Joe Rogan’s Epic Journey in the World of Jiu-Jitsu

Joe Rogan, a martial arts celebrity, has been influential in popularizing Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His enthusiasm for BJJ shows through his support and devotion to the sport, despite his lucrative profession as a comedian, pundit, and podcast presenter.

“Once you understand what excellence is all about, you see how excellence manifests itself in every discipline.”

– Joe Rogan

Prepare to be enthralled through this article as we unravel the fascinating story that led Joe Rogan to ascend to the summit of greatness as one of the greatest Jiu-Jitsu.

Joe Rogan Early Years

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Long before he became a successful commentator or Internet personality, Joe Rogan was no different from you or me.

Joseph James Rogan, as his real name is, was born on August 11, 1967, in the city of Newark, New Jersey, where his grandfather had moved with his grandmother 20 years earlier.

He showed an interest in sports at an early age, and his father took him to Little League baseball practice.

Fortunately, he did not continue in those classes, otherwise, we would not know this man.

A few years passed, and as a teenager, he began to develop an interest in martial arts with the dream of one day becoming a professional fighter.

In his own words, Rogan described martial arts as the first thing he did where he didn’t feel like a complete loser. People liked and respected him for his martial arts talent.

During his youth, he had different approaches to martial arts where he ended up being overpowered and neutralized by his opponents, leaving him with a feeling of infinite defeat that would not leave his mind.

From that moment until he was 22 years old, he dedicated his life to training and competing in different disciplines, where he had more than 100 taekwondo matches, and he was victorious in most of them.

Joe Rogan and the UFC 2 Impact

“If someone is giving me a hard time, I want to be the one to decide if it gets violent or who gets hurt. I don’t want to leave it in the hands of somebody else who might be a psychopath. If it’s in my hands, nobody gets hurt.”

– Joe Rogan

It wasn’t until 1994 that his interest in martial arts took a new direction when he saw Royce Gracie fight in UFC 2: No Way Out.

He immediately realized that Taekwondo, which had brought him so many victories and so much joy, was an “incomplete martial art”.

He was fascinated by the way Royce was able to take down his opponents even when he was at a physical disadvantage.

This episode in his life marked a before and after, and Rogan’s love for BJJ was born.

Related: Explore the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters who excel in the UFC. You’ll discover some of the best athletes who have mastered the BJJ martial arts and have made a name for themselves in the UFC. Click here to read more!

Joe Rogan Jiu-Jitsu Start

Joe Rogan began his first jiu-jitsu class in 1996, under the tutelage of Carlson Gracie, in the vibrant city of Hollywood, California. Throughout his journey, he sought training from the renowned Rickson Gracie at the beginning of the 2000s.

During his first encounter on the mats, a proficient purple belt practitioner defeated Joe. He had a glimmer of hope at first, believing he had a chance.

However, reality hit him hard following the session, revealing his delusions about his self-defense abilities. These initially humiliating experiences fueled his determination to approach jiu-jitsu training with zeal.

Related: Discover the names of Prominent Celebrities Who Practice Jiu-Jitsu! These iconic faces, ranging from Hollywood stars to sports legends, are tough not just on the screen or the field but also on the mat. Click here to read more!

Joe Rogan BJJ Belt Progression

Joe Rogan earned the prestigious blue belt rank sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, marking a significant milestone in his development.

While hosting the popular show Fear Factor, Joe had the honor of receiving his purple belt from the renowned Jean Jacques Machado in 2002. Joe recalls this as one of the happiest times of his life, even surpassing the thrill of landing the Fear Factor role.

Joe Rogan had been a brown belt for eight years because of a lack of consistent training at the time. During this time, he began practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu without a gi under Eddie Bravo’s tutelage. He was also scheduled to face Wesley Snipes during this period.

Joe was convinced that if he could get Wesley to the ground, he could submit him because Wesley, despite being a competent wrestler, had never trained in BJJ. However, the fight never took place.

Joe Rogan attained the significant milestone of two black belts in 2010. The first was his gi black belt, which he received from Jean Jacques Machado, and the second was his no-gi black belt from Eddie Bravo.

