From the time he was a child, Joe Rogan was interested in all things martial arts. He began practicing karate at age 14 and Tae Kwon Do at 15. By the time he was 21, he had amassed around 100 matches and a black belt under Jae Hun Kim, one of General Choi Hong Hi's original students. He learned the old "hard style" of Tae Kwon Do from Kim, who despised weak "point" kicks. Joe attributes his ability to kick exceptionally hard to his tutelage at this unusual school.
He would go on to take an interest in boxing and Muay Thai, taking three amateur kickboxing bouts (2-1) before Brazilian jiu-jitsu captured his unwavering attention in 1996. He now holds a black belt under both Eddie Bravo and Jean Jacques Machado, and continues to practice on a regular basis to this day.
Rogan is the very epitome of a renaissance man, taking interests in many things, pursuing them with laser-like intensity.(Courtesy of Joe Rogan)
Acting took up a large portion of the next several years of his life, with his most notable role being Joe Garrelli on the hit show, NewsRadio. His passion for martial arts never waned during this time, and in 1997 he began his illustrious commentary career with the UFC, which he continues to do currently. He has since expanded his horizons to include stand-up comedy, reality TV hosting and talk show hosting with his hit podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
Merriam-Webster defines a renaissance man as ‘a person who has wide interests and knows a lot about many things.' Rogan is the very epitome of a renaissance man, taking interest in many things, pursuing them with laser-like intensity and focus until he becomes masterful in them. He recently took up hunting, which he's become proficient at through lots of range time. He now routinely goes on hunts and shoots his own game, which he also prepares for his dinner table.
He became interested in archery last year, so he studied up on it. He is now quite accomplished, shooting thousands of targets every month to hone his skills, which he plans to use in hunting. When billiards became an interest to him several years ago, he got a table and practiced countless hours until he became a veritable pool shark, a fact that can be attested to by many. The list can go on and on, but we'll leave it at this.
Joe has also got a voracious appetite for knowledge, and routinely has scientists, physicians, astrophysicists, authors and the like on his podcast for in-depth conversations that span everything from societal concerns to intergalactic possibilities. An avid reader of literally everything he can get his eyes on, he's very well-versed in a broad enough spectrum of topics to hold his own in conversations with the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson or someone like Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
Every year for the last seven years running, I am fortunate enough to interview Joe on a variety of topics. We talk for 2-3 hours for each one, where the conversation focuses on MMA for an hour, and world events and personal history for the next 1-2 hours. The following is a 2.5 hour interview I conducted with him on May 15th.
Steph Daniels: What do you feel has been the most significant development in MMA over the last year?
Joe Rogan: I would have to say the TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) thing is probably the biggest change in the MMA landscape. It was a very controversial subject and a lot of people opposed it. Many controversial things go unchallenged and unchanged for long periods of time, so it was interesting and a very timely, smart and intelligent decision from the NSAC to stop TRT therapeutic use exemptions, and that spread across the country and across the world.
Steph Daniels: What do you think this means for Vitor Belfort? There's a question in the air about his last test, and it seems like there's always a dark cloud over him. It's unfortunate for fans, because with or without TRT, he's a killer in there and the fans want to see him fight.
Joe Rogan: He's certainly a killer. I can clear up some of the misconceptions about Vitor's test in Nevada. What happened is he went there during the time he was supposed to be off of testosterone. He was supposed to be going into the NSAC, and they would test him to see if his levels qualified for a testosterone use exemption.
That's a bit of ignorance on the part of the NSAC, because when you're on testosterone you don't just come off of it so the athletic commission can be justified in their testing. I mean, if he had a real, legitimate medical condition, as he says he does, then he would be on it all the time for his health. The NSAC being upset because they tested him and it turned out he was on testosterone is a little ridiculous.
It's sort of indicative of the problem we're having with dealing with the whole TRT thing; you have doctors with one opinion, then you have other doctors with a completely different opinion. Some doctors say, ‘This guy needs testosterone, he's low in it and his body isn't producing it. So for his health, we'll give him testosterone. I'm his physician and I say he can fight on it, and I prescribe it, so it's valid.' For a long time the athletic commissions were allowing that to take place, but then what happened was you started getting a lot of really controversial results, with people testing above the levels they're supposed to be at, like the Hunt vs. Bigfoot fight.
They tested him before his fight and then after his fight, and there was a pretty clear indication that somewhere between those two tests he was dealt a massive dose of testosterone, much larger than he should have had, and that may have significantly affected his performance in the fight.
You've got all of these Vitor results, which are undoubtedly spectacular, and he has undeniably skillful attacks. You can't take anything away from how Vitor fights; he's an animal, a long-time veteran and a great mixed martial artist. But the question remains: How much of what we're seeing from the new, rejuvenated Vitor is because of testosterone, and how much of that is ... ethical?
How much of that should we accept, especially when Nevada had pretty clear protocols when it came to ‘testosterone use exemptions' (TUE). One of the rules I really supported was that they wouldn't give a TUE to anyone who had previously tested positive for steroids, because using artificial hormones can damage your endocrine system and it can deplete your body's ability to produce testosterone on its own. So when you have a guy who tested positive for steroids, like Vitor did, and then he shows low natural testosterone levels, many assume the reason for that is that he quote unquote "cheated" in the past.
Then there's the other thing, which is a big one that Dr. Mark Gordon covered on my podcast. He's an expert on traumatic brain injury and he's worked with a lot of football players, soldiers and all sorts of people who have experienced pretty severe, significant depression after a traumatic brain injury. He said that another symptom of traumatic brain injury is lowered testosterone levels. The damage to the pituitary gland because of impacts is something they have shown time and time again can affect testosterone production. His take is if you're not a guy who took steroids, but you are a guy who is engaging in combat sports and sparring and receiving head blows on a regular basis, and you exhibit low testosterone, then that might be an indication that you're suffering from brain damage. If that's the case, the fix isn't to give you testosterone; it's to get you to stop fighting.
Steph Daniels: Do you agree with that?
Joe Rogan: I'm too dumb to cast an opinion. I don't know, I have zero education on that subject. Mark Gordon is a friend of mine and I respect his opinion greatly. He's a very intelligent man and a fascinating guy to talk to, because he's a wealth of information and I'm certainly in no position to question him. I've always been very deeply concerned with brain damage. I think it's the elephant in the room when it comes to not just MMA, but boxing and football. It's being addressed more and more lately, but it's still a huge issue.
My No. 1 concern when it comes to covering MMA is these guys getting long-term brain damage.
I know there was a recent story on the UG where Brock Lesnar had contacted Dana White and begged him to make Pat Barry retire. Pat Barry isn't even in the UFC anymore, so I don't know how Dana would go about doing that, but guys like Brock Lesnar who have fought and know what's going on, they're aware of the dangers and damage. They see their friends like Pat Barry, who is just a great guy, and it's hard to see a guy that you really like and care for get knocked out for the fourth time in two years. My No. 1 concern when it comes to covering MMA and being part of MMA is these guys getting long-term brain damage.
Things like Anderson Silva's leg getting snapped are gruesome to look at; watching that is not fun. Watching Nogeuria getting his arm snapped isn't fun, but they can fix that. Maybe he'll be in pain forever and have a bit of an ache in his arm for the rest of his life, you'd have to ask Minotauro, but the thing that bothers me more than anything is that what you're doing is going to affect the way you think for the rest of your life. It's going to affect the quality of your thinking. I find that very disturbing.
Steph Daniels: Dan Henderson is fighting [May 24th] against Daniel Cormier and he has experienced a huge knockout from Vitor, he's getting advanced in his age, and he's a guy who was previously on TRT and is no longer going to be on it. What are your thoughts on that? (Ed. note: Henderson lost to Cormier in the third round via submission.)
Joe Rogan: You know, Dan Henderson seems fine. Here's the thing about brain trauma and the damage you receive in training and in fights: it's not equal. A blow that would really hurt one person, another guy can shake off. I don't know why that is, but I suspect it has something to do with the very structure of the body, like some people have big ears, or some people have big dicks, some people take punches better. There are variables, and those variables I think are pretty undeniable.
