Maynard James Keenan is currently a Brown Belt in BJJ. He started training Jiu Jitsu in 1996 under Rickson Gracie. Today he is a co-founder and instructor at Verde Valley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Arizona and BJJ has become a major part of his life.
MJ Keenan is mainly known as the singer and songwriter of the bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. Beyond his musical career he is also a successful actor and winemaker.
Check out Part 2 of our YouTube BJJ Celebrities Series which covers Maynard James Keenan’s complete Jiu Jitsu journey:
Maynard James Keenan BJJ FAQ
Everything you need to know about Maynard James Keenan’s Jiu Jitsu Journey:
Maynard James Keenan’s Jiu Jitsu Journey
Maynard started training wrestling in High school. His father was his coach and demanded a lot from him according to Maynard himself. Maynard’s father instilled the following motto in him:
“You win or you learn.”
In 1996 the singer began training Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Rickson Gracie and couldn’t have chosen a better coach.
He describes how he got humbled when he first joined a Jiu Jitsu school while only having wrestling knowledge. However, wrestling was a great foundation to build his Jiu Jitsu skills upon.
MJ Keenan often emphasizes on how difficult but rewarding Brazilian Jiu jitsu is:
“Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a long journey and as soon as you think you have got into a plateau, there’s another plateau above that. It’s very humiliating.”
“It’s a tough road from White Belt to Black Belt. It’s a long road and it requires you, nobody else can do that but you. You have to put the time in, you have to progress, you have to do it. Nobody can do it for you. By the time you get to the Black Belt you have earned it. There are no shortcuts.”
He finishes with the words:
“It’s a wonderful journey and I highly recommend it.”
Check out the full interview including some of the singers BJJ techniques:
Why Maynard James Keenan trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Maynard primarily trains BJJ for the following reasons, as he explains in the interview above:
- Personal Growth and Reflection
“The chess part of it on the mat, in the Gi, is very mentally stimulating. It’s step by step.”
“I’m not living any illusion; I will never be in the Octagon. I’m not build for it. What I do martial arts for is multiple things. Just personal growth and personal understanding and reflection but also because it’s a self-defense technique. The idea of any self-defense martial art is that maybe it will never happen, but if you are in a situation that you have some drunken idiot [attacking you]… I do it for that reason.”
At a tool concert Maynard took down a fan that stormed the stage and kept singing while holding him in a rear naked choke:
Maynard told BJJ black Belt Henry Akins:
“What’s the most difficult thing for you to do and seems like an unobtainable thing? Move towards friction because you will only get better if you face the things that are not comfortable. Jiu Jitsu is one of the hardest things I ever started and I’m kind of stubborn [to finish the path].”
Maynard James Keenan has almost 30 years of training Jiu Jitsu under his belt now. He is a great representative for the sport as he understands all facets of Jiu Jitsu including the physical and the mental aspect.
We are fans of Maynard’s musical endeavors like Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer and it is great that we share the passion for BJJ.
Check out our complete list of BJJ 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