Alex the boy Owen MMA Gym Owner interview for Enso

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Alex the boy owen

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Alex, thank you very much for doing an interview today for our martial art of the month, MMA.

Could we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself and your background and how and when you started MMA.

Alex the boy Owen

: My name is Alex Owen, I started MMA a long time ago now, I would have been about 19 years old. It was kind of a chance, it was the same old same old, I watched UFC Royce Gracie and decided I wanted to do Jiu Jitsu. I hunted out a traditional Jiu Jitsu club and started training with them, realised it wasn’t Brazilian Jiu Jitsu pretty quickly, and luckily for me a guy called Ollie Ellis came back from Australia. He had been training with Sydney Smart, he was ranked number one heavy weight in Japan Shuto.

So I trained with him for a year doing 4 hours a day 6 days a week, so he came back pretty special. We became good mates and it was literally me and Ollie trained in my garage for the entirety of my career. Which spanned about 7 years and my final record was 23 wins and 1 loss no draws, I went 7 years undefeated, lost my last fight and after I lost my last fight I decided to retire.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

So how old were you when you retired?

Alex the boy Owen

: Well I say retire, I stopped fighting because at the time I was a police officer; and the police being the wonderful people that they are didn’t like the fact that I was earning more than to higher ranks with the money I was being paid. So in there usual bureaucratic way said you can’t do something you enjoy, so they stopped me fighting. Well basically they said it’s a choice between your career and fighting; and at the time there wasn’t a lot of money in fighting and it wasn’t as consistent as it is now, so I had to take the sensible option and stay in the police force.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

So are you still in the police force at the moment?

Alex the boy Owen

: I’m not in the police force anymore, haha, yes I resigned from the police force after certain issues with the usual lies and stuff that people tell, so it didn’t end well, but I resigned and it’s left me wishing that I resigned when they gave me my choice.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

What martial arts have you trained in besides Jiu Jitsu?

Alex the boy Owen

: I started quite late, I didn’t start martial arts until I was 16. when I was 16 I started Wadoryu Karate with Junior Taylor. I did that but I found it was to grading based there wasn’t enough fighting competitions; and it was around that sort of time I played quite a lot of rugby at high level as well and I made the choice between rugby and martial arts round the time that Ollie turned up. So my background really I, I got to blue belt in Wadoryu karate mainly because I refused to take any gradings and I got to blue belt in traditional Jiu Jitsu, again because I refused to do any gradings I just wanted to fight. Then Ollie turned up and we just started training for fights, no grading just training.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Ok, can you tell us which Martial Art you favour the most and why out of the ones you have done?

Alex the boy Owen

: Well I’m a submission wrestler, I wouldn’t say I really did any martial arts it was always other than karate and traditional Jiu Jitsu it was just basically what Ollie had brought back which at the time was Shuto from Australia, but we heavily favoured the grappling, so I call myself a submission wrestler. But things have changed now we’re just as good at stand up as we are submission wrestling but when I was fighting I was pretty much a pure grappler/wrestler.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Your cardio, fitness and strength are evident, could you take us through a normal training week that you do.

Alex the boy Owen

: Now or when I was fighting?

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Cover both.

Alex the boy Owen

: Well when I was active as a professional fighter at the peak of my career it would be 3 – 4 hours a day 6 days a week. I could run you through the whole thing but it would take ages. Basically I weighed about 72kg and I cut to 65.8kg, I could dead-lift 190kg, bench press 120kg and I could run 5k in 18 minutes. Swim 400m in 6½ minutes so we did heavily focus on cardio and strength. When your in the lower levels, building yourself up, you can become a very very good fighter even if you can’t fight, purely on cardio and aggression. If you’re constantly in someone’s face, you don’t have to be a power puncher you don’t have to be grappler just wear them out. I tell you where its evident, if watch Michael Bisping, I don’t think anyone would say he’s a knock out puncher, I don’t think anyone would say he’s got heavy hands but he will wear you down constantly that’s how he’s won a lot of his fights.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

He’s got a lot of stamina about him

Alex the boy Owen

: Yeah, I tell you, I would liken my style and the clubs style to a guy called Ryan Leflair, if you look up Ryan Leflair that’s exactly how we fight, constant pressure, constantly in your face, never any rest. If you look at the gym, it’s heavily based around cardio, were not big lifters, we’re not massive guys.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

I suppose you don’t really need it, essentially I guess speed is quite important as well as the cardio?