There's not a uniform protocol we could attach to every fighter -- ‘Well this guy has fought for X years and has experienced X blows to the head, so he has X amount of brain damage.' It doesn't work that way. It's also hard to quantify the blows fighters receive that we don't get to see in training, or the blows they received playing other sports like football before coming over to MMA. Dan Henderson doesn't strike me as a guy who is in bad shape. He talks fine; when you communicate with him, he's very lucid. He just went through a brutal fight with Shogun, where in the first round it looked like he was in danger of getting stopped, but then he comes back and knocks out Shogun with one of the greatest punches he's ever landed.
I don't think Dan Henderson wants to hang it up, and I would never be the guy to ask him to hang it up, because it seems like he's still very competitive and he seems to enjoy it. I think when you look at a guy like Dan Henderson, you're not looking at a guy who is really obviously on the decline. Coming off of a knockout victory over Shogun you could even make the argument that he's rebounding well from his loss to Vitor. I think Dan Henderson is a very special guy, and I would not recommend most people go the Dan Henderson Route. Most guys, if they are 43 years old and started fighting in MMA in 1997, by 2014, they're done. Meanwhile, Henderson is one fight away from a title shot.
If Henderson knocks out Cormier, he gets to fight Jon Jones for the title. I mean, that's fucking crazy. I say 'knocks out' because that's probably the only way I see him winning. I think he can win by decision, but if you asked me to bet how Dan Henderson would win, he wins by landing one of those ridiculous punches. Can he win? I don't know, I'm very excited to see him try. I'm still a huge Dan Henderson fan, I still enjoy seeing him fight. He's not a guy I'm worried about as much as a guy like Pat Barry.
I like and respect Pat Barry very much. He's a really funny guy with a great personality, and a really fun guy to watch fight. He's just such a Wildman in the ring and in the cage, but four brutal knockouts in two years like that ... that's getting flatlined every six months. That's not even counting blows to the head in the gym, which most people keep on the down low. Sometimes you'll hear stories, like Forrest Griffin was knocked out twice in the gym before he fought Anderson Silva. That's fucking crazy. Actually, I'm not sure if Forrest was knocked out twice; I know he was definitely knocked out once.
I know Marvin Eastman was knocked out twice before he fought Travis Lutter, and everyone who has seen that fight knows that Lutter sort of connected at the end of a punch. It looked like a good punch, but not a punch that would knock a tough guy like Marvin Eastman out cold. But he went down like he got shot by a sniper, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact his brain was already injured.
Now we have Eddie Alvarez pulling out of his fight with Michael Chandler, and the way he describes his injuries ... it's pretty scary. He's talking about a couple of impacts, one of them in a wrestling practice, where Abel Trujillo and he were wrestling and there was a collision; it wasn't even a punch or a kick.
Steph Daniels: When I interviewed Eddie about it, he said he left a bruise on Trujillo's hip driving in, and then he got kicked two hours later during striking practice.
Joe Rogan: I think the kick actually happened when he was holding onto someone's single, and when the guy pulled his leg out of the single, his heel slammed into Eddie's chin. I'm pretty sure that's how it went; I don't believe it was striking practice, which makes it even more odd. That's just how the brain is.
Brain injuries are really fucking freaky; look at TJ Grant. TJ Grant is still out. That guy hasn't fought in two years, and he was about to fight for the title. He gets a concussion and realizes, ‘This is not good, something is significantly wrong.' Kudos to him for recognizing that, and stepping back and not going ahead and fighting. What if we saw TJ Grant fight and get knocked out really quickly? We wouldn't even know. We would say, ‘Oh I guess TJ Grant was in over his head,' but really it would be that he went into a fight with a significant injury. He would have had an injured brain going in, so I'm glad TJ stepped away. I would like to see more guys step away when they have a significant injury like this. Who knows what's going to happen with Alvarez?
Steph Daniels: He (Alvarez) said that it's more important to him to be around for his family than it is to get that Pay Per View, so my hat is off to him. Boxing sees too much of this, especially in the 1990s, with Gabe Ruelas and Gerald McClellan. Gabe Ruelas actually killed Jimmy Garcia when he hit him. Then you've got Gerald McClellan who can barely speak, and that incident was 20 years ago. Do you feel like maybe the commissions should determine when athletes need to be retired?
Joe Rogan: It's really difficult to make those distinctions and decisions, because every time you step into the octagon you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself. It's part of the very sport itself. So when you take a guy like Pat Barry and tell him he shouldn't fight because he might get injured, well fuckin' everybody who fights could get injured. That's part of the whole thing. I couldn't speculate on the state of Pat Barry's brain right now. I wouldn't be the guy to step in and say, ‘You have to do this or that,' but we all kind of get a sense of when we don't want to see a guy fight again.
Chuck Liddell is a perfect example. Chuck is one of my all-time favorite fighters, but if I found out that Chuck Liddell was about to fight, I would go, ‘Oh no ... this could be terrible.' Why? Because we've all seen what happens. We all seen what happened to Chuck in his last fight against Rich Franklin. We think about all the knockouts he suffered -- the Rashad Evans knockout, which was very scary, and the Shogun knockout. You were watching this great legend who couldn't count on his chin and couldn't take shots anymore.
We want to see a guy who knows when his time is up and it's time to step away.
We don't want to see that. We want to see a guy who knows when his time is up and it's time to step away, and in that sense Dana White is very different from other promoters. It's very rare that you hear a guy like Bob Arum or Don King plead for one of his No. 1 stars to step away because he cares about the fighter's safety, even if the guy can draw considerable Pay Per View revenue.
If you took Chuck Liddell today and somehow managed to build him up, and get him through a battery of tests and have doctors go on a TV show and say, ‘What he needed was a rest, all of my studies show that he's fine.' Then you show Chuck training and smashing the bag, and you interview him and he goes, ‘I've never been hungrier, I've never been better. When something is taken away from you, you really appreciate it when you get it back, and I've got it back, and I've got the green light from the doctors.' Holy shit. You could sell some Pay Per Views, especially if he was fighting someone he's had a long-term rivalry with like Tito Ortiz. That could happen. But Dana wouldn't let that happen, and that's a credit to him. It's a credit to him that he's not just a promoter, he's a human being with a soul and ethics, and in that business that's rare. Dana takes a lot of shit. Anybody in his position would take a lot of shit, but I think he deserves a lot of credit for that. When he thinks a fighter is done, he will tell the fighter that he's done.
Steph Daniels: We've seen guys like Dan Hardy and Stefan Struve with heart issues looking to come back. Do you like seeing comeback stories like that, or does it put you on edge?
Joe Rogan: Again, I'm really not educated enough about medicine and the human body to really comment on what doctors have cleared and haven't cleared. If the doctor says Stefan Struve's heart is OK and he can fight again, then I go with that. When it comes to Dan Hardy, from what I understand, his take on it is that he could get it cleared up with some form of surgery, but he doesn't want to get that surgery, because he's fine. He's never had any symptoms whatsoever, and he's incredibly fit. He's had no issues and he just thinks it's a flaw in the American medicine system. I don't know. When things like that happen, I usually side with the doctor's recommendations. If the doctors think Struve is cleared to fight, then that's great. If it's anyone else who has had heart surgery, or Lavar Johnson who was shot and has that huge scar, he seems fine to me when I watch him knock guys senseless. I would most certainly defer to the opinions of the truly qualified people in that regard.
Steph Daniels: When we spoke last year, you said something about cutting weight that I felt was very important, about narrowing the gap between the weight classes -- especially between 170-185 and 185-205. Is that something you still feel strongly about?
Joe Rogan: I definitely think so. I think there might be some sort of regulations where they weigh fighters during training five or six weeks out, the way they do random drug tests. They should probably do random weigh-ins as well and try to find out what's going on here. When you have certain guys who are cutting an insane amount of weight, maybe something should be done about that, maybe it should be prevented.
