Maynard James Keenan awarded jiu-jitsu purple belt

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Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has been awarded his purple belt in the martial art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The singer – who is also a member of Puscifer and A Perfect Circle – has practiced the grappling technique for years under the guidance of jiu-jitsu icon Rickson Gracie, but had been sidelined by injuries for some time.

But after picking up his training again recently, the 51-year-old was given his purple belt in recognition of his skill advancement.

On Instagram, Keenan says: “While on family vacation in Hawaii, I was blessed with a curveball. The coach that gave me my blue belt years ago surprised me unexpectedly with a long, very kind, heart felt speech and my purple belt.

“It’s taken quite a while to get here. I moved to an area that had no Rickson Gracie jiu-jitsu school in late 96 and had to commute back and forth to keep up training which just wasn’t practical.

“I also suffered a few injuries which also made training inconsistent. And even when I could train, it wasn’t under a single instructor with a Rickson Gracie curriculum. So very difficult to advance in belts under this scenario.

“But more recently I resumed training after some supportive prodding from one of my best friends in the world, Todd Fox.”

Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is one of the most widely-used skills in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).

Tool are working on their long-awaited fifth album after finally clearing up a legal issue that was holding them back.

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