The Sad Reason Anthony Bourdain Began Practicing Jiu-Jitsu

Fans of Anthony Bourdain, and of course his friends and family, may have known of his strong love for jiu-jitsu. The Japanese martial arts practice is one he took up while he was married to ex-wife Ottavia Busia and at a time he reveled in his family life with their daughter, Ariane. But what some might not have realized is just why he started participating in the sport in the first place. Director Morgan Neville explores Bourdain's interest in jiu-jitsu in his most recent documentary, "Roadrunner."

As it turns out, it was actually Busia who took up the sport first in the family as she wanted to take classes to be prepared to defend their daughter, Ariane, from anyone or anything that may have tried to harm her. Eventually, Bourdain took up the sport too. But with time, he actually became enamored with it, to the point of it essentially replacing his heroin addiction. Sadly, it was also part of the couple's downfall, according to "Roadrunner." In the film, Busia said that no one could stay married to someone so obsessed with something.

Why Bourdain became so obsessed with the sport

While Bourdain's decision to take up jiu-jitsu led to even more depressing events, including losing his stable family life, there were actually a lot of positives that came from his habit, too. Though jiu-jitsu became an all-consuming component for Bourdain, it actually helped push him to become healthier. He quit smoking when he picked up the practice, and the sport helped him get into great shape. It also gave Bourdain a great outlet for releasing or, at the very least, momentarily alleviating the negative emotions he felt, according to "Roadrunner."

Though jiu-jitsu ultimately led to more negative outcomes, it's been rationalized that it was Bourdain's addictive personality that was really to blame. That facet of his personality becomes apparent in "Roadrunner" and gives his fans and viewers of the film more clarity behind one of the many reasons he may have taken his own life. Though Bourdain did seek help through a therapist, he felt it was too late for him, and the consequences in the end were devastating to everyone around him.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.