I'm a huge proponent of health and safety when it comes to the most dangerous sport in the world, and one of the most dangerous aspects of this dangerous sport is weight cutting. We've had guys die from weight cutting -- both in college wrestling and in MMA in Brazil. It happens. Guys can die from weight cutting. I've seen guys that looked like they were going to die. I saw Travis Lutter when he weighed in for Anderson Silva and missed the weight. When he came back ... I've never seen a person look worse in my life than Travis Lutter did then. He was shuffling. He couldn't walk so he was sliding his feet across the ground. His lips were chapped, his body was completely dehydrated and his cheeks were sunken into his face, and he was going to fight the baddest motherfucker on earth in less than 24 hours.
That's insane. The guy looks like he's on death's door. What if he got the flu right there and then? What if right then, when he's feeling like shit and his immune system is depleted, somebody coughs on him? He gets some really contagious bug and boom, he dies that night. That's not outside of the realm of possibility. When you're engaging in something that's already dangerous, those other dangers really should be mitigated, and I think that doing that on your own is intelligent. But if fighters don't do it on their own, athletic commissions should monitor it.
Weight cutting is dangerous, there's a reason they weigh in the day before the fight; it gives them a chance to rehydrate. It's crazy. Let's call it what it is. It's kind of cheating, but it's cheating that everybody does. You're allowing someone to pretend they're 155 pounds. Motherfucker, you're not 155 pounds! You look at Gleison Tibau and it's like, ‘Dude, you are not a 155-pound fighter. You're just not. I understand that you can get onto that scale and it can show 155 pounds, but that is for the briefest window possible.' As soon as guys get off the scale, they suck on pedialyte, they drink coconut water and do whatever they can to get fluids back into their system, and they're fucking dying.
I just think that bringing your body to a state where it's almost dying just a day before you're going to fight is fucking crazy. I like it when guys get within 5 pounds or so. I've talked to guys who are really intelligent about their cuts, and they get within 5 pounds. Here's a perfect example: Thiago Alves. All throughout his career he's had problems with weight cuts. He missed the cut for the Matt Hughes fight and came in looking fucking enormous when he fought Hughes, and a lot of people thought that was a real advantage. I mean, he looked like a goddamn gorilla! Like someone came in and shaved a gorilla. But if you saw him in his last fight, a really entertaining fight against Seth Baczynski, he was on weight the day before the fight. The day before the fight he was 170 pounds and he didn't have to cut any weight. He looked a little smaller as far as his musculature goes, but he looked great. He didn't look weak in any way, shape or form. His technique was fantastic, his gas was great and he came off a two-year layoff and fought a war with a very tough Seth Baczynski. He had a really entertaining fight and he had the endurance. He was healthy coming into that fight because he didn't have to deplete himself and starve himself and all of that shit.
It's one of those situations where everybody has to cheat, because everybody else is cheating.
I just think that approach is a better approach. I really wish there could be some sort of an agreement with fighters where it's just, ‘Goddammit, what the fuck do you weigh? You weigh 180 pounds right now? Is that what you weigh when you're fit? Then you should fight at 180 pounds.' This making weight thing drives me crazy. I understand that it's important for championship fights, to define how big the fighters are so we have people competing against people who are the same size, but I think it should stop. I think it's a dishonorable part of the sport, and I know that's a very controversial stance to take, and I know that a lot of people may say that I'm ignorant for saying that. ‘Who are you? You're the commentator. You're the guy who is the supposed expert who is explaining MMA in the No. 1 organization in the world, and you think that weight cutting is cheating?' Yeah, I do. I think it's cheating that everybody does. It's one of those situations where everybody has to cheat, because everybody else is cheating.
I love fighting. I fucking love it. I watch everything. I watch Bellator, RFA, Glory, Lion Fight, fights on YouTube and every UFC card. I watch the ones I'm commentating and the ones I'm not commentating. We've even recently started doing this thing where Bryan Callen, Brendan Schaub, my friend Aubrey Marcus and I watched the fights and did a simulcast. While we were watching the fights from Cleveland we were broadcasting live on YouTube, watching the fights and having fun doing what we called a fight companion podcast. I'm a huge fight fan. I watched Floyd Mayweather fight Maidana, I just love watching fights. It's one of my passions.
So for a guy like me to say that I think weight cutting is just cheating that everybody agrees to, I understand that it's a very controversial thing for me to say, and I understand that a lot of people are going to get angry at it. But I really think that it's something that we should look at, and we should look at it, and we should look at it from that perspective. I walk around and I weigh about 195 pounds. If I told someone that I really weigh 170 pounds, and they're like, ‘Good, I weigh 170 pounds too, I'll meet you here at this time and let's grapple or fight or whatever.' If I really do weigh 195 pounds, I'm going to have a 25-pound weight advantage over that person. So if I trick them into thinking that I weigh 170, and starve and dehydrate myself to prove it, and then when we actually meet I'm healthy and back up to 195 pounds, isn't that cheating? Isn't that lying? That's what people are doing.
When people weigh in at 155 pounds and then balloon up to 175 pounds totally shredded and ripped with giant, full muscles ... It's crazy! What kind of game are we playing? Why are we playing that game? Well we're playing that game because everybody is playing it. The weight cutting game is part of the whole MMA game now. It's deeply entwined and integrated into the sport that you cannot compete against the best in the world unless you're willing to starve yourself and deplete yourself, and I think it's fucked.
I think it's contrary to the very spirit of martial arts. The very spirit of elite level martial arts should be that you train as hard as you can, you watch your nutrition, you do not take performance-enhancing drugs that give you any sort of unfair advantage and you want to compete against someone who is your size. That's what it should be all about. You don't want to go in there and bully someone who is littler than you. You don't want to go in there and hit someone who is 30 pounds lighter than you that you have some sort of ridiculous advantage over. That's not in the spirit of elite-level martial arts. Elite martial arts should be people competing against people who are the same size as them. Sure there will be some variations. There will be a guy who is 170 pounds and is built like Hector Lombard, and another guy who is 170 pounds and is kind of doughy and soft and has a lot of body fat. Well, the Hector Lombard guy is always going to be stronger and faster. There are going to be variables, but at least we can minimize those variables if people agree to fight at whatever weight they actually are at.
If you want to fight at 170 pounds, figure out a way to get your body healthily down to 170 pounds. There are optimum weight classes for people. There are people who are carrying around too much body fat, and they would perform at a higher level if they could drop that body fat and get more fit. There are a lot of people who carry unnecessary muscle mass, which looks good if you're powerlifting or bodybuilding, but the reality of MMA is a lot of that stuff just sort of gets in the way. There's a point of diminishing returns, where too much musculature is just going to rob you of your performance, especially in the third, fourth and fifth rounds. It's a huge factor when you see a really muscular guy.
We've commented on it on the broadcast a lot, sometimes to the point where muscular guys like Tyron Woodley have taken umbrage with it and get pissed off at me. It's not that I'm not a Tyron Woodley fan, but if you look at Tyron Woodley and then at the other guys that are 170 pounds, and it's clear that one of these things is not like the others. One guy has a significantly larger amount of muscle than other guys. It works great for him in certain ways, but in other ways you pay the price for that.
I think that if someone wants to compete at 170 pounds, they should fucking weigh 170 pounds. If someone wants to compete at 185 pounds, that should be what you weigh, and if you want to compete at that weight class, figure out how to get your body down to 185 pounds in a healthy way.
Steph Daniels: You've always been a proponent of changing the UFC gloves, primarily because of eye pokes. Bellator has come out with a new glove design that they want to share with the UFC. What's your take on that?
Joe Rogan: I like the glove. I think it's definitely a step in the right direction, with the curved glove. I had Tim Kennedy on my podcast recently, and he had a great point. He said, ‘Bring back the Pride gloves. The UFC owns Pride, why don't they bring back those gloves? They were better gloves.' I think he was absolutely right. The pride gloves forced your hand into a more curled position and we saw far fewer eye pokes in Pride than we do in the UFC. The difference in the amount of eye pokes in Pride compared to the UFC is pretty remarkable.
Another thing that's a benefit of the Bellator glove is the additional padding and support across the top of the hand. That has significantly reduced the amount of hand breaks they've had. I don't remember the exact statistics, but they had X amount of hand breaks per season, and since they've been using these new gloves they've had none. That's very, very significant, and I think that would be extremely beneficial to fighters. Hands break far too easily. It's very easy to break your hands on someone's forehead, or their hip. I think additional padding and support would most definitely benefit fighters and make fights better.
