Actor Tom Hardy made a surprise appearance in a martial arts competition on Saturday, ultimately winning the event.
Hardy, 45, entered the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship, a competition held by Ultimate Martial Arts Championships at Oakgrove school in Milton Keynes, Hyde News & Pictures reported.
Attenders watched the Mad Max: Fury Road star, dressed a blue gi, subdue his opponents and win all his matches. Hardy’s certificate of achievement was awarded to “Edward Hardy” – the actor’s real name.
A spokesperson for the championships called Hardy a “really nice guy” who was a “real pleasure” to host at their tournament.
“Everyone recognised him but he was very humble and was happy to take time out for people to take photographs with him,” the spokesperson said. “It was a real pleasure to have him compete at our event.”
This was not the first time Hardy, a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, quietly turned up to a martial arts competition.
In August, the actor won the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Wolverhampton, a tournament aimed at raising funds for military personnel, veterans and emergency service workers. Hardy is a trustee for REORG, a charity teaching jiu-jitsu to those with serious injuries, or who are suffering from PTSD and depression.
Hardy’s opponent, veteran Danny Appleby, told local media he was stunned upon seeing the actor – whom he dubbed a “genuinely a really nice guy” – show up at the tournament’s semi-final.
“I was shell-shocked,” Appleby said. “[Hardy] said, ‘Just forget it’s me and do what you would normally do.’”
Appleby said the actor is “a really strong guy … You wouldn’t think it with him being a celebrity.”
“I’ve done about six tournaments and I’ve been on the podium in every one. But he’s probably the toughest competitor I’ve had – he certainly lived up to his Bane character, that’s for sure,” he said, referring to Hardy’s character in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Known for his on-screen tough guy personas, Hardy’s acting credits include films such as Inception, Dunkirk and Venom, as well as hit television show Peaky Blinders. His role in 2015 drama The Revenant earned him an Academy Award nomination.
In a 2011 interview with the Guardian, the actor discussed his training regimen for his film Warrior, in which he portrays a US marine who enters a mixed martial arts contest that culminates in fighting his estranged brother.
“I did two hours boxing a day, two hours muay thai, two hours jiu-jitsu followed by two hours choreography and two hours of weightlifting seven days a week for three months,” Hardy said.
“So come on! You have to really want to do that, so it was a challenge.”