Tool's Maynard James Keenan Earns Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Photo: @tygaygjj (Instagram)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 8, 2024

If you missed out on learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Maynard James Keenan last January, you won't want to make the same mistake again upon learning that the Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer vocalist has now earned the rank of black belt.

As detailed in a post by his training partner and fellow black belt Ty Gay, Keenan made the leap from brown to black belt this past weekend (January 6). "Congratulations to my friend, training partner, and sometimes nemesis [Maynard Kames Keenan] on the monumental task of receiving his Black Belt today," Gay wrote. "Was an amazing event, with a bunch of truly amazing people. Today, Jiu-Jitsu became just a little bit better."

Keenan also thanked his jiu-jitsu crew in a post of his own, sharing a shot of his new belt alongside a bottle of wine from his Cadceus Cellars, writing, "New Chapter. Thank you all for helping me write the previous."

Not only an immensely focused Jenga player, Keenan had previously been promoted to the level of brown belt in 2021, and had previously studied jiu-jitsu under Rickson Gracie, who is widely considered one of the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioners.

The vocalist called training with Gracie "a humbling experience" in a 2006 conversation with The A.V. Club, explaining of his practice, "You realize that, when you're a guy my size, you're going to get your ass kicked no matter what. [Laughs.] I have some skills that I can use, but I'm just a small guy — and [training jiu-jitsu] really taught me that when it comes to males and their testosterone levels, and what happens in a situation where those testosterone levels are elevated, there's no amount of reasoning and discipline in the world that can take a middle-skilled or lower-skilled guy and make him realize that it's not okay to hurt somebody."

Keenan's climb through jiu-jitsu's rankings continues toward red/black and red/white-coloured levels of achievement known commonly as "coral belts." You can find both posts celebrating his latest achievement below.

Before the end of 2023, Keenan and Tool completed a North American tour on which they performed with Rush's Alex Lifeson during two dates in Toronto. The band will now kick off a run of US arena dates Wednesday (January 10) in Baltimore, MD.

A post shared by Ty Gay (@tygaygjj)


A post shared by MJ Keenan (@iamthebriefcase)

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