Tim Kennedy broke his hand in the first round against Michael Bisping, and Urijah Faber broke both of his hands when he fought Mike Brown. How many times can guys break their hands? Vitor has had an insane amount of hand breaks, like seven or eight times. I think he's actually had seven or eight surgeries on his hands. The last time I met him in Brazil, we were there for the fights and Vitor went to dinner with us. And he had this little piece of wire poking out of the middle of his hands that was going to have to get removed, and it was because he had his hand wired together.
Steph Daniels: These guys are basically bionic at this point.
Joe Rogan: Sure. I mean, in a sense I'm actually kind of bionic. I've had both of my ACLs reconstructed, so I have screws that are connecting my knees together on both knees.
Steph Daniels: When you have things like that, does the weather really affect you?
Joe Rogan: No, not my injuries, but I've heard of people with injuries who have had that. I'm very lucky in that I've had three knee surgeries -- two ACL reconstructions, one on the left and one of the right, and an additional meniscus surgery on the left knee. For a lot of people they would be like, ‘Fuck this.' But martial arts has been a huge part of my life and I still practice Muay Thai three or four times a week, and I have no problems throwing kicks. It doesn't bother me at all. I just got Regenokine on the knee that has been operated on twice because I had a little bit of soreness in it.
Regenokine is the same thing that Dana White had done for his Meniere's disease. It's the same thing that Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning went to Germany to get. It reinvigorated Manning's football career; after two neck injuries he was about to get out of football. It's a process that was invented by a guy named Peter Wehling who is a spinal surgeon in Dusseldorf in Germany, and for the longest time people had to go there to get it. But now you can get it in Santa Monica, which is where I can get it, and also in Dallas and Las Vegas as well.
What they do is they take your blood out, and they incubate the blood at a slightly raised temperature. Then the liquid is placed in a centrifuge where the constituent parts are separate. The way it was described to me is that when you heat the blood, it's like the blood experiences a fever. So the blood produces this incredible anti-inflammatory response, and when you spin it in a centrifuge that anti-inflammatory serum can be separated. This serum is then reintroduced into your body at injured areas where you have arthritis or swelling. Weidman had it done on both of his knees. I had it done in my neck, my knee and two on my back. It's really incredible stuff, as far as pain and inflammation relief goes it's just miraculous.
I've benefited greatly from modern science and modern medicine putting my body back together. At 46 years of age -- which is kind of an elevated age for people involved in athletics -- I'm amazed at what my body can do. I have pretty tremendous results.
I'm just a science geek at heart. I'm really absolutely fascinated by scientific, technological, medical and sport science innovation. I'm fascinated by all of these people who are constantly working on these new strategies for improving physical performance in athletes and recovery time. Something that I'm itching to try out now is these cryo-chambers that we're seeing fighters enter into.
In one of the recent UFC Countdown shows we saw Anthony ‘Rumble' Johnson get into one. You step into what looks like a sun tanning booth, but your head is above it, and they use liquid nitrogen to get it down to like 300 degrees below zero, or something fucking insane, and you stay in there for about two minutes and then get out. It's like an ice bath times a million. I'm going to do it soon.
Eddie Bravo did it like four days a week before his match with Royler Gracie, and Brendan Schaub just started doing it. I turned him onto it through Eddie and he just went and did it. He got back to me right after he did it like, ‘Dude, this is amazing! You feel incredible when you get out of there.' He was super psyched. Eddie said the same thing. Eddie was pretty adamant about how you go in feeling like crap and you leave feeling like a million dollars. He'd go in after training all day and feeling sore and exhausted, then he'd go in and boom. Gone.
Steph Daniels: I know you've been a floater for a while, using an isolation tank. Pat Healy loves that as well, and it's been said that there is an intense harmony and tranquillity between your brain and your body. Has that been your experience?
Joe Rogan: This is going to sound crazy, but I think the tank has made me a better person. I think it makes me a better person every time I go in there. I have one in my basement, so I go in there almost every day.
Steph Daniels: How do you feel about the new commentary teams? There's Anik and Florian, and the British team of Dan Hardy and John Gooden. Do they ever come to you and get tips and tricks from you?
Joe Rogan: Kenny is fantastic. I know Jimmy Smith works for the competition, but he's one of my favorites. I think as far as the guys I get to watch goes, he's the best. I think Brian Stann is fantastic too, he did a really great job filling in for me one day. I listened to it and I was like, "this guy is excited about it, he's passionate, he's on point, he's articulate and he's very knowledgeable, and he's obviously got that deep knowledge of his own history to draw on." So I think he brings a good element.
Florian is so well versed in all aspects of MMA, and Dan Hardy is a really, really smart guy. I thought he was great the first time he did it, but I think he's going to get even better. Dan is a very enlightened cat. I think it's a good transition for him and it's maybe a blessing in disguise that he has that medical issue keeping him from competing. I think after doing it a couple of times he's already comfortable. He's already really good at it, and he's only going to get better and better.
There's a lot of really great talent out there. I'm happy, because I don't plan on doing it forever. It's nice to know that the UFC has a great group of guys that can do it once I stop.
Steph Daniels: Do you plan on stopping soon?
Joe Rogan: Well, I love MMA. I love watching MMA, I love training in Jiu-Jitsu and in kickboxing, and I love doing commentary... But I love a lot of things. I'm a guy who likes to do a lot of different things; I like doing martial arts, podcasts, stand-up comedy, making TV shows, hunting, archery, writing, drawing and I like to play pool. If I had a million lives, I'd have a million different professions.
There's a very famous Miyamoto Musashi quote. "Once you understand the way broadly, you can see it in all things." The idea is once you understand what excellence is all about, whether it's in painting, or carpentry or martial arts, that you see how that excellence manifests itself in any discipline. I think that all the different things that I do enhance all the other things that I do.
I don't know that I do some things enough, and if there's anything I think commentary takes away from, in a sense, it's my stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedy requires a lot of practice. You have to be constantly doing it. The more I do it, the looser and better I get and the tighter my sets are, and I hate to say it, the happier I get. If I had to choose between the two professions; say if the UFC said, "Hey, your comedy is fucked up, we can't have you representing the UFC and doing stand-up." There would be no choice; I would say without a doubt that I would choose stand-up comedy.
I could always be a fan and enjoy the fights the exact same amount, maybe even more, than I enjoy it when I'm calling the fights. One of the things people really enjoyed about the fight companion podcast was we were just having fun. We were having a couple of drinks, talking shit and laughing, joking and swearing. I can't do any of that when I'm doing the commentary. When I'm doing the commentary I don't even say "shit." I maintain -- at least for me -- a level of professionalism, though I know it's far less professional than most sports broadcasters. But I sort of get away with it because I've always done that joking style. The fact that I'm a stand-up comedian by trade gets me a little more slack too, but the reality is that in some sense, I'm suppressed, but that's the gig. You want to be a professional sports announcer? That's the gig.
You can't be "Joe Fuckin' Rogan" talking all kinds of crazy shit, because people aren't going to want to hear that. They're not tuning into the UFC to hear my personality and my quips and my swears, the way I normally talk. They're tuning it to hear someone do a job, and that job is to enhance the broadcast and the professional mixed martial arts fights.
I would like to see Jimmy Smith hired by the UFC. I know they tried to get him, but he was in the middle of a contract thing with Viacom.
I've been incredibly blessed and fortunate to call fights at the very highest level and do commentary for some of the greatest fights in the history of martial arts. I've been right there, cageside. That's a huge, huge, huge honor, so I don't want anyone to think in any way that I'm complaining. But it's not 100% me, you know? It's still me doing a job, and if there was one job that I had to step away from, unfortunately that would be the one.
