Anthony Bourdain had an anonymous Reddit account, which he used to write about Jiu-Jitsu.
Posting almost exclusively in the popular r/bjj Reddit community, Bourdain’s comments, featuring his signature self deprecating barbs, had long been rumoured to be him by some Redditors. Now Bourdain’s wife, Ottavia Busia (and “an additional source” close to Bourdain), have confirmed to The Rolling Stone they were him.
The Rolling Stone reported on Saturday: “Eventually, the tone and rhythms, the distinctive attitude in NooYawkCity’s writing, started to become recognizable to savvy Redditors. These, they suspected, were the musings of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrated chef, author, and TV star, who died by suicide in 2018 at the age of 61. Bourdain’s wife, Ottavia Busia — who had introduced him to Brazilian jiujitsu — later confirmed as much, as has an additional source close to the No Reservations host.”
Bourdain’s Reddit profile was ‘u/NooYawkCity.’
His first comment, entitled, “58 year old white belt,” made seven years ago, was as follows:
“I’ve been training about a year, and only recently gotten solidly hooked. From once every few weeks, to once a week to nearly every day. Now it’s an obsession. I’m in shit shape, gas early, and of course, hurt like hell after training. Given the limits of any reasonable expectations, am I out of my fucking mind?”
Reddit user flybrand wrote in response: “38 year old white belt; came back after a 10 year hiatus because of people like you. Keep at it.”
Some of Bourdain’s other comments in the r/bjj community, we reckon, hold some life and fitness lessons we can all learn from – whether that’s finding an obsession (if you want to get fit, and have never been ‘into’ fitness) or showing respect when you travel.
In one post, entitled “Chicken fried steak,” Bourdain wrote: “58 years old and getting so gassed during warm ups, that when we start to roll, I end up sticking my own head into an obvious guillotine –just to take a break. An utterly humiliating class yesterday, yet showed up for a private today with 250 lbs of muscle and bone so I could get pounded like a chicken fried steak.”
“Why am I doing this? I don’t know. I’m like a dope fiend at this point. If I can’t train I start going into withdrawal. Wander around, twitching, restless and pissed off. At least with dope, you feel GOOD afterwards . After training, I feel like a rented and unloved mule . All the other (much, much younger) white belts all seem to be coming back from long breaks because of injury.”
“Strangely enough, so far so good for me. I may feel like a fragile box of stale breadsticks but I’ve managed to avoid injury (if not discomfort). I have never enjoyed pain. I don’t care if it’s Gisele Bunchen coming at me in thigh boots wielding a riding crop, I’m not interested. Yet I insist on getting squashed on the mats every day and feel bereft if I can’t. This is not normal. When I talk about BJJ , Old friends look at me like I have an arm growing out of my forehead. But I Won’t stop. Can’t stop.”
This post got some commenters guessing it might be Bourdain.
He also, on another occasion, wrote: “I travel a lot and visit a lot of different academies. And I frankly don’t care whose photo I’m asked to bow to: Helio, Carlos, Carlson, Maeda — or whether I’m expected to bow every time I either enter or leave the mats, bow to instructor, bow to my classmates… I do it. It’s their house. I’m lucky enough to benefit in some way from the hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of hours of painfully acquired experience represented by those traditions, however silly they may seem. I play by the house rules. Period. If I don’t like your rules? I don’t come to your house.”
He also commented on another post (“Joe Rogan says Ottavia Bourdain got Anthony into jiu jitsu by bribing him with Vicodin in return for going, lol. Also mentions that he trains twice a day”), appearing to confirm the rumour. In response to a user writing: “Wait, am I the only one who thinks she was joking when she said that?” Bourdain said: “That would be a reasonable assumption. Also the fact of the matter.”
Another post was as follows: “57 when I started. Had never been in a gym in my life. Lifetime heavy smoker. Overweight.”
“Coming up on 59 now. I train every day, wherever I can. If I’m home, I’ll do a private followed by GenPop class . Every day. . If away, I’ll take what I can get: preferably classes with some hard rolling . That can be, as I’ve found out, a mystery basket , as levels of aggression and acceptable techniques tend to vary. Face cranks and can openers, for instance, seem to be a polite way to begin a roll in some parts of Eastern Europe.”
“Conventional wisdom is that I should allow myself recovery time . That training every day is not wise. I say fuck that. The clock is ticking. Im not getting any faster, more flexible or more durable. Gotta get in what training I can–learn as much as I can, get as good as I can before I leave this life like I began it: diapered and screaming.”
Another time he wrote: “For over 40 years, my life pretty much revolved around drugs. Booze and cigarettes almost the background music to my drugs of choice (heroin and cocaine). Drug free but a drinker until I started BJJ — at which point the inevitability of getting smashed every day made alcohol a much less attractive option and cigarettes out of the question. Frankly, BJJ as an addiction has in many ways replaced my previous ones. If I’m away from my home academy, I find myself looking for someplace anyplace to train like a dope fiend looking for a methadone clinic. My emotional state when deprived of training would, in different circumstances, be called ‘drug seeking behavior.'”
Watch more of Anthony Bourdain’s advice (in this case, specifically about travel), in the video below