Alex the boy Owen

: Well its just speed, it’s speed that creates power. It’s not about swinging big punches; being big powerful movements it’s the snappy quick movements that cause the problems. I mean if you look at most knock outs in boxing or MMA they come from the fast punches that you don’t see, it’s always the case, people never get knocked out from big swings that they see coming, it’s the fast punches you don’t see. So we focus heavily on cardio.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

What’s been the worst injury you have had over the years?

Alex the boy Owen

: During my fight career the worst injury I have got I think was I got poked in the eye, never ever got injured, we never got injured.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Was that accidental?

Alex the boy Owen

: No it didn’t hurt at all, just poked in the eye, that was it literally, that’s how little we got injured during training and fighting. We are very intelligent in the way we train and because we were so fit we just felt we didn’t get injured at all. Now, I’ve had worst injuries now through coaching than I have from fighting, fighting was never a problem, you know coaching is much harder.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Do you find that MMA is more suited to a certain type of person?

Alex the boy Owen

: Yeah, my take on MMA is its not a fight, if you’re a person who just wants to have a fight and beat people up and hurt people then your not going to be any good at MMA. You’re gonna be limited as to how far your gonna get. The best people for MMA are people who haven’t had the rough upbringing, who aren’t hard and haven’t had loads of street fights because I always find the best guys are the guys who are scared to get hit. Obviously there’s a limit, if your head shy your getting battered around a bit, but if you’re a guy who focuses mainly on not getting hit rather than hitting other people, it’s the age old story, if someone can’t hit you they can’t win a fight, so I personally think the best people suited for MMA are, who aren’t hard, who don’t want to fight. We always view our fights as it’s an athletic competition, said to the guys before it’s an athletic competition. Do not come here for fights, if you want to fight we go out in the car park afterwards, that’s what I always say so.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

So how did you find it in relations to being a policeman with like scuffles and altercations?

Alex the boy Owen

: I used to get mainly ignorant senior officers, that kind of paint this picture of me, MMA causing problems because you want to kick the crap out of people, it was never the case. I never once in my 13 years service had a complaint for excessive use of force because you train in it everyday. The last thing you want to do is go out on the street, you know how much a punch hurts you with gloves on, someone punches you bare knuckle; and I always find as well if your fighter your happy in what you can do. You never got anything to prove to anybody so you don’t go out there looking for fights. So in terms of when I was a police officer I could out wrestle people, restrain people without having to hit them and therefore they never got injured. The best would be a bear-hug with their arms trapped, pick them up belly to back suplex put them on the floor and cuff them up, never got hurt. So it’s fantastic, unfortunately the police they focus more on academics then self-defence and training. In the police you get 6 hours a year self defence training.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

C & R?

Alex the boy Owen

: Yeah, well its called PPE nowadays, personal protective equipment, but that 6 hours includes handcuffing, unarmed defence tactics, asp, 6 hours a year.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Which is not sufficient enough.

Alex the boy Owen

: I would imagine there’s probably about 3 coppers I know who could deal with any of my guys, one on one they couldn’t deal with any of them. So it’s outrageous.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

If you had to pick one moment in you martial arts career that you could relive what would it be?

Alex the boy Owen

: I beat Brad Picket at Wembley, purely because it was the biggest crowd I fought in front of.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

How big was the crowd?

Alex the boy Owen

: I don’t know, I don’t know what Wembley arena holds, 10,000 maybe, which was huge for that time, yeah it was huge for that period of time. It was good, I really enjoyed it and it was all a last minute thing. It was quite funny actually because Dave O’Donnell will back me up on this, he used to ring me. He rang me for about 2 years asking if I would fight Brad Picket. I said yeah of course I will fight Brad Picket; and he just brought out Cage Rage Contenders, which was like a feeder show for Cage Rage. So I said what show is it? He said its Cage Rage Contenders; I said no I’m not a contender. This went on for about 2 years until after I beat Frep Fernandez for the FX3 Tour. He said do you want to fight Brad Picket?, I said you know I’ll fight Brad Picket, I said on what show, “well f**king Cage Rage”, because you won’t fight Contenders will you, I said right let’s do it, ha ha ha ha, so that was quite good fun.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

What are your biggest accomplishments and the highs and maybe some of the lows if you have had any?

Alex the boy Owen

Alex the boy Owen

: Biggest achievements within MMA, I don’t know. I think the biggest thing is having an undefeated; it’s combined Pro and Semi Pro record, undefeated for 23 fights. I won every grappling, I didn’t taste defeat for about 7 years. It got to the stage where my parents didn’t bother asking me if I won or not because it was just the thing, never tasted defeat.

People would say you need to have a loss to make you a better fighter, and I didn’t believe that, I just believed I couldn’t lose, do you know what I mean, so that was the high. The biggest low was when the police force in there lovely fascist ways, you know through bureaucracy etc. stopped me fighting, they had no evidence to support it. They tried to make it out it was dangerous, but I never had a sick day, but that was pretty low I was kind of cut down at my peak.

The thing that bugged me the most was the fact that I lost, my head wasn’t in the right place, I mean there’s no excuses, he was the better fighter on the day but my head wasn’t in the right place. I lost against Emanuel Fernandez and then it was about 2 or 3 weeks later that they banned me from fighting, they had no reason to, so it was pretty bad to win all those fights and then end up with 1 loss and then say you can’t fight again. I would have preferred to have had all those fights and then started loosing 2 or 3 and then going well maybe my style is not good enough, you know naturally leaving the scene, but it wasn’t I got to my peak.

I was in touch with an agent who was in touch with the UFC and there was a possibility coming and you were cut down in your prime and I know people will say you should have had the balls to sack your job off and go and do it, but the police force paid well. Everybody knows how good the pension is, I enjoyed doing the job because you could actually help people and I had a mortgage and a daughter. You can’t throw that away on a possibility you’ll be good, I could have gone to UFC, got my head kicked in and realised I was actually useless, you just don’t know do you.

I couldn’t take that risk and I enjoyed my job. I didn’t want to leave my job I wasn’t one of those coppers who was bullied at school and was now going to abuse you, I was just a normal guy who policed based on his morals, so yeah I enjoyed but that was pretty rough, to be cut down in your prime is pretty rough.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

What would you say is the biggest positive influence MMA has had upon you?

Alex the boy Owen

: Confidence, confidence genuinely to the point where if people don’t know you it causes problems because it’s seen as arrogance. The thing I usually get is people think I’m an arrogant person and then they will meet me and then no he’s just a confident guy. Having won all that I did has just given me the confidence to think I can do anything; and to be honest with you, you hear it and it’s a bit of a cliché but you can achieve and do anything you set you mind too, it doesn’t matter who you are find what your good at set your mind to it you can be brilliant at it; and it has shown me that there is nothing I can’t do, do you know what I mean, so yeah it’s very good MMA.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

If you could give one piece of advice to somebody that is beginning there martial arts journey now, what would it be?

Alex the boy Owen

: I don’t know, if it was someone putting there kids into martial arts, I’d say get them in as soon as possible because it teaches discipline, we all know that we’ve all known that for years, get them in there straight away. In turns of MMA….cardio, make sure your cardio is insane, if you’ve got insane cardio you can achieve and the technique will come. Cardio you can get pretty quick just through hard work.

One piece of advice I will give you if your not willing to put yourself and live in a miserable suffer zone in a world full of pain go somewhere else because MMA is the hardest sport out there. I’ve done triathlons and been quite successful at triathlons and they’re pretty miserable, but if you imagine a triathlon where someone is trying to beat the crap out of you whilst you are doing it your getting somewhere near it do you know what I mean, it’s the most miserable sport in the world.

Any fighter will tell you this and people don’t realize it when they watch UFC and other public fight shows is that you train for most of the guys its full time now so we’re talking 4/6 hours a day 5/6 days a week, you train full time, you become the fittest, strongest best fighter you have ever been and then you cut weight your nerves get the better of you, you never go into a cage or into a fight more than 60% of how good you are. What you see on the telly is probably 60% of what those guys can do.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Wow, really?

Alex the boy Owen

: You just feel like crap, you got think I was 65 kg, I fought at 65 kg and I would cut from 72 kg in 36 hours.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Wow

Alex the boy Owen

: Think of the effect that has on your body. All these guys are taking it to the extreme nowadays, if your not prepared for permanent misery….don’t do it, because the high of winning, it’s like a primal instinct especially for blokes, I can talk for blokes, there is a primal thing and it releases certain chemicals in your body, because of that primal thing when you win a fight and people are cheering you there is no high like.

I’ve not found anything like it. But that’s only a small part of it 98% of it is misery. Its good fun good social scene, 98% of it is misery. So if you not prepared to suffer then go and do something else because at the end of the day, you know its all sexy now, and everyone’s wearing, well apart from MMA fighters are wearing Tapout do you know what I mean. Everyone is walking around telling everybody that they are a cage fighter.