Like I said, I think Kenny does a fantastic job, and I would like to see Jimmy Smith hired by the UFC. I know they tried to get him, but he was in the middle of a contract thing with Viacom. He was interested, though. I actually approached the UFC about hiring him. I said, "Look, this kid is fucking great." I don't know if the UFC guys watch Bellator, I assumed they didn't, so I came up to them like, "Jimmy Smith is fucking awesome. He's really good. The kid is very knowledgeable, he's a former fighter and BJJ black belt, and he loves the sport."
He and I have had long conversations, both on the podcast and when I run into him. We talk about all sorts of fights and historical fights. K1 fights, Pride fights, Jiu-Jitsu matches, this fight, that fight, what would happen if Lombard fought fucking Johny Hendricks... he's a huge, huge fan. I think the MMA world would be fine without me doing commentary.
Steph Daniels: I would respectfully disagree in that you're pretty much synonymous with MMA commentary. When people think of an MMA commentator, you are the very first person they think of.
Joe Rogan: I appreciate that, and it's not that I don't appreciate that people enjoy my commentary, I appreciate it very much. Who knows, maybe someday I'll just do a couple a year, but there's definitely going to come a time when I'm not going do it anymore.
Steph Daniels: But not anytime soon, right?
Joe Rogan: I don't know. I don't like working for people. I don't like having a schedule, especially as I get older and I start to realize that there's a lot of imposed ideas about what you're supposed to do with life that we've all sort of accepted. As I've gotten older I've started to challenge those ideas more and more. There's a bunch of those ideas I'd like to move away from as I get older.
I think I'm probably going to do less and less public things in the future, whether that's performing or entertainment, and just do more things that I find interesting, whatever they are. I like to challenge myself.
Steph Daniels: What about the podcast?
Joe Rogan: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, right now I love doing it, it's been a great source of education for me too. I've learned a lot and I feel incredibly privileged to have these conversations with all of these cool people, but I can definitely see a time in the future when I drop it back to once a week or once every couple of weeks. I see myself living on a mountain somewhere.
I like being around nature. I get into a different state of mind when I'm in a wilderness setting. I feel calmer. I feel better. I feel more in tune, and I think the way I constantly redline myself... I guess there's a lot of pressure. I don't think of it as a tremendous amount of pressure, because I know being an MMA commentator what real pressure is from seeing people prepare for fights and competing. I know from talking to people who have served overseas, so when I say it's a lot of pressure, I'm aware that pressure is very relative.
The pressure doesn't really bother me. The pressure of public speaking is almost non-existent. When the UFC rolls around and the cameras are on, and it's me and Mike Goldberg live from Las Vegas, my heart is at the exact same BPM as when I'm just sitting having lunch. I don't get nervous, because I'm not nervous in that I don't know what I'm talking about, or nervous that I'm going to screw something up, because I'm not going to. When I'm talking on something I'm incredibly passionate about, like the Barao vs. Dillashaw fight, that's a treat and a pleasure that I get to be the person who describes why this is so cool. I might get hyped up and my heart might go up a few BPM because I'm pumped, but it's not from nerves.
The only pressure that you feel at all is from the giant crowds, because a lot of times when you're going from the cage to the booth and back, people want to take pictures and they're yelling to take pictures, and I feel bad that I can't. That's the only pressure I feel when I'm there -- telling people that while I'm working I'm not supposed to take pictures -- that's the most ridiculous pressure, but that's the pressure I feel when I'm there.
That and the obligation I have to represent the hard-core fans, which is really what I represent. I mean I'm a professional broadcaster who works for the UFC, but really I represent the true hard-core mixed martial arts fans, the people who are like me. I just think about what I would want if there was a guy representing me. Whether that's a judging issue, or eye pokes, or the particular aspects of a person's style that are difficult to deal with, I go into depth on that so the person at home knows what that's like.
So I guess there's a lot of pressure in things I do, but that's not why I really like being in nature. Human beings have the senses we're aware of; hearing, vision, touch, smell, taste and all of these senses, but there's another thing we don't take into account, and that's all the energy that's around us. Whether that's the energy of a city, of traffic, of a building that everybody is working in... There's a certain ambiance, or a certain atmosphere, that affects you. When you're in the woods, you're in a totally different atmosphere. That atmosphere is so calming and peaceful. It just feels better. It feels better for my body and for my mind.
As I got older I've sort of changed my priorities. I mean I'm not going to become the Unabomber and detach myself from civilization by any stretch of the imagination, but I like being in nature. I don't like being in it for any sort of frivolous, silly fuckin' pseudo-poetry way, I like it because of the real, dramatic effects it has on my mind, my body and even my thoughts. Thoughts come out better when I'm in a place like that. That's where I'm going to wind up.
Steph Daniels: Are you going to be doing stuff like climbing Everest? What do you think of that type of challenge?
Joe Rogan: Nah, it's not like when you get there there's something waiting for you. It's stupid, it's a fuckin' dumb way to risk your life. I think [it's good] if you want a challenge, a real challenge, like mixed martial arts or running an ultra marathon or whatever you do to challenge yourself, but I don't think climbing Everest is a challenge. I think it's a very difficult thing to do that doesn't have a reward.
When you go to nature, you better respect the fuck out of it and prepare for the challenges it presents you.
People like to do difficult things because with most difficult things, there's a reward. Like, it's really hard to start your own business, but if you pull it off, you work for yourself now. You don't have a boss anymore, holy shit, you did it! When you can do something like that, and do something difficult that you get a reward from, people have in their head this equation that difficult=reward, but sometimes things are just difficult with no reward.
I'm not into climbing Everest. The only way I would climb Everest is... I wouldn't. I mean if all the animals you could eat lived on Everest, maybe I would think about climbing it to go hunting, but they're not. Deer are absolutely delicious, and they're everywhere, but they're not on Everest. I love nature, but I don't suffer from any illusions or delusions that it's me against nature. When you go to nature, you better respect the fuck out of it and prepare for the challenges it presents you. You have to treat it with a deep respect and get out of it without littering or leaving behind any of your human-created bullshit and just come out of it with an experience.
I know that some people must get that experience when they climb Everest, I understand that, but to me there's a certain amount of futility in just climbing to the top. So what? I get it, it's hard to do, whatever; to me it just seems ridiculous. I do appreciate people that like to explore and hike and go out there, because I know that there's a real reward from that, but it's very intangible and hard to describe to people who stay in cities their entire life and pooh-pooh the idea of there being any benefit whatsoever of there going into nature, but there are very real benefits.
Steph Daniels: At Metamoris we saw some ugly things happen, despite the beautiful performance between Royler and Eddie. What's your take on that, and would there be a scenario where you would consider competing in a one-time BJJ match?
Joe Rogan: Most likely, no. Like I said, I'm just getting over this back injury, I had a bulging disc impinging on my nerves, but I have Regenokine in my neck to clear up those issues. I have no numbness or pain anymore. I'm back at full strength and lifting very heavy kettle bells and doing some great workouts. I still have a little pain in the middle of my back that I'm dealing with; I just went through a second series of Regenokine shots which are clearing that up. It'll probably never be 100%, but it's enough that I can do a lot of very strenuous physical activity, so I'll be going back to Jiu-Jitsu really soon, like within the next couple of months.
But I don't have any desire to compete right now. That might change. I could get back to rolling, really enjoy it and say, "You know what? I'm 46 and my body works pretty fuckin' good right now, so why don't I just get in there, win lose or draw, and have a good time?" If I did it, I would probably just enter a tournament. I don't think I would want to do some sort of celebrity thing against somebody. What's the benefit of that? If I'm going to compete, I would just compete. I'd just find some other old fucks like me [laughs].
Steph Daniels: Anthony Bourdain said something like that, too. He said he would like to find some age-appropriate BJJ competition to enter, because his wife has given him the BJJ bug.
Joe Rogan: I love that guy. I ran into him recently at a UFC event. He was with his wife -- who is a huge UFC fan -- and we had some cool conversations about training and him doing Jiu-Jitsu. It's really interesting, even fascinating, because he was a cigarette smoker forever until his kid was born and he used to be a heroin addict. Now the guy is obsessed with Jiu-Jitsu. I love it!
Steph Daniels: Let's talk about this picture you posted. It's a 1993 picture of you in phenomenal shape, looking like a beast. Then there's another, recent picture of you in a Bang Ludwig shirt, and you still look very formidable. These two guys are similar, yet so different. If you could go back in time and tell young Joe Rogan one piece of advice, what would it be?
