Ed O’Neill BJJ: Al Bundy’s Journey to Jiu Jitsu Black Belt

Ed O'Neill BJJ

Ed O’Neill is famous for his iconic role as Al Bundy in the TV series Married… with Children and more recently Jay Prichett in Modern Family.

What most people don’t know is that he was an accomplished football player once signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers and is also a very successful martial artist.

Ed aka Al Bundy is a celebrity that takes Jiu Jitsu very seriously and describes his BJJ Black Belt as “the greatest achievement of his life, apart from his children”.

Check out Part 1 of our YouTube BJJ Celebrities Series which covers Ed O’Neill’s complete Jiu Jitsu journey:

Ed O’Neill BJJ FAQ

Everything you need to know about Ed O’Neill’s (Al Bundy) Jiu Jitsu Journey:

Most sources claim that Ed started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the late 1980s. Ed himself stated that he received his Black Belt in 2007 after 16 years of training, therefore starting his training in 1991.

According to Ed himself he was 45 years old when he started training BJJ. While different sources state different ages, he certainly started his Jiu Jitsu journey in his early- to mid-40s.

In 2023 Ed is training BJJ for 32 years already. This is very impressive considering his high age today and the high drop-out-rates of tough sports like Jiu Jitsu.

Ed O’Neill received his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in December 2007. It took him 16 years to get his Black Belt in BJJ. This longer than the average time of about 10 years but the actor is a busy person after all.

Ed’s coach is BJJ Red Belt holder Rorion Gracie. Ed has been training at Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy under the same coach since he started his BJJ journey.

Ed is turning 77 years old in 2023 and is therefore not actively competing in BJJ. Nevertheless, he is still in great shape for his age and is a great representative for the sport.

Ed O’Neill on his Jiu Jitsu Journey

Ed took a viable path to becoming a battle-tested BJJ black belt. Although never being a dedicated competitor because of his age, he didn’t exclusively take private lessons. He was on the mats sweating and sparring with anybody else.

Ed often cherished Jiu Jitsu for humbling him and keeping him down to earth at the heights of his fame. Therefore, BJJ is very dear to him and “his second greatest achievement, apart from his children”.

He himself didn’t even expect to get promoted and says, “The night that I got [the black belt] I didn’t expect it at all.”

In the following video he lays out his Jiu Jitsu journey where celebrities are not treated differently and talks about his first class and black belt promotion:

Ed O’Neill on Progressing in BJJ

Ed discusses The 32 Principles of BJJ with his coach’s sons Rener and Ryron. He touches on concepts that make a practitioner effective and help with longevity. At his age he is really a source to be trusted on this topic.


Ed O’Neill has achieved great things in both acting and martial arts. He’s a role model for dedication and showed that you can achieve great results even later in life.

We wish Ed all the best and hope he will continue to show the new kids some of the old man strength for a long time.

Check out our complete list of BJJ celebrities:

BJJ celebrities

Complete List of Celebrities that do BJJ

Which stars do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Which belt ranks are the celebrities?


Tom Hardy | Keanu Reeves | Jason Statham | Ed O’Neill | Demi Lovato | Russell Brand | Maynard James Keenan | Ashton Kutcher | Guy Ritchie | Jonah Hill | Joe Rogan | Chuck Norris | Jason Momoa | Mario Lopez | Joey Diaz | Jim Carrey | Henry Cavill | Charlie Hunnam | Millie Bobby Brown | Shaquille O’Neal | Dave Bautista | Vin Diesel | Robert Pattinson | Kelly Slater

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