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Unveiling Anthony Bourdain’s Hidden Passion: The Surprising Love Affair with Jiu-Jitsu

What you didn’t know about Anthony Bourdain’s love of jiu-jitsu

Anthony Bourdain was a celebrated chef known for his culinary adventures and insatiable love of food. However, there was a side to Bourdain that many may not be aware of – his deep passion for jiu-jitsu. In this article, we delve into this lesser-known aspect of Bourdain’s life and explore how this martial art became an integral part of his routine and influenced his overall well-being.

A Commitment to Health

Despite his love of diverse cuisines, Bourdain was mindful of his health and physical well-being. In an interview with Men’s Health, he stressed the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and being mindful of his eating habits. As someone who ate for a living, Bourdain understood the importance of staying fit, even if he wasn’t obsessed with it. However, it was his introduction to jiu-jitsu that truly changed his perspective on fitness.

The Unexpected Encounter

Bourdain’s journey into the world of jiu-jitsu began when his ex-wife, who happened to be a martial artist, introduced him to the practice. At first, he was hesitant and had no expectations. However, after his first session, Bourdain was captivated by the strategic and intellectual aspects of jiu-jitsu. He found the problem-solving nature of the sport intriguing and enjoyed the humbling experience of being the least knowledgeable person in the room.

A wholehearted commitment

Once Bourdain discovered his love for jiu-jitsu, he embraced the discipline wholeheartedly. Regardless of where he lived, he made it a priority to find a gym and begin training in jiu-jitsu. Despite his initial reservations about rolling around on mats with sweaty individuals, Bourdain recognized the physical benefits and results that came from participating in this challenging martial art.

The Joy of Jiu-Jitsu

In an interview with Men’s Journal, Bourdain confessed that jiu-jitsu was the only form of exercise he truly enjoyed. He never felt the need to lift weights or engage in other forms of physical training. Instead, jiu-jitsu became his primary means of staying active and maintaining his overall fitness. He even made it a part of his daily routine, often starting his day with a jiu-jitsu session.

Physical and Mental Rewards

Bourdain testified to the transformative effect of jiu-jitsu on his physical and mental well-being. The intense workouts, warm-ups and grappling sessions helped him lose weight and feel invigorated. He described the feeling of losing eight pounds after just five rounds of jiu-jitsu, highlighting the calorie-burning nature of the sport. In addition, the physical exertion allowed Bourdain to indulge in hearty meals without feeling guilty, as he was able to easily balance his love of food with his dedication to jiu-jitsu.

A lasting legacy

Anthony Bourdain’s love of jiu-jitsu not only shaped his personal life, but also left a lasting impact on those who admired him. By publicly acknowledging the benefits of the sport, he inspired many to explore the world of jiu-jitsu and experience its unique blend of physicality, strategy and personal growth.
In conclusion, Anthony Bourdain’s passion for jiu-jitsu revealed a different side of the renowned chef. His dedication to this martial art demonstrated his commitment to health, his love of intellectual challenge, and his desire to find balance in life. By embracing jiu-jitsu, Bourdain discovered not only a form of exercise, but also a transformative experience that improved his physical and mental well-being. His journey serves as a reminder that even in the midst of indulging in the pleasures of food, one can find joy and fulfillment in unexpected places.


How did Anthony Bourdain get into Jiu-Jitsu?

Bourdain’s ex-wife, who was a martial artist, introduced him to jiu-jitsu, and he quickly developed a fascination with its strategic and intellectual aspects.

Did Anthony Bourdain prioritize his jiu-jitsu training?

Yes, despite his busy schedule, Bourdain made it a priority to find a gym and train jiu-jitsu wherever he was in the world.

What physical benefits did Bourdain experience from practicing jiu-jitsu?

Bourdain found that jiu-jitsu helped him lose weight and feel physically stronger. He even mentioned that he felt he had lost eight pounds after just five rounds of training.

Did Bourdain engage in other forms of exercise besides jiu-jitsu?

No, jiu-jitsu was the only form of exercise that Bourdain really enjoyed. He did not feel the need to lift weights or participate in other physical training activities.

How did jiu-jitsu affect Bourdain’s eating habits?

Regular jiu-jitsu training allowed Bourdain to maintain a balance between his love of food and his physical fitness. He found that the intense training allowed him to enjoy large meals without feeling guilty.

What is the lasting impact of Bourdain’s love of jiu-jitsu?

Bourdain’s passion for jiu-jitsu serves as an inspiration for others to explore the sport and discover its physical and mental benefits. His journey demonstrates the transformative power of finding joy and fulfillment in unexpected places.

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