Here's the best advice; don't be a cunt. Be nice to people.Joe Rogan at age 23. (Courtesy of Joe Rogan)
Joe Rogan: I wouldn't tell me shit. I'd make me figure it out on my own. I don't think anybody can tell you shit, you have to figure it out. You have to live. To anybody that wants advice, here's some advice. Here's the best advice; don't be a cunt. Be nice to people. Be nice to people and do what you really want to do in this life.
I've been very fortunate that I've followed that as much as possible. I haven't always done what I wanted to do in life, and I haven't always been nice, but I've tried to be nice as much as possible, and as I've gotten older I've become much better at it. I think that being a nice person, cultivating a great group of friends and spreading positive vibes is what I'm most proud of. That's one of the things I love that I've been able to achieve doing this podcast. I've been able to sort of impart a little bit of my philosophy to people.
The podcast isn't just entertaining -- though I appreciate that people are entertained by it -- it also gives people a chance to see my approach to living, and that rubs off. [It's important] to surround yourself with other cool people that are really good at things and are inspiring, and all of my friends are inspiring in one way or another. Whether they inspire me to be funny like Joey Diaz, or they inspire me to be better at Jiu-Jitsu like Eddie Bravo, or to look at things in a different way, like Duncan Trussell.
I think surrounding yourself with bad motherfuckers is one of the best things you could ever do. You know that expression, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong fucking room?" Well, I don't think "fucking" was in the original quote, I just threw that in there, but I adhere to that all of the time. I try to surround myself with interesting, fun, great people. The podcast has been a huge agent of mental growth and development. I've learned so much in the four years that I've done this goddamn podcast. It's really changed me as a person. It has enlightened me, it has gotten me to explore subjects I might never have been able to explore before, and I've managed to have uninterrupted conversations with people for hours at a time, to pick the brains of these brilliant folks, which I never would have had the chance to do before.
How am I going to get a person like Dr. Rhonda Patrick to sit with me and explain nutrition and science for three hours, unless I was paying her? "Please give me this information you've worked so hard for your whole life to gather, for free?" It's hard to get a conversation like that unless you have a podcast. In that sense, the podcast has been a huge, huge benefit to me. Not just to the people who listen, but to me as well. If I could go back and talk to me as a young man, I would just say, "get your shit together, bitch. Try to be nice."
There's always going to be goals that you want to reach. There's always going to be metaphoric mountains that you want to climb and things that you want to do. Do those things, but even more importantly, be nice. Be nice to people. Enjoy your time, manage your stress levels well and realize that we're all in this together.
My friend Doug Stanhope and I had a conversation last night about a friend we have who is a comic, but he's kind of a douchebag. He's having a bit of success and along the way he's kind of flaunting that success and alienating folks. He has this kind of "fuck the world" attitude, and we were both saying how that's completely missing the point. Here you are being successful, but instead of bringing other people in and enjoying it with other people, and using that success to help your friends, he's doing the exact opposite. When you're alone... If you're successful and lonely, it's no better than being unsuccessful and lonely. It's the same feeling, and it sucks. If you're willfully separating yourself from folks and pushing people away because you think you're cooler than them, you've missed the whole fucking point.
There's no "cool." Even the coolest person ever is just a fucking person. You're going to live, and you're going to die. It might be cool to experience that person and be around that person. It might be an interesting blip to witness. But the reality is there will be billions after you, and one day the sun will stop giving light to the Earth, it will supernova and burn out everything in the solar system, and the dust from that exploding start will one day, billions of years from now, become other carbon-based life forms. That's your position in the universe. You are one miniscule piece of a never-ending cycle. In fact, you're not even a piece. You're just a holder for billions and billions of other pieces. Whether that's organic components, living organisms inside your body, bacteria or whatever it is, you're just part of the soup of the universe, so just try to enjoy what's good about it.
You are one miniscule piece of a never-ending cycle, so just try to enjoy what's good about it.
What makes us all feel good is having fun with friends. It's when we're laughing, when we're accomplishing difficult goals and when we're creating things. When you create something, you give people enjoyment. You make people feel better. When I read a good article, I feel good. When I say, "hey man, that fucking article was great," that makes the writer feel great, and I feel good that they feel good. That's what life is about.
Life is about figuring out a way to spread as much positive energy as you can. Not in some sort of a hippy-dippy bullshit yoga class way, where someone is really just trying to fuck their students, I mean spread positive energy in the sense of doing things that people enjoy and inspiring people to do things that they'll enjoy, or you inspire people to improve their lives. We all become part of this excellent cycle of spreading love, energy and enthusiasm, and the more of that you can have in your life, the better your life is going to be. The less of that you have in your life, the more your life is going to be a fucking mess.
When you have a positive life, and you surround yourself with a bunch of excellent people, and by chance or circumstance you stumble into someone who is fucking complaining all of the time, and their friends are all assholes, and their job sucks, and you go, "whoa, look at this. I just walked into a gate of Hell. This person lives in Hell. They live during the same time period as me with all the same technological innovations -- but because of their choices and the choices of people around them, and their unfortunate experiences, circumstances and genetics -- they're fucked." The more you can gravitate away from that sort of environment, and the more you can cultivate a positive environment, the better your life will be.
That's something people sort of pass over when they give you advice on how to live life. Everybody wants to tell you to show up and put in the work! That's true, but you know what else is true? It won't mean shit unless you're nice. It won't mean shit unless people like you. It won't mean shit unless you have a group of friends. It won't mean shit unless you have loved ones that you care about, and people whose lives you care about. If you don't have that in your life, then your life is empty. That's the reality.
You hear talk about rich people who live empty, shallow lives. Maybe that's the case, or maybe they're way more rewarded and happy than you, that's possible too. Or maybe they're richer than you, but they're fucking miserable because you figured out how to have friends; that's possible too. We concentrate on the difficult aspects like financial success, and we look at that as being the end-all, be-all, and then people sort of rightly and correctly rally against that and talk about how a lot of rich people are very upset. That's true, but a lot of poor people are upset too, and it's not just a money thing. It's an applied consciousness thing. It's a how you focus your energy thing, and we're sort of taught only one tiny slice of the big pie of life, and that tiny slice is how to become successful financially.
Nobody is teaching anybody in school how to apply your thoughts in everyday situations in the world. Nobody is teaching anybody how to be a kinder person and bring more positivity into your life, how to surround yourself with a bunch of people who are equally enthusiastic and supportive and how beneficial and energizing that can be. If I had to give any advice, it would be that there is a lot going on here. It's not just about being a successful person, because success is not measured only in a bank account. But your bank account isn't excluded either. If you're broke and starving, and you can't feed your kids, but you're like, "hey, I'm happy!" Well, you're fucking up, man! We live in a society and you have to get that aspect of your life together too, bitch.
Steph Daniels: What's the most significant memory you have from high school?
Joe Rogan: I remember how horny I was, oh my God. That was probably number one. I remember my girlfriend was essentially a drug dealer; I was like, "I've got to get my fix. I've got to find this bitch." [Laughs]. There was confusion, obviously, and worrying about the future. I was always worried about the future. I was absolutely concerned about being a loser. That was the big one for me.
I was really terrified about being a loser. That was my number-one fear in life when I was a young man, even though I had achieved success in martial arts fairly early in life. [But] that definitely helped me. It gave me not just confidence, but also a different perspective of myself and what I was capable of. I knew that I could do something I was terrified of and that was really difficult, and that I could excel at it. It was a big deal for me to learn that I could do those things, but I still wasn't completely convinced that would translate into other aspects of my life yet. I didn't know that being really good at martial arts would establish the foundation and discipline of focus that would help me for the rest of my life.
I didn't totally have that lesson learned when I was 21. I didn't know how beneficial my martial arts training would be. I think martial arts really made me who I am, without a doubt. I do not think I would have ever become who I am if I didn't learn martial arts at a very early age. I think the best decision I ever made in my entire life was to immerse myself in something so incredibly difficult and incredibly illuminating about my character and my flaws, and my discipline, focus and strengths. It also taught me how to enhance those strengths and improve upon them. In the same way that you improve your cardio or your physical strength, you also improve upon your focus, your will and your determination.
