Demi Lovato hit the news in August of 2017 when she was awarded her blue belt in BJJ by ADCC World Champion and Gracie Barra Pasadena coach, Orlando Sanchez. She attracted plenty of questions from the Jiu-Jitsu community at large when she received the promotion as it surfaced that she’d only been training for around a year at the time she received it, and like several other celebrities who have taken up BJJ, she only does private classes instead of sparring with the general public.
While this makes sense for a lot of celebrity practitioners who rely on their looks and general health in order to perform their jobs, this is not universal. Several other musicians do train with the general public, like Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory who is now a black belt in both Judo and BJJ, or Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine who earned his BJJ purple belt at the age of 59. Despite what you think of her belt rank, having someone as popular as Lovato praising the sport brings more attention to it, which can only be a good thing for the bottom line of your local school:
“I would say that if you struggle with depression, anxiety, or any other type of stressors in your life, a really great way to get rid of those is through physical exercise and fitness.” Lovato told People magazine. “I first got into jiu-jitsu because I loved watching people grapple. I think it’s really cool to learn something that helps you with self-defense.”
Demi Lovato recently appeared on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience where she shared some of her experiences of BJJ, and her reasons for leaving it behind at the moment. Of course, it’s been widely reported that she hit an incredibly difficult patch in 2018 when relapsed after several years of sobriety and had to be revived after suffering an overdose of Fentanyl. She also goes on to explain that she does intend to return to Jiu-Jitsu at some point, as she does miss the sport: