Kevin O Hagan is a true Ju Jitsu master. He competed in MMA at 43 years of age and won a medal at a No Gi grappling event aged 50! Author of 8 books and numerous DVD's this guy is a true legend. Make sure you check out this interview with him and like and share this article!
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Q. Hi Kevin thanks for taking this interview. Firstly can you tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.
Hello Andrew,my pleasure.Wow, I am going to travel back to the pre-dawn of history now. Ok, here it goes. I first started training in Martial Arts in 1975. I was inspired as many were then by the late, great Bruce Lee. Up to then, cinematic tough guys were portrayed as big and strong like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Now, here was this small but extremely fit little Asian guy doing incredible things. As a small guy myself, I was instantly hooked.
I grew up in a tough multi-racial neighbourhood in Bristol where political correctness and it’s like did not exist. It was very much dog eat dog and there was a lot bigger dogs than me so I wanted to learn to fight and look after myself.
So started my journey as a boy of 15 to present day where I have achieved most of my ambitions in the Martial Arts. I trained initially in Pak Mei Kung Fu and then Taekwondo. I then moved extensively into Aikijutsu and Aikido, training directly for 6 years or more with the Japanese Sensei that came to the UK. In 1984 I found Ju Jutsu and that became my base art and still is today.
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I hold the following grades:
7th Dan Masters grade in Combat Ju Jutsu
7th Senior Self Protection Instructor with the BCA
5th Dan Goshin Ryu Ju Jutsu
1st Dan Black Belt Karate Jutsu
1st Dan Black Belt Japanese Ju Jutsu
I have competed and won medals in Ju Jutsu Kumite, Brazilian Ju Jutsu, Submission Wrestling and have fought in MMA at amateur, semi and pro level. I last competed in a pro MMA fight at 43 years old and won by submission. I also competed at a no gi submission wrestling tournament and won a silver medal at my weight at 50 years of age.
I have always crossed trained and had an open mind to all arts. I have been fortunate to train in most with some of the best in the world. Every art has something to offer.
I am also an avid writer and have authored 8 martial arts books to date and many articles over the years.
Q. Ive heard a lot of really good things about you over the years from a lot of people. What do you do to maintain this consistant quality in an era where people are often seduced by marketing.
Martial arts firstly has always been a love of mine and if I was doing this for a living I would still be training in it as it is the art and training I love before trying to make money out of it. I have seen many large association prostitute and sell themselves out for the pound signs. They become greedy and lose their integrity along the way. I believe you can make a decent living as a martial arts instructor without ripping people off. Also as a professional whether I am teaching a small weekly class or a huge seminar I will give 100% percentage because that is the standard I set myself many years ago and it is part of what my reputation is built on. Being honest to yourself is a tough call and you have got to be true to it every day. I have been blessed to make a living out of something I love and I do not take that for granted or sell myself out.
Q. What is the system you currently teach?
I am at present mainly teaching my Combat jujutsu system. My first love has always been realistic combatives and I have come through the full circle of MMA and back to it. I journey into MMA fighting has only added and enhanced my all-round combat skills.
Q. Fitness is a subject we see that many martial arts instructors feel is not important. What are your thoughts on fitness and how do you keep in shape?
I have always associated fitness with Martial arts ever since the influence of Bruce Lee. In general being fit and healthy is a worthy pursue. But in relation to combat whether it is a 9o second street encounter or a full blown MMA, wrestling or Thai boxing fight you will need certain different levels of fitness to operate. For me I wanted the fitness to compete in all these arenas and have gone on to compete in many extreme fitness challenges but for others you may just want to maintain a working level of fitness depending on your goals. But never underestimate even how taxing on the body 90 seconds of all out combat can be. At the age of 53 my training is different to when i was 23 or 33.I look at what i need now and have adapted it accordingly. I will no longer need the mammoth regimes i did when i fought in the MMA arena, now I want enough explosive power and fitness to survive a street assault if it comes my way. Through experience I will know what that will be.
Q. I am aware you have produced a number of martial arts DVDs and products. Is there a product that you are particuarly proud of and how can a person buy it?
My website www.kevinohagan contains all my books, manuals and DVDS. It is also going to be revamped soon with more good stuff coming. I am particularly pleased with my latest Dvd set ‘Horror show’ extreme combatives. It is an epic 8 disc series of combats most brutal unarmed techniques .Not for the faint hearted! Ha ha. All details are on my blog.
Q what do you think is the most important skill a student of self defence can study?
For me it has to be mindset. You can have all the training and techniques under the sun but you must have the mindset to execute them if you have to. A loaded gun is useless if in the moment of truth we can’t pull the trigger. The mental side of combat to me is even more important than the physical. Pressure, fear and the adrenal rush can either freeze you or propel you to victory. If you don’t find out how you react under pressure everything else is just theory.
Q. You have been involved in the martial arts a long time. How have they impacted on your life? And what do you think you would be doing now if you hadnt got involved in them.
Martial arts steered me away as a young man from the wrong paths of temptation and gave me direction and focus. As time went on it gave me belief and confidence, not in just how to defend myself, but also cope in other areas of my life. You don’t live on the planet 50 plus years without your share of adversity, heartache and hardships. Martial arts forged me to be a stronger person and to cope with the things life can throw at you. If I wasn’t a Martial artist i would have liked to write and perform music. I am about to start learning guitar. Also my passion for writing is where i want to grow and i am working on my first fictional novel. In the future i would love to make a living as an author solely.
Q What are your current goals for the future?
I suppose I partly addressed this in the last question. But to add I have at present my own gym/dojo which I run with one of my sons and my family. I want to eventually leave this as a legacy for the future. I am also working hard to bring on a new generation of black belts to keep my system alive when i decide to hang up my belt. You realise you have been in the arts a long time when a great many of your instructors, peers and role models have now passed away. I now feel a certain responsibility to keep my art alive and left in good hands.I will soon be launching a new project called ‘winning minds’ were i can help individuals mentally achieve their goals through NLP,sports psychology and fear control. I have been in dojos and gyms heading up to 40 years now. I have been fortunate to travel to some great countries to teach and train. But on a personal level I would like to travel more with my wife just to chill and enjoy the world and what it has to offer. If God graces me with continuing good health that is my goals for the future
Many Thanks Kevin for this fantastic interview. Please Check Kevin out in the video below and to contact him go to his website www.kevinohagan.com