Joe Rogan: BJJ is an “Absolute” Martial Art

Joe Rogan BJJ
Joe Rogan BJJ

Joe Rogan is a comedian, UFC commentator, actor, and host of the wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience. Lex Friedman is an AI researcher and host of the Lex Friedman Podcast. In addition to being well-known podcast hosts, Rogan and Friedman are both BJJ black belts. So, when Friedman appeared on episode 1188 of the Joe Rogan Experience, the two discussed one of their favorite topics: BJJ.

Joe Rogan’s First Experience with BJJ was Humbling

During their conversation, Rogan described his first experience with BJJ, saying:

“My [first] experience with BJJ was very humbling. When I first started out, I had a long background in martial arts and striking. I even wrestled in high school. Then I started taking BJJ, and a guy who was my size (and I was young at the time), and was basically close to my age, just mauled me. He wasn’t even a black belt. I think he was a purple belt. He might have been a blue belt. He just destroyed me. He just did anything he wanted to me. [He] choked me, armbarred me, and I remember thinking, ‘Man, I am so delusional. I thought I had a chance.’”

Joe Rogan BJJ
Joe Rogan BJJ

Rogan continued:

“I thought just based on taking a couple classes and learning what an armbar is and then being a strong person who has a background in martial arts that I would be able to at least hold him off a little bit.”

Joe Rogan on “Absolute” Martial Arts

Rogan also referred to BJJ, judo, and wrestling, as “absolute” martial arts. To illustrate his point, he gave the example of an untrained heavyweight boxer with tremendous natural power fighting an experienced but less powerful boxer. In this scenario, Rogan claimed that the untrained fighter with power would have a good chance of winning the fight based on his power alone. According to Rogan, however, this isn’t the case with grappling martial arts:

“If you’re a [BJJ student] who…exercises and is healthy, and you grapple with a guy who’s stronger than you and bigger than you [with] no experience in BJJ, he’s f*cked.”

Joe Rogan Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Joe Rogan BJJ

Joe Rogan on the Benefits of Training with Smaller People

Rogan then touted the benefits of training BJJ with smaller people, saying:

“[L]ittle guys are the best to learn technique from… because they can’t rely on strength. There’s a lot of really big, powerful 250-pound BJJ guys who are never going to develop the sort of subtlety of technique that [smaller BJJ practitioners have].”

Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo
Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo

Joe Rogan on the Importance of Technique in Martial Arts

Rogan also gave his opinion on the importance of technique in martial arts. On this issue, Rogan said:

“[BJJ is] also what martial arts are supposed to be, in that a small person who knows technique can beat a big person who doesn’t know the techniques. That’s what we always hoped for when we saw Bruce Lee movies. Bruce Lee, who was a smaller guy, could beat all these bigger guys just because he had better technique. That is actually real in BJJ. It’s one of the only martial arts where that’s real.”

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