Tom Hardy Surprises Onlookers as He Enters a Martial Arts Championship

Tom Hardy surprised onlookers when he took part in a martial arts championship and proved he is just as much of an action star in real-life as he took home the gold.

The Venom actor, 45, showed off his strength as he took part in the UMAC Milton Keynes BJJ Open 2022, held at Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes on Saturday.

He had secretly arranged to take part in the fight at a local school sports hall, where he went on to floor all his opponents.

Crowds couldn’t believe their eyes when the Hollywood star stepped out in a blue jiu jitsu gi, which gave a flash of his toned physique and intricate tattoos.

Tom looked action ready and showed off his jiu jutsu skills as he floored his opponents and amazingly fought his way to the final.

The fighter, who holds a high-level blue belt in the ground-fighting combat sport, made short work of the competition as he won gold with an impressive arm bar.

He was seen posing with his gold medal and certificate, which featured his full name Edward Hardy, but he more commonly goes by his middle name Thomas.

According to an event description of the UMAC BJJ open, it was open to all ‘BJJ belt levels in adult, juvenile and kids divisions’. 

THE FATHER WHO TOOK ON TOM HARDY 

Andy Leatherland, 42, took on Tom in the final and said the Hollywood star brought the same level of intensity to the fight as he does to his action films.

The father, who is a sales manager and blue belt, said he had entered the local event after realising that Tom might be there.

He said: ‘I knew he fought in the last competition locally and won two golds, and I knew at that point that I fitted into his category – I was the same age, belt and weight as him.

‘We used to joke that if he was to fight, I would be the one to fight him, but I didn’t think anything of it.

‘I was contemplating the Milton Keynes tournament as it was very local. And then one morning – he goes by the name Edward Hardy – I saw that he’d actually signed up.’

Andy said he found out the day before the competition that he would only fight Tom if they came face to face in the final or bronze level match.

When he faced up to the actor, he said Tom was entirely focused during the fight.

‘Lining up, he was very focused. The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t say anything.

‘When it came to the match, you couldn’t help notice that it’s him, but then it just became a competition.

‘I made a mistake and he capitalized on that. He absolutely nailed it, and he subbed me, and it was over relatively quickly.’

Andy said Tom was ‘absolutely sound’ when they chatted after the fight and admitted to him that he found the martial arts competitions ‘nerve-wracking’.

When asked if he’d fight Tom Hardy again, Andy added: ‘I would, absolutely.’

He said: ‘I knew he fought in the last competition locally and won two golds, and I knew at that point that I fitted into his category – I was the same age, belt and weight as him.

‘We used to joke that if he was to fight, I would be the one to fight him, but I didn’t think anything of it.

‘I was contemplating the Milton Keynes tournament as it was very local. And then one morning – he goes by the name Edward Hardy – I saw that he’d actually signed up.’

Andy said he found out the day before the competition that he would only fight Tom if they came face to face in the final or bronze level match.

He said: ‘When they put the bracket out the day before, I could see that I would only meet him if it went to a bronze level match or if I saw him in the final.

‘And on the day, he won his first and second match, so I ended up meeting him in the final.’

And when he faced up to the beefy actor, he said Tom was entirely focused during the fight.

‘Lining up, he was very focused. The intensity that he brought to his movie roles, he brought that. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t say anything.

‘When it came to the match, you couldn’t help notice that it’s him, but then it just became a competition.

‘I made a mistake and he capitalized on that. He absolutely nailed it, and he subbed me, and it was over relatively quickly.’

Andy said Tom was ‘absolutely sound’ when they chatted after the fight and admitted to him that he found the martial arts competitions ‘nerve-wracking’.

He said: ‘Afterwards, he was absolutely sound.

‘He said, ‘These things are nerve-wracking’ and though he’s often on the screen, he said jiu-jitsu is real and nerve-racking to do’.

When asked if he’d fight Tom Hardy again, Andy added: ‘I would, absolutely.’

Elsewhere, Sean Rosborough, who sponsored the event, said the organisers knew the global mega-star would be coming to the championship a few weeks earlier.

But he said they kept the actor’s appearance ‘to themselves’ to stop masses of people ‘distracting’ him from taking part in the competition.

Sean, 37, said Tom was ‘brilliant’ with fans who approached him for photographs while adding that the mums in the audience were ‘all over him’.

He said: ‘We found out he was coming probably a couple of weeks before.

‘But the organisers kept it to themselves – and didn’t want masses of people turning up distracting him from what he was doing.

‘He was brilliant. A lot of people were asking for photos, and coming up to him, and he had no problem with that all. The mums were all over him. It didn’t bother him.

‘And when he was fighting, he was focused on what he was doing. He’s amazing at Jiu-Jitsu.’

Speaking of Tom’s appearance at the event, one of his opponents – who was not named – told MKCitizen that he recognised Tom straight away, saying he was ‘shell-shocked’ by the star’s surprise appearance. 

He said: Everyone knows who Tom Hardy is, don’t they? I was shell-shocked. He said ‘just forget it’s me and do what you would normally do’.

‘He’s a really strong guy… You wouldn’t think it with him being a celebrity.’

Tom reportedly got into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when he trained for the film Warrior, where he played the part of a former boxer who trains to be an MMA fighter.

Those who take part in the hundred-year-old sport grapple with their opponents on a floor mat in order to achieve ‘non-violent’ submissions.

Sean, who watched each of Hardy’s fights, said the actor won rapid victories in all of them in order to be crowned champion of his section.

He said: ‘I saw his matches, and he had submissions in them all – and they were really quick.

‘He did really, really well. He’s not the highest grade, but you could see he had turned up to win, and he was impressive in every fight.’

Sean said he had tried not to bother the star too much, adding that he felt the actor had a ‘good time’ at the local event.

He said: ‘We tried not to bother him too much. We didn’t pap him to bits. We just tried to keep it as normal as possible for him. I think he had a good time.’

Last month, the Max Mad star caused a similar stir when he turned up at the REORG Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Wolverhampton, which raised money for military personnel dealing with mental and physical health issues. 

Tom most recently starred as Alfie Solomons in the final season of hit series Peaky Blinders.

And he is expected to soon reprise his role as Eddie Brock for a third instalment of the superhero movie Venom, which is currently in pre-production.

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