I remember when I was in high school that I hadn't really figured all of that out yet, so I was really scared of the future. I just didn't know... I thought I was going to be a loser. I went to high school in Newton, Massachusetts, and one of the great benefits of Newton is people there work really hard. There is a lot of people who take pride in the fact that they get shit done. The winters are cold as fuck there and you have you batten down the hatches. You have to shovel snow in the winter and dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s, because if you didn't back when those cities were first established, people fucking froze to death. That sort of attitude carried over generation to generation in Massachusetts. There is more discipline and more hard workers in Massachusetts than I think anywhere else I've ever been in my life. I think the weather plays a big factor in that.
I grew up in a very strongly academic place. Newton had a lot of very smart people and people would send their kids to the school I went to because it was such a good school, and I wasn't doing very well in schools. I was super ADD, whatever the fuck that means; I don't even know if that's real. The more I read about ADD and ADHD, it's like... Here's the deal; school is boring as fuck, alright? Yeah, I didn't pay attention to boring-as-fuck shit, what a shocker. I wasn't able to take my brain and make it focus on things that sucked. Why? Because the world was filled with tits, alright? I was 16 years old and tits were everywhere, and so were girls, cars and martial arts. So, I would be involved in all of that, then I'd have to pay attention to math and it was boring as fuck.
Because the world was filled with tits, alright? Tits were everywhere, and so were girls, cars and martial arts.
So they'd tell you that you're ADD, "Oh you're going to have problems unless you become a square peg, because this town only has square holes, Mr. Rogan." Well my attitude was that I was fucked. I was trying to figure out how I could become that kind of disciplined person that I admired, who got up every morning to go to a job that sucked. I really didn't realize that in some way it was a blessing in disguise, because it forced me to seek out an alternative way to live my life, and that alternative way was sort of highlighted by martial arts.
Steph Daniels: If you can think of toys that you played with as a kid that aren't around for kids today, which ones come to mind?
Joe Rogan: I definitely think that kids have way cooler toys today. There's a yin and a yang, a give and a take to the world, and there's something we got out of having those cool toys that forced you to use your imagination. I think our imaginations were in a little better shape because of stuff like that; when you had to go outside and pretend that you were playing cowboys and Indians, there was definitely some benefit to using your imagination in that way.
Steph Daniels: Do you think that today's society kind of guides children to stay inside now instead of going outside?
Joe Rogan: I think it's a parental choice, and it's a choice based on a lot of different things; how much time you have to take your kids places, what your neighborhood is like, what the environment is like... I take my kids out all of the time. My kids play outside every day.
There are also some studies that have shown that video games can accelerate certain cognitive functions in people, which is interesting. I think it's all about balance. There's nothing wrong with playing a little bit of Xbox every now and again, but I think there's something wrong with living your entire life indoors. If there's nothing wrong with you physically and you can go outside, then you should probably fuckin' go outside. Outside is pretty awesome; there's a lot of cool shit out there. But I don't think there's anything wrong with watching a movie, or sitting at home and reading a book. It's about balance. I mean, if you're one of those knuckleheads that's playing Xbox for 20 hours a day, I just don't think that's good for you.
Steph Daniels: What was the last good movie you saw, and what's the next movie you're looking forward to seeing?
Joe Rogan: Captain America was okay, in sort of a stupid way. It was fun. I really enjoyed the Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug. I'm looking forward to Godzilla.
Steph Daniels: Do you have any kind of bucket list? Just things that you check off that you want to do? If you do, what are some things still on that list?
Joe Rogan: Um... no [laughs]. There's a lot of things that I do, and I enjoy all of them, and I'd like to continue to do things that I enjoy. I'm enjoying things and I'm living my life having fun as much as possible. If I had something like that, something that I really wanted to do, I would actively be trying to do it. If I find something cool, and it's possible to be involved in it in some way, I get involved. Whether that's taking a lesson or reading up on it, whatever it is, if I find something I enjoy I try to spend as much time doing it as I can. I get fully immersed in it.
Archery is my latest one. I really love archery. I'm absolutely fascinated by it and I find it very relaxing, and in some weird way, cleansing. It's so difficult, because when you're shooting a bow you can't think of anything other than that shot. When you're measuring something, lining it up and aiming, everything has to be still. You have to be thinking about nothing but the shot itself and all of your mechanics have to be in order. There can't be any unnecessary movements, because you'll miss.
So there's this Zen moment that happens during the shot when you pull the bow back, and you're looking through the sight with everything locked up and you put the pin right on the target, and then you release that arrow and it goes right into the spot you're aiming for... It's not easy to do, especially when you're shooting at 30, 40, 50 yards; it becomes increasingly more difficult to get that arrow to fly straight. There's something in that concentration and that focus that is oddly cleansing, and I really enjoy that very much. This is a recent thing with me, maybe in the last four or five months, but if you come over to my office I have boxes upon boxes of arrows and different kinds of bows and equipment laying around.
Steph Daniels: Can you give some more details about it? What kind of bows are you shooting, what draw weight do you use, that kind of thing?
Joe Rogan: I'm currently just shooting compound bows, but I also have a recurve bow on order from Hoyt. Hoyt is the company that makes my bows. There are a lot of big-name compound bow and archery companies that make great products, and all of the high-end bows are pretty excellent these days. It's a great time to get into archery because they're making these bows very smooth and they shoot very quickly, with the arrows going at a high rate of feet-per-second.
If anything, I'm an extremist. I'm an extremist in pretty much everything I do, and I have a bit of meathead in me as well. So my bow is a 90 lbs. draw weight and I mock my friends that come over and can't pull it back, because most of them can't. I have a 50-lbs. bow, a 60-lbs. bow, a 70-lbs. bow and an 80-lbs. bow as well.
What I'm trying to do by the end of 2014 is live only off of wild game meat.
Just now I'm practicing like crazy with targets, but I'm definitely going to go hunting with it. I will have shot many, many thousands of arrows at targets before I ever shoot at an animal. I shoot every day. I shoot more than 150 arrows every day. I have an archery range set up in my house. I'm going to use my 90-lbs. bow to hunt bears next month up in Canada. I'm going with my friend Cameron Hanes. I'll definitely be eating the bear; I don't shoot anything I don't eat. I will never trophy hunt. Black bears are delicious, I've actually had it before and it tastes great. There will be no shooting of anything I don't plan on eating. The only way I would shoot something I'm not going to eat is if I had to shoot something to get off my property if it was trying to kill my chickens or something.
What I'm trying to do by the end of 2014 is live only off of wild game meat. Except of course when I'm on the road and I have to eat at the restaurant, but everything I eat in my house, I want it to be something that I've killed. I think it's healthier and better for you, and it's a more honest sort of relationship with your food, and I think those things are very important. Right now in my freezer I have two deer and a pig, so most of what I eat on a day to day basis is things that I have killed.
Steph Daniels: Is there anything "extreme" that you're interested in doing?
Joe Rogan: Nah, I think that kind of thing is an empty thrill. I mean I'm not saying I would never skydive, but it's really kind of an empty thrill. The thrill is, "oh my God, I might die!" But if it's done right you know you're not going to die, so it's a weird thing. I'm sure it's fun to be freefalling, and I'm sure it's fun to be floating around with a parachute above you, but it's kind of fuckin' silly. Like those fuckin' wingsuit guys? That looks awesome. It looks so cool, but what a bunch of nuts.
I mean look, if people like doing it, I'm not taking anything away from that. Do whatever you want to do. But I would way rather do a Jiu-Jitsu tournament. That seems to me like a thrill that's a real thing that seems much more fascinating; the challenge and the danger of it is very real. You're actually competing against another person who is an expert and your senses are heightened. You're involved in extreme competition, and that's interesting to me, but not jumping off of a fuckin' building. That's not interesting to me.
Steph Daniels: We've seen some positives and some negatives from social media. I think it gives voice to a million ugly things, but it also kind of forces people to play nice a little bit. Give me your take on the social media boom.
