23 Jul 2010

My Favourite BJJ Photos - By Hywel Teague

Hywel Teague is known by many as the editor of top MMA publication Fighters Only. Hywel is not only a writer, journalist, editor and of course, grappler, he also takes quality pro photos. Before we look at Hywel's favourite snaps, it might be useful to read a recent interview he gave to Liam Wandi for his Part Time Grappler blog here and here.

As a writer, it's natural for Hywel's photos to capture the story behind the photo. His snaps, many of which you can view here on his Flickr page range from casual pictures of training partners rolling, to carefully staged and dramatically lit studio shots. MMA and grappling events tend to lend themselves to great shot making. But Hywel looks for the less obvious choice - the quick snapshot, the glances that turn away from the lens, the emotions on the faces of spectators and bystanders. To me this is old skool reportage photography and a very refreshing way to look at fight sport. Here are Hywel's personal favourite pics from his extensive repertoire, I hope you enjoy them:

"This picture was taken one month and five days after Royce defeated his family nemesis, Kazushi Sakuraba. This was taken at a seminar in Yorkshire, and I obtained the first interview with him after his positive test for performance enhancing drugs (a world exclusive). The students either didn't know or didn't care about Royce's positive test, but it didn't stop them from turning out for the seminar. Contrary to how he looks in the picture, Royce was in good spirits that day, although we had one small moment of friction. During the interview, I broached the topic of the positive test and before I could finish the question he turned to me and said, "Man, do you think I took steroids?" I didn't answer, allowed him to fill in the gap, and we continued with the interview without incident. "

Coffee and Coaching
"Of all the images here, this is the one that means the most to me. The person holding the coffee is my coach, Karl Tanswell. Karl is a BJJ black belt with the Straight Blast Gym International organisation. He's also a phenomenal coach and an inspiration to me and many others. I'm lucky to call him a friend and miss him a lot. I used to train with him in Manchester but moved away and he's off travelling round the world right now, so we haven't seen each other in a long time. This pic sums him up for me - cup of coffee in hand, he's coaching two fighters in the old SBG gym that was located on Spear Street."

Hammer and Nail
"This pic really doesn't need a description, does it? It sums up much more of the spirit of jiu-jitsu than I could write in a paragraph or two."

Gunnar and Glyn 
"One of the things I love about  jiu-jitsu is that though we spend most of the time trying to tear each other's heads off, we spend a hefty amount of time helping each other get better at it. Pictured are Gunnar Nelson and Glyn Powditch, back when Gunnar was still a brown belt. They'd just spent the best part of 45 minutes rolling, and were discussing the fine points of some of the moves they had been using on each other. That's one of the things I love about jiu-jitsu - the openness between training partners and the sharing of information."

My thanks to Hywel for taking the time to share his passion with us, the latest issue of Fighters Only magazine is out now in all good and badass newsagents.

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.


AndrewWrites said...

Love it love it love it. I'll be back to check out more on the Flickr account and to grab the link for those interviews, but for now just wanted to say thanks!

Looking forward to the next series of shots.

Matt said...

nice! havent seen many of his snaps recently though... too busy?

cool photos. like the coffee one. my instructor in japan also used to drink coffee - albeit coffee in a can from a vending machine!


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