They’ve ruined it for us cage fighters because it used to be sexy, it used to be cool. Now you’re an idiot, everyone walking round thinking they’re cage fighters. If you look at it, there’s a lot of guys that train and do MMA, but at the end of the day it’s down its basic format. Its just you verses another human who is equal size, equal build and I hope equal skill going into an arena that you can’t really get out of for about 15 minutes trying to kick lumps out of each other. Or if your not trying to kick lumps out of each other your trying to break each others limbs, if you rip it down into its barest form I found nowadays people take it too lightly.

You see it now with a lot of promoters they’re having real problems with people pulling out. Back in the day when I was fighting when it was new it was seen as you were a bit mad, they wouldn’t have problems with fighters pulling out, if fighters did pull out you knew they were injured. I pulled out of 2 fights, one I broke my ankle and the other one I ripped all the muscles up my back; and you know people would pull out, because they were fighters who could fight, nowadays its all a bit sexy, makes you look good with the girls and stuff like that.

So you take these fights you know a bit light heartedly they get there and they think, well it gets to the bit before and they think holy shit this guys gonna try and beat me, I feel the pain in these blows. It needs to not be as sexy as it is so we get all the good fighters back because I personally and I don’t know if anyone would back me up on this believe that the standard back when I was fighting was way better than it is now, the top flight guys of UFC don’t get me wrong they’re much better than what was back then. All the middle range local shows the standard was better when I was fighting without a doubt. Or look at some of the guys from my era still a massive success. Brad Picket, look how successful he’s been. Mike McVay he still was successful until recently when he stopped fighting, there still massively successful. I don’t think it’s moved on as much as it should have done in the lower levels.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

What are your aims and goals in and outside of training?

Alex the boy Owen

: I don’t know, I have a break down every couple of months where I need to get back into fighting and I need to achieve, my personality is I have to be the greatest, you know, now I don’t fight anymore it’s hard to fulfil that need do you know what I mean, its pretty miserable to be fair. I don’t know, I just want these guys to do what I’ve done. You speak to them and they will tell you I have a tantrum once every couple of weeks because they won’t be training hard enough, there cardio’s not good enough and its not because I’ve got an issue, its just because I need them to do what I did to succeed.

It was an obsession for me, an obsession, its all I thought about everyday; and its alien to me if not everyone else is like that, I’ve had to learn to except that over the years.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Because everyone has got different circumstances, there’s other things perhaps going on, they might not perhaps be able to make that kind of commitment like you have done.

Alex the boy Owen

: Well honestly, it was when we were training; it’s all I ever thought about. I would be training or I would be watching and do you know what that’s a big thing that people don’t do enough of nowadays they don’t watch, fighters don’t watch enough. These guys on the telly are the best in the world, you need to look at them and try and mimic what they are doing, decide if it works for you. There are so many fighters out there nowadays that do MMA they don’t even watch the UFC, let alone all the other Japanese stuff, they just don’t watch it, I can’t understand it myself, just can’t get my head round it, we can’t all be obsessed like that can we.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

I don’t know I think it’s quite nice. To finish off, could you tell us about your classes for those interested in starting MMA.

Alex the boy Owen

: Yeah, as you can see we are a spit and sawdust gym. All the stuff we have got basically covers what we need, there’s nothing in here we don’t need. We’ve owned cages, we’ve owned various other stuff but we got rid of it all because we never needed it. What we’ve got now is perfect for what we need. We like it in here because no one bothers us, you know. I can keep the fees really low. Are charge £40 per month and that allows you to train as much as you like, you can use it as a normal gym if you want. We essentially train Mondays and Wednesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm, but we filter in about 5.30pm, do a bit of weights, do a bit of training, bit of cardio; and then Fridays, today, is more of a relaxed session is 6pm to 7.30pm. The way we train there is no grades, it’s purely aimed at competition. So there are no beginner classes, you just train.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Is there a particular age limit?

Alex the boy Owen

: Yeah, I don’t like to train anyone under the age of 16; and if the are 16 they need to be a bloke size because if one of my guys falls on you he could do you mischief. So all in the interest of safety. Yeah all we do in here is train for fights, so if new people turn up they just get thrown in with real fighters and they just do what we’re doing, there’s no set levels or structure its just train for fighting, it’s all we are interested in.

Chris @ Enso Martial Arts:

Alex thank you for your time and speaking to us at Enso Martial Arts.

Alex the boy Owen

: Pleasure mate.

Details for Alex the boy Owen MMA Gym

Combat Gym, Weston Euro Park,
Winterstoke Road,
Weston-S-Mare, BS24 9AB
Tel: 07812 064402
alextheboyowen@googlemail.com
www.teamsavage.co.uk