WWE star and Hollywood actor Dave Bautista has opened up about how he first found Jiu-Jitsu and what his grappling journey has looked like in a recent interview with Matt Arroyo. Not only is Arroyo an experienced BJJ black belt, but he’s also an MMA veteran who had several fights in the UFC during his career. Although Bautista is more well-known as a professional wrestler and now as an actor, he also had an MMA fight at one point back in 2012 and has been doing BJJ since long before then.
Bautista was actually promoted to brown belt in BJJ earlier this year, and Arroyo asked Bautista when he first started grappling:
“I officially started training grappling around 2010. I was an amateur wrestler, I wrestled in high school and obviously I wrestled professionally. So there was always a little bit of grappling involved.”
He’s not the first wrestler to transition to BJJ of course and many of his colleagues throughout WWE history have had experience in the sport. Despite their similarities, wrestling and BJJ are actually very different and the two rulesets actually end up encouraging different solutions to similar problems. Despite his wealth of experience on the mats and incredible athleticism, Dave Bautista explained that he came into Jiu-Jitsu with a completely open mind:
“I start training with Cesar Gracie in 2010. I wanted to learn, I wanted to put on a gi. I wanted to get some belts and really kind of figure out what I was doing because up until then I was just kind of using basic wrestling to get by with guys who were real grapplers. I was training a little bit, I just wasn’t officially training in Jiu-Jitsu.”
Matt Arroyo uploaded the short interview with Dave Bautista where he explains how he found Jiu-Jitsu in a recent post to his official Instagram account: