Born in Newark, New Jersey on August 11, 1967, Joseph James Rogan is the son of a former Newark police officer. His father was known to have brief violent flashes of domestic violence, which led to his parents getting a divorce when he was only five. He would not see his father again however as his family decided to move to San Francisco when he was aged 7. What follows would be a few turbulent years for the young Rogan as his family would move around the country quite frequently. It was only when they settled in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts that Rogan found stability. While attending Newton South High School, Rogan was an avid baseball fan, yet it would be martial arts that truly grabbed the attention of the young man. Rogan was terrified of being seen as a loser as a teenager and it would be martial arts that not only gave him confidence but also gave him a different perspective of himself and what he was capable of. During high school, Rogan was a practitioner of Taekwondo and gained a black belt at age 15. He soon became the Massachusetts full contact Tae Kwon Do champion for four consecutive years. By the age of 19, Rogan won the US Open Taekwondo Championship and, as lightweight champion, went on to beat both the middle and heavyweight title-holders to obtain the Grand Championship. He started judo at the age of 20 and after a year of training received his blue belt. However, Rogan would stop competing in 1989 due to fears of brain damage and injuries in general. Recently on his podcast, Rogan went into detail about why he stopped competing at such a young age. “When I stopped fighting, it was in 1989, that was the last kickboxing fight I had. And there was nothing, there was no money in it. And I was getting headaches just from sparring. I did not spar smart. I sparred meathead style. I know a lot more today than I ever knew then as far as consequences and what's important and how to learn better. I was good at being obsessed with things, just focusing on them constantly all the time, it was kinda frantic, it wasn't calculated and intelligent. There was essentially no way to have a career other than teaching, Joe continued.
And so when I started to get into stand-up comedy, I realized, 'Oh wow, I could make a living doing this.' Like there's actually a real path like there's guys I know that make a living doing this. While everyone I know in fighting is broke or they're slurring their words. Guys from the gym would be in gym wars and now they're all f*cked up, they don't know where they parked their car. There was a lot of that sh*t that was scaring the f*ck out of me.
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