Tom Hardy showed up to a random jiu-jitsu tournament in Milton Keynes, England. His reason for going to this tournament, might surprise you.

Tom Hardy made a special appearance this past Saturday, September 16, 2022, at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes, England, where he attended the 2022 UMAC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship. What was shocking about the surprise visit was that he wasn’t there to watch the tournament, but rather competing in it!

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Low and behold, fans would later find out through several photos circulated on social media that Tom Hardy won gold in the tournament within his division. In the photo, Hardy is photographed holding up a certificate with a gold medal around his neck, a proud Edward Hardy- his real name, strikes a smirk for the photo.

Many people know Hardy for his roles in Warrior, Batman, Mad Max, and more recently for the HBO series Peaky Blinders. He has often been in headlines for the tough and macho characters he plays on-screen, but what people may not have known is that Hardy’s love for martial arts has become his saving grace.

Tom’s Journey With Alcoholism and Addiction

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Tom’s exposure to drugs and alcohol started at a very young age and he is very open about his struggles with this early on in life. He mentioned that he had started experimenting with drugs at 13 years old, which led to him continuing on this path, ultimately leading to an arrest for gun possession and grand theft auto at 17 years old.

The need for drugs continued to drive his life, and when he was 19, fate had other plans for the would-be actor. In dire need of his next fix and having not a penny to his name, Tom entered into a modelling contest on the show The Big Breakfast in which he won. The video of his appearance is still accessible today.

This led to a contract and the opening of several doors into acting. Despite being expelled and kicked out of several prestigious schools before, Hardy decided to study method acting in London. The success of this landed him his first ever role in the war series Band of Brothers.

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His next project was the high profile Oscar winning film Black Hawk Down; Hardy still recalls that as a painful period when he had a near-death experience. While filming for the movie, Hardy woke up after a night of partying, realizing he had overdosed on drugs. The doctor at the time told him that if he didn’t turn his life around, he wouldn’t be around for much longer. This was advice that he would take to heart.

Tom’s Journey Into Rehabilitation and Love

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After the support and push from his family and friends, Tom decided to get the help he needed. He knew he had to do something. His first step was joining Alcoholics Anonymous where he was able to find the assistance needed to become sober and free.

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In 2009, Hardy met actress Charlotte Riley while filming Wuthering Heights. Although Riley was skeptical about the recovering addict, she gave him a chance. Hardy took this as a true blessing in his life and proposed to the actress as soon as he could. While the two actors were engaged Hardy told Elle, “I can wait for her as long as it takes.”

His relationship with Riley was one that would continually keep Hardy in check, motivating him to stay sober. He has two children with his now wife and believes his family is what keeps him grounded and on the right path.

Tom’s Second Love and Saving Grace

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After years of being sober, Hardy is still outspoken about his struggles with addiction in the sense he fears he could fall back into old habits at any given point. The challenges he continually faces in trying to stay sober and not be tempted, especially being in Hollywood and the spotlight, is an ongoing battle.

Tom Hardy has suffered from dysthymia, a disorder in which one is plagued by vicious cycles of depression. He said in a very candid interview with Prince’s Trust (where he serves as an ambassador), a charity that helps people get their life back on track, “Everything scares me. Not being in control, not knowing, anticipation, waiting for something to go wrong.”

To help stay focused on the road to recovery, Hardy turned to martial arts to help keep his mental state healthy. In particular, he invested his time studying jiu-jitsu, he is currently a blue belt.

While Hardy says being a father is his main focus and priority for staying sober, his love for martial arts has really transformed his thinking. He first began training when he got the role for the 2011 film Warrior and since then Hardy has continued to train.

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With his love for jiu-jitsu and his wife and children to keep him grounded, it seems Hardy has found his calling in life. In an interview with Esquire, Hardy says, “Once you’ve established yourself you can stop making that much noise. Because you’re here now, what are you going to do? And what is enough? What do you need? What do my family need? So that is very relevant. I think everybody needs a little bit of their own thing that they do. I like jiu-jitsu and sourdough. That fulfils me.”

More recently, Hardy has taken a more active approach in competing in various tournaments. This recent UMAC win is not the only win under his belt, but he also won in the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship several months ago.

Winning Gold and Winning Life

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When Tom Hardy showed up at Oakgrove School, many onlookers were shocked to see the Oscar nominated actor. Organizers of the event had managed to keep things under wraps after discovering that Hardy would be showing up to the tournament.

The humbled passion of Hardy practicing his art is inspiring to see. His level of professionalism and down-to-earth nature is evident in showing up to this event. Although a celebrity, he is truly just a guy who wants to show his love of the sport. People who were at the event were able to take photographs with the actor, only further showing his humanness and humility as a person.

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Several days after winning the tournament, Hardy took to his @tomhardy Instagram to post a picture of himself at the match, along with a lengthy caption bringing up his past battle with addiction. He says, “Addiction is difficult for me and extremely close to my heart.” He further talks about his love for martial arts, “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.” It has undoubtedly helped him through tough times where he feared he’d fall back into his old habits.

Tom Hardy’s story of addiction and rehabilitation is one that many find surprising. But what is more inspiring about his journey is seeing the different aspects of his life that he invests in and runs with. He knows where his heart is and it has become his consistent motivation needed to continue fighting for his life.

For anyone who can relate to the experiences of Tom Hardy, his journey is a testament and living proof that there is hope and fulfillment after a life of addiction and alcoholism.

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