Interview with Hywel Teague: Editor of Fighters Only and the Original Part Time Grappler - Part two

Yesterday I presented to you the first half of my interview with Mr Hywel Teague, the editor of Fighters Only - the UK's leading MMA and lifestyle magazine. I knew a lot of people would be interested in what someone in Hywel's shoes has to say (both due to his position but also his experience in the sport and the fact that he still fits it around a hectically busy schedule) but I wasn't really ready for the massive influx of messages here, on Facebook and via emails.

I was actually planning on posting the 2nd half on Monday but I suppose my exclusive footage of Rickson Gracie fighting Fedor will just have to wait (Just joking! Who'd want to see that?!)

Ladies and Gents, here is part 2 of my interview with Mr Hywel Teague - The Original Part Time Grappler!

What is the greatest thrill you have got out of practicing your sport?
I don’t do it for the thrill – I do it for the deep satisfaction it can provide. The thrill of tapping somebody out, of pulling off a flash move, or of winning a competition – that kind of thrill fades before you know it.

For me, the journey is about the satisfaction you get from knowing that your game is improving, your health and fitness is better as result of taking regular exercise, and most importantly, the self-confidence. Jiu-jitsu is a great leveller. I’ve been tested in many ways on the mat, and I know I can handle a lot more than I might otherwise have believed. You learn a lot about your capabilities and resolve when you’ve got a 200lb meathead trying to smash pass through your guard.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)
1: Don’t spare time – make time. I read a great interview with Bruno Fernandes – he’s a 31-year-old BJJ black belt, a doctor, speaks four languages... all in all, a terrific over-achiever – and he said, “If you can’t spare one hour of your day to do something you love, there really is something wrong in your life”. Nobody else is going to give you that time, so make it. We’ve all got 24 hours in the day, it’s up to you how you use them.

2: Recognise the importance of scheduling activity into your life, and the rest will fit around it. I stay active for many reasons – health, fitness, stress relief, enjoyment – and I particularly notice a drop in my mood, temperament and performance in work if I haven’t exercised. For me, getting some form of exercise is like eating breakfast or taking a shower – it’s something you do because you have to, you don’t elect to.

3: Say no to things that aren’t as important as you’d like to think they are. This mostly applies to work demands, but can apply to expectations of friends or family, too. If your boss tries to drop a last minute bunch of work on you or routinely expects you to work late and miss the gym, politely say no – don’t allow your work to encroach upon your personal time. If family or friends try to guilt you into missing the gym, be firm with them and make them realise how important it is to you. The gym should never get in the way of our relationships with others, but at the same time why should we allow relationships to unreasonably dictate what we can and can’t do with our time?

4: Get in, get it done, get out. The gym is a great social hub for many and I love the atmosphere of being in the gym, but it’s easy to waste most of a day there or spend hours chit-chatting when you could get in, get the work done, and get out. Shorter workouts, structured sessions, not simply doing endless rounds because the mat is free – use your time wisely and don’t allow exercise to encroach upon time you could spend doing other stuff.

5: Go with the flow. It’s all well and good to have an idea or a weekly plan of how many technical, sparring and strength and conditioning sessions you’re going to have, but other factors invariably come into play. Don’t get hung up on missing a session or switching things up. Time management for me doesn’t mean sticking to a military schedule – it means managing your time effectively, so if you get to the gym and you’re too tired to train, should you waste your time by doing so or would you be better off resting or doing something else?

Now let's balance that with what you consider the top time-thieves.
Internet, TV, and work, work, work. All three should be carefully controlled so as not to get in the way of getting stuff done.

You are the original inspiration to the PTG concept. Do you remember a turning point in your training that lead you to realise you are a PTG?
Ha, thanks! It’s nice to know I had an influence in creating this awesome website. I’ve always known I was only ever going to be a part-time grappler. I never had any illusions of an athletic career, even on a small scale – I started late, wasn’t that good for a long time, and haven’t got the right combination of mentality or athleticism to be a competitor. I’ve always sought to fit my grappling into and around my life, rather than the other way around, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Not all of us can be Mundial winners or ADCC champs.

Do you have any regrets?
I wish I’d paid more attention to correct injury management, rehab and recovery earlier in my career. There is an endemic macho culture in combat sports which prevent people from listening to their bodies and properly looking after themselves. I’ve got a fair amount of wear and tear on my body and it threatens my involvement with the sport, so it’s now a big priority for me. If I’d been a bit more clued up and open minded a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t be in quite such bad shape.

Finally, why do you train? What drives you?
I could wax lyrical about the Zen-like nature of rolling, about how day-to-day problems melt away in the flow state of exercise. I could describe the personal journey of self-discovery, but there is a very simple answer:

I do it because I enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed this my friends and my sincere thanks go to my friend Hywel for taking a few moments from his ultra busy schedule to give us this interview.

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