BJJ / Grappling Interview: Luta Fightwear and Fight For Peace: Mr Fergus Dullaghan Part 1

As I mentioned in an earlier post the Part Time Grappler blog has had the great pleasure to interview a representative for LUTA Fightwear (who are sponsoring our upcoming seminar with former UFC heavyweight champion Mr Frank Mir down at Fight Fit Manchester, Manchester’s premium BJJ and MMA gym) and the global charity Fight For Peace, Mr Fergus Dullaghan. I got my interview questions answered over emails from Fergus but I was so excited by what he had to say that I followed them up with a phone call and man does he have some stories! Here is the first part of the interview. I hope you enjoy it.

Part Time Interview

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself? (Name, Age, where you are from)

Hi. My name is Fergus Dullaghan, I've just turned 30 and I'm currently splitting my time between Chelmsford in Essex and Geneva in Switzerland.

Are you currently working / studying? Is that Full time / Part time?

I work in and around martial arts full-time but in various guises; I am the Fight Ambassador Manager for LUTA clothing, I write freelance for several martial arts magazines (like Fighting Fit, Martial Arts Illustrated, Train Hard Fight Easy and others). Additionally I run a training blog ( and I'm also doing some other martial arts-based translation and writing projects.

You also set aside time to practice a sport. Which sport(s)?

Judo mostly, but also some BJJ and submission wrestling. Every now and then I do some striking - I used to do a lot as a kid (Karate/kickboxing/savate and Wing Tsun) - but I don't have the time to take it seriously now, so I just do it occasionally for fun.

How long have you done that?

I started judo when I was 4 years old (so that's 26 years of martial arts!) and both my parents were black belts. I took up Karate when I was eleven or twelve and stopped judo at the same time as the only club near me was a junior one and I was already getting a bit too big for the other kids. I continued with Karate until I was about 17, by which time I was also toying with Kickboxing as well. Then one night I got attacked by three guys when walking home. My first instinct was to throw them. At that point I decided that if after five or six years of striking I was going to try to throw people for self defence anyway, then I might as well get good at it. So when I got to university in Bangor I joined the judo club there with Steve Clarke (5th dan) and eventually under his guidance I went on to become a full-time elite judo athlete (2006 – 8) and member of the Welsh national team training up to 6hrs per day, 6 days per week.

Do you follow any special diet? Do you use any dietary supplements?

Oh man! If I'm honest that is my personal weakness. I'm getting more exact about my diet now as you can't get away with eating badly once you pass your mid-twenties. If I was to offer one piece of advice to teenage fighters it would be to get out in the kitchen with your mum and learn how to cook while you still can! - I'm just about to bring in a nutritionist so hopefully if you ask me again in a year's time I'll be a fount of wisdom on the subject!

(Fergus and I agreed that now that we are into our thirties, our focus has shifted from getting bigger, faster and stronger to what food and supplements will help us recover faster and better between sessions)

How do you manage to fit your training around work, study and family time?

Well, this is a really interesting question and it's exactly what my blog is about. I think it's a problem that everyone faces. When I was a full-time athlete, we would train up to six hours a day, six days a week. How could I hope to remain competitive with people who are doing that once I started working full-time? At first it sounded impossible but I am managing (just about!!). I think you just need to become very scientific in your approach, and most importantly of all you have to be incredibly organised. This is true no matter what level you are competing at - if you want to progress then you need to train smart. As a result, I also think that it's worth paying a little bit more for better knowledge (hence the nutritionist). This is because once you are working and have a family you don't have time to waste on things that "might" work. There is an overwhelming amount of free knowledge available on the internet, but you need someone who can interpret it all for you, someone who can filter out the crap and structure all these little bits of info into a coherent sports specific package which is tailored just for you. Every session needs to be efficient and effective, but most importantly though it needs to be enjoyable! Because if you don't enjoy it, you won't stick to it!

(Here, Fergus gave me such an amazing example of how specific your training needs to be to yield more efficient training sessions. You’re a shorter judoka (or BJJ player) and you want to improve your bench press but you, as a judo fighter, want your newfound strength to translate into judo strength on the mat. If you know that for your weight category you will be facing players taller than you, your time working the bench press is better spend working on incline benches to translate better on the tatami! That example just blew my mind!

Another example came from when Fergus was training in Brazil and Royler Gracie suggested that he focused the time he had (6weeks) on improving his weaknesses by 20-25% as opposed to improving his strengths by no more than 10%. That’s over twice the improvement in the same time period)

 ----end of part 1---------

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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