How Martial Arts helped Joe Rogan shed his ‘Loser’ label

Podcast host and UFC commentator Joe Rogan credits martial arts with helping him gain confidence and overcome the feeling of being a “loser” as a child. During a recent appearance on Rogan’s podcast, actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson recalled how martial arts gave him the assurance to push past childhood insecurities.

Rogan echoed Johnson’s sentiments, stating martial arts provided him with his first sense of real accomplishment. “I always felt like there were certainly there were winners in life. And I was not that I was a loser,” explained Rogan.

“And I, you know, I always was insecure because we always moved around a lot into my life. I kind of chaotic my family, I feel like. And I just felt looser. I always felt like I had to hide from people socially nervous around people. And I just felt like there were certainly there were winners in life. And I was not that I was a loser.”

He first took up karate and taekwondo as a young teen. Despite initially struggling in the martial arts disciplines, Rogan said he realized “I could get better at it quickly.” He progressed rapidly in the arts, competing in tournaments and even teaching classes while still a teenager.

“And then I started martial arts. I got really good at it. I was obsessed. I got really good at it quickly and I really like, Oh, I know, I just have to find a thing and f**king really get after it in a way that I know some people that have an easy life, they’re not going to pursue it like it’s going to save them.”

“And I was personally like, Is this going to save me? But I knew I could get better. So getting to feel like I want to do something completely dangerous and then I got really good at it. That’s really tournament and competing and traveling on the road. So my whole life from 15 to 21 was just traveling around. That’s all I did.”

Though he did not ultimately pursue martial arts as a career, Rogan credits the arts for instilling self-confidence and giving him his first sense of accomplishment as a young person. Martial arts provided Rogan the assurance that with hard work, he could overcome his feelings of being an outcast and achieve success.