Related: Moving up to the next jiu-jitsu belt requires years of practice, dedication, and determination. Click here to learn more about the BJJ belt progression timeline.

Joe Rogan Jiu-Jitsu Game

“My game is smush. Smush you. Grab a hold of you. Once I have a hold of you, why would I let you go?”

– Joe Rogan

Rogan was praised by Jean Jacques Machado as one of his most formidable and dedicated students.

Joe considers his suffocating dominant position to be the pinnacle of his skill set. He enjoys the head and arm choke, but his preferred submissions come from the back mount, where he is skilled at strangles.

In a competitive situation, however, Rogan claims that he would prefer the closed guard or forcefully establish the bottom half-guard position. He enjoys using the rubber guard technique because he is extremely flexible.

His arsenal from the bottom position consists of armbars and triangle chokes initiated from the closed guard.

He actively seeks double underhooks in the bottom half-guard to execute sweeps and gain the advantageous top position.

Joe strongly believes in positional sparring, similar to John Danaher and Gordon Ryan, as well as focused drilling.

He is a firm believer that the most effective way to improve one’s skills is to hone offensive techniques against a competent but slightly less skilled opponent who poses enough resistance to challenge but not so much that all attacks are effortlessly nullified.

Joe Rogan on Jiu Jitsu

“Jiu-jitsu is the only martial art that works like it does in the movies — where the little guy can beat the big guy.”

– Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan believes that jiu-jitsu is an excellent choice for beginners in the martial arts. It not only provides entertainment but also serves as an excellent form of physical exercise and self-defense.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, according to Joe Rogan, outperforms other martial arts in terms of self-defense effectiveness. Given that self-defense situations frequently escalate into grappling situations, having proficient grappling skills becomes critical.

BJJ takes luck out of the equation, making it a true martial art.

Learning BJJ gives people the ability to control the outcome of fights. It is far preferable to have command of the situation than to entrust it to someone else, especially if they have a potentially dangerous personality.

Maintaining authority ensures the safety of oneself and others. As a result, jiu-jitsu has a wide range of practical applications.

“When confronted with a troublesome individual, I want the authority to decide whether violence is justified and who bears the consequences.” I refuse to put such an important decision in the hands of a potential psychopath. “No one will be harmed as long as I hold the reins,” Joe Rogan stated.

Joe Rogan admires jiu-jitsu’s intricate nature and how it humbles and grounds him. Even though he has been submitted numerous times, he remains modest and grounded, appreciating the complexity of the art.

“I think every young man should learn how to fight. And I think there would be way less fights because of it.” 

– Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan Jiu-Jitsu Podcast

It’s no secret that Joe has a passion for sharing his ideas, thoughts, and commentary through his communication channels.

Rogan, being the BJJ black belt master that he is, has had incredible episodes with other jiu-jitsu personalities such as Eddie Bravo, Jean Jacques Machado, John Dahaner, and other celebrities in the BJJ world.

For Rogan, BJJ is not only a martial art that he carries with him wherever he goes, but it has become a lifestyle that reminds him of the man he is his beginnings, and his goals.

Related: Looking to enhance your jiu-jitsu journey? This list of the best jiu-jitsu podcasts! Gain valuable insights, techniques, and interviews with experts in the field. Click here to read more!


Joe Rogan’s impact on the world of jiu-jitsu cannot be understated. He has brought significant exposure and respect to martial art via his personal enthusiasm for it and his platform as a recognized commentator and podcast presenter.

Rogan’s passion for training, profound comprehension of the technical components, and ability to express its complexities have increased the popularity and relevance of jiu-jitsu.

Furthermore, Joe’s job as a commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has given him the opportunity to exhibit his jiu-jitsu knowledge to a worldwide audience.

During UFC bouts, he often emphasizes the importance of grappling tactics and the strategic movements used by combatants on the ground. This has aided in educating and engaging audiences, building a stronger knowledge and respect for jiu-jitsu artistry.

Related: Discover the names of famous celebs’ Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belts! Despite their hectic daily schedules and life’s distractions, these iconic faces have dedicated significant time, effort, and commitment to BJJ training. Click here to read more!

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