one human race. "I think it's very important for someone like Tom to support these charities as it brings more focus and awareness," she said. "He is so popular and well-known that many people follow and listen to his views." M&F greetings, sir!

For more information on how to access REGORG's services or support this charity, click here!

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