Joe Rogan: I think what we're seeing with social media is this trend that exists throughout our culture, which is moving in a direction of dissolving boundaries between people and information. Folks are calling it a lack of privacy, and that's true, but what does that mean? It also means that information is flowing more freely. That information used to be private, like Donald Sterling telling his girlfriend, "don't take picture of black guys," that kind of shit. A lot of people look at that and talk about how we're denying him his privacy. Well yeah, that's going to go away. Privacy is going to go away and there's not going to be any secrets within the next 10 or 20 years.
Everything you do, every day all day is going to be on display for the world. In fact, I think your very thoughts themselves are going to be on display. I think what we're looking at right now as we're exchanging photos and sending videos to each other through Instagram and twitter and our cellphones, we're looking at one step in this distribution of information process. The analogy would be using the original camera, where they had to stand there and throw that big hood over themselves, and the big flashbulb would go off while everybody stood still, and today you can press burst on your phone and take 30 pictures in a row.
We live in strange times when it comes to technological innovation that we enjoy on a day to day basis. If you extrapolate what we have now into the future -- and I see this in a lot of articles I get sent on Twitter -- there's a lot of work being done by people way smarter than you or I to figure out a way to send thoughts from one person to another through a direct neural interface. The prediction is that in the future you're going to be able to access the contents of each other's minds instantaneously. You won't have to try to talk to someone and understand what they're saying and where they're coming from, you'll be able to look into someone's brain and see what the fuck they're thinking. That's coming.
Steph Daniels: Do you think it'll come to a point where we are all one collective consciousness?
Joe Rogan: Yes. I think the "we are all one" thing, the hippy mantra, will happen. We will become all one, but I don't think we're going to get there through just meditation, I think we're going to become one through technology. I think our minds and technology together are going to create something that combines the two, because our minds are the very reason we have refrigerators, phones and internet connections. All of that stuff comes from the imagination; it was all manifested through the creative ideas that bounce around inside your mind. That same mind is the mind that always has this utopian concept of the one universal consciousness.
I think that it sort of recognizes, in some sort of a vague way, that in the future -- if you extrapolate from what's going on -- some of us recognize that that's what is coming. What is coming is some sort of undeniable connection between all people, all information and all ideas; essentially all thoughts. I think what we're seeing with social media is one step in this unstoppable process, this exponentially increasing-in-complexity process. It's constantly getting deeper and stronger, and the boundaries between people and information are dissolving at a rate we have never seen before.
Within our lifetimes we are going to see some paradigm-changing technology that completely redefines how human beings communicate.
I think that within our lifetimes we are going to see some paradigm-changing technology that completely redefines how human beings access information, exchange information and communicate with each other, and it will be just as mind-blowing to us as the internet was in the 1990s when it became popular. We just haven't seen whatever this new technology is yet. Barring some cataclysmic disaster like an asteroid or nuclear war, we're going to come up with this technology.
People will say, "Oh the world is going to change, everything is going to change." Everything always changes. That's just the way of the world. Do you think cavemen were like, "oh these fucking assholes building buildings, I remember back in the old days when we lived in caves." Yeah, they did that. People were upset when people made books, people were crying that it was going to be the end of civilization.
I think that in this inevitable change we're going to reach a deeper understanding of who we really are and what we're really capable of. In many ways we're going to reach a deeper understanding of what our flaws are; our flaws as a community, our flaws as a culture, our flaws as a civilization. We'll be able to cut through the bullshit better when we know exactly what is going on. There will be an adjustment period where people are like, "fuck, there are no secrets," but once we realize everybody has the same kind of bullshit, we'll be fine. I really think we'll be fine.
I think everyone is scared of this dissolving of boundaries and elimination of secrets, but I think ultimately it's going to be a good thing, and it's going to provide us with more information and more accountability. It's going to be way more difficult for people who are running these gigantic global corporations that are fucking over these third-world countries and stealing their resources. It's going to be way more difficult to pull shit like that off, and people are going to demand more ethical corporations and more ethical politicians.
Steph Daniels: Is there someone out there you haven't had on the podcast that you would love to have on, like Arnold Schwarzenegger or a politician, anyone at all that strikes your interest?
Joe Rogan: I would love to have Arnold Schwarzenegger on. I would love to have a three-hour conversation with Obama, too. I would love to talk to Al Gore and find out what the fuck is really going on with climate change and ask him how much money he's made from it. I would like to talk to Colin Powell off the record and find out what the fuck really happened after September 11th.
Did you ever see the George W. Bush movie, W.? I was watching it, and they have the fake Colin Powell, and the fake Dick Cheney, and I hate that they put these words into these people's mouths. We don't know what the fuck was really said there and then. So much of it is just fiction, and I would love to know the reality of it all. Colin Powell would never do it on the record, but I would love to talk to a guy like that, a guy who was really involved in all the decisions involved in going to war.
Steph Daniels: Last question; if you could go back in history with historical figures and have them on your podcast, who would it be? Give me your top three.
Joe Rogan: Wow, that's a good question. I've never really thought about that. Genghis Khan for sure. Ever since I started listening to Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" and his excellent "Wrath of the Khan" series, which is an amazing five-part series on Genghis Khan and the rise of the Mongols, I've been fascinated by him. How could you not be fascinated by a guy who killed 11% of the population of the earth while he was here? He killed over a million people and left stacks of bodies so high they looked like snow covered mounds.
I think our ideas of what life was like in 1200 AD... You can't even wrap your head around it. You try to, but there's no way you can know what was going on during that era. It's just too hard to understand. It's too hard to go back in time 800 years in your brain and do it justice. You just can't.
I'd also choose George Washington. I'd love to communicate with a guy who was at the beginning. He was the first official president of the greatest experiment in government that the world has ever seen. This incredible rebellion from the European empires and coming over to this new place and interacting with all of the Native Americans -- sometimes to horrible results -- and trying to establish a new civilization. It's just an incredibly fascinating time in history. The original establishment of the United States of America is probably going to go down in history as one of the most intense and unprecedented events.
What other nation is like the United States, like ever? In recorded history? A bunch of people just decided to move to this one spot from all over the world and becoming integrated with very little knowledge, no videos to watch, no pictures to look at, everyone just kind of went on this word of mouth and got on a boat for months to get across a fucking ocean. They done this with their family because they hoped that on the other side was what everyone had been promising; a better world. Once they got there they rewrote these laws, changed the tax structure, and changed how government work and done this thing called representative government with presidents and elections. No one had ever done that before, this was all completely new stuff.
Up until the United States came along, most of the way the world was run was through force. Then the US decided to have this new thing where people could vote. It really was a truly unprecedented experiment in government and I would have loved to see what it was like when they were trying to establish the parameters and decide how the government should be set up and structured. I would love to hear what they describe as the pitfalls and what they were trying to achieve. We have all of these ideas, some of it based on their writings and some of it based on what historians know about the actual events, but man [it's not the same].
The third person would be JFK, I think. I think that JFK might be the last real president our nation will ever experience. I don't know if we're going to get any presidents from here on out, you know? I think from here on out we're getting puppets. We should have learned that from Obama and from Bush. I think unless our system gets overhauled so you don't have the massive influence that money has right now... Money has this incredible influence on politics and corporations are able to donate massive amounts of money, and they're not doing it because they love freedom. They're doing it because they get a return on their investment, and I think unless that changes we're just going to continue to see puppets, and it's a shame. I think Kennedy was the last guy who wasn't like that, and that's probably why he was killed. I think everyone since then has sort of followed the plan, and I would love to talk to him.
I'd love to talk to Martin Luther King Jr. too, to see what it was like to be at the forefront of the civil rights revolution. He was at a time in history that was 100 years removed from the abolition of slavery, and yet there were still segregated bathrooms and water fountains, and RosaPparks was still getting arrested for sitting in the front of the bus. It was just a dark, dark time in human history, and it wasn't so long ago. Really there are too many people to narrow it down to 1 or 2 or 3 or 10, we could keep going on and on about historical people.
You can follow Joe via his Twitter account, @JoeRogan