Anthony Bourdain tries Jiu-Jitsu, as documented by his blue belt wife

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Anthony Bourdain supports wife Ottavia after she won her division at the 2013 New York Spring Open back in April. Photo: Erin Herle

Imagine traveling to a foreign country where the language is so far removed from yours that you can’t even pronounce the street signs to the cab driver. It’s a type of experience that allows anyone to remember years as a toddler not being able to read or understand any communication beyond some random words here and there, hand signals and facial expressions at most. Allow one woman’s trek to get her husband and friends (it helps that you probably know who her husband is which makes it more entertaining) on the very mats she spends much of her time sweating and rolling around on in a basement in NYC to help you remember what it was like before you trained Jiu-Jitsu yourself.

The wife of Anthony Bourdain, Ottavia Bourdain, is a blue belt at the Renzo Gracie NYC Academy where she trains religiously. In fact, her hard work paid off as we saw at the 2013 New York Spring Open in April when she took first in her division. Chef husband Anthony even came to the venue to support her.

Recently, Ottavia decided to take her friends and husband to the academy basement, clothe them in gis and lead them to the blue mats for some introductory training under Gracie brothers Rolles and Igor. She explains, “For two years now, my friends and family have been witnessing my descent down the Jiu-Jitsu rabbit hole. Some gave up on me after I turned down an invitation to go out for the 10th time because, you know, I had to train in the morning. Others just got tired of me talking about BJJ all the time. But some, the ones who count, stuck around. So I figured why not reward them with an introductory lesson?”

While her long time yoga instructor and dear friend Terrence was thrown into a class, her friend Doug was given a session with Rolles and her husband who was more tough to persuade, was led by Igor.

She interviewed all three after their experience and their candid responses make it an entertaining read but furthermore it let’s us all remember what it was like to be a white belt again, illiterate of all techniques and positions that we unconsciously understand today.

Imagine what it’s like to have never stepped on a mat before or put on a gi and this is how you’ll feel so relive the moment and see Ottavia’s article here.

Did you feel the same way when you tried your first class?

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