Over the weekend, celebrity chef and Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain added another impressive line to his résumé — Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion.
Bourdain, who was introduced to the combat sport by his wife, has been training in BJJ at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City since 2013. He has praised the fighting method as “humbling,” and has credited his training with instilling a new love for learning. “At my age, to learn an entirely new skill is deeply satisfying,” Bourdain told Charlie Rose in a 2014 interview.
At this weekend’s IBJJF New York Spring International Open Championship, Bourdain took first place in the Blue Belt Masters 5 Middleweight Division, defeating Alexey Iskhakov. Bourdain received his blue belt from Igor Gracie last summer, while his wife, Ottavia Bourdain, is a purple belt.
On Charlie Rose, Bourdain compared BJJ to the thrill of starting out in professional kitchens at 17 and knowing nothing, where “being the lowest person on a totem pole” would lead to the “incremental, tiny satisfactions of being a little less awful at something every day,” and eventually, expertise.
Bourdain’s daughter, now nine, has been training in BJJ since she was four years old.
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) April 9, 2016