Newest Celebrity To Join The Jiu-Jitsu Movement

Joining a long list of comedians and actors to make their first trek on the mats, Entourage star and three-time Emmy award winner Jeremy Piven recruited Rener Gracie to take his introductory class in jiu-jitsu. While the quarantine has seen limited in-person training, at home training appears to never have been more popular. Given that both individuals live in Southern California, Piven’s penchant for MMA as a fan often sighted at UFC events, and Rener’s deep understanding of the sport through his Gracie Breakdowns, this appears to have been a intro class waiting to happen.

Piven joins the likes of Russell Brand, Theo Von, and Russell Peters as actor/comedians that are dipping their hands in to the gentle art. Rener confirms to JJT that the private lesson is indeed Piven’s first class and that it was the “Best 10 minute intro class of all time,” marking Piven as a “very fast learner.” Rener and his family are no strangers to teaching celebrity clientele, having taught many in the film and music industry, among them Vince Vaughn and Ed O’Neill, O’Neill himself holding a black belt under the Gracie family.

While many jiu-jitsu schools see their primary focus as obtaining success in competition, Rener has set out his goal to bring as many people onto the mat for the first time as possible. He has stated that mixed martial arts, particularly the UFC organization, is the primary gatekeeper towards attracting the casual sports fan from MMA into jiu-jitsu. Through his Gracie Breakdowns, his intention is to bring light and awareness to the jiu-jitsu component of MMA fights as an expert analyst in the hopes that casual fans will become intrigued enough to try a class one day. This ultimately benefits all jiu-jitsu schools as more and more people wish to join different programs and invest in the art.

It is exciting anytime a celebrity trains for the first time, particularly if they post about it enthusiastically. It draws new eyes to the art and can even bring a sense of connection to the reality that even celebrities start at the very beginning because as the old adage goes, ‘’mats don’t lie.” The pursuit of physical health, mental stimulation, and emotional connection is paramount throughout the jiu-jitsu journey, and it is always a treat to see that some of our favorite actors are hyped about their new path as many of us were at the beginning of ours. Let’s hope Jeremy will continue his pursuit of knowledge and be another high-profile ambassador for the art.


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