After years of contentious relations with the jiu-jitsu community, jiu-jitsu media mogul Hywel Teague will finally be releasing his magnum opus, the Red Belt Documentary.
The Aces Jiu-Jitsu blog has not provided complimentary coverage to Teague or his company, Flograppling, primarily because Flograppling and Teague have not given the jiu-jitsu community, which they serve, much to compliment. However, after a lengthy and tumultuous stretch and the closing of his Indiegogo campaign, Hywel (pronounced “H-You-Well” like Saul Goodman’s security guard in Breaking Bad) will be releasing the fabled documentary for which he raised upwards of 17,417 dollars.
Hywel reached out to Aces because of the negative press we have given him and Flograppling in the past in an attempt to ease tensions and smooth things over.
“I always intended on releasing this documentary. I just wanted to wait until the time was right. You see, Robert Drysdale is putting out his “Opening the Closed Guard” documentary, and I just did NOT want to see that outshine my beautiful, amazing, incredible masterpiece.”
Drysdale, who was unavailable for comment on the matter, wrote a book as a companion to his upcoming film, which has been met with critical acclaim, but he has not yet announced a release date for the film. Fortunately, Drysdale’s product was funded by selling books and posters rather than selling a promise. But we look forward to that film release as well.
“How dare Drysdale step over me to release his documentary, I invested my blood, sweat, and tears into mine, and this is the thanks I get? I will remember this and will be unfollowing, unfriending, and blocking him!”
Many, myself included, were quite vexed with Hywel’s lengthy and deafening silence on the matter of his documentary. The documentary was initially funded in 2012, and the Indiegogo page featured updates through February 2015.
Gordon Ryan was still a minor when the Red Belt documentary was fully funded to put things into perspective. I asked Hywel to clarify the reason for the wait:
“When I initially got the complete funding for the documentary, I was quite chuffed and decided that Julie and I should get married to celebrate. So we got married, and it cost about 17 grand. At the time, I was training with my Master Ricardo De La Riva, learning his ways and living in Brazil, and I did not have much money. So, I borrowed a bit of money from the documentary fund, $17,359.00 to be precise. By the time we returned from our honeymoon, I had half a mind to start a second Indiegogo to see about raising the rest. But that was not going to work either. So, you see, what had happened was I got hired by Flograppling, but to be hired by Flograppling at the time you needed to put up an investment, and AJ Agazarm and Riccardo Ammendolia told me that I should wait a bit to work on other projects and here we are in 2021.”
The Red Belt Documentary features interviews with legends of the sport, the old guard, the grandmasters. The benefit of having this information is a proper understanding of the history of the sport and art of Jiu-Jitsu. The money raised by Teague in 2012 was meant to allow the jiu-jitsu community to have a look at this history, shedding light on where the art that we love so much comes from.
I was very curious about Hywel’s plans to release the documentary finally.
“I have held onto this footage for so long that the format in which I filmed it is no longer compatible with today’s computers, but I have a special treat: LaserDisc. I will be EXCLUSIVELY releasing the red belt documentary on LaserDisc. Anyone who funded my Indiegogo will be able to purchase the laserdisc at a discounted price of only $99.99 plus tax and shipping. The early investors will also receive a complimentary Flograppling decal and a 10% off coupon for the Flograppling webstore (only applicable to merchandise items not currently on sale). If, however, you slept on it and did not invest, well, you can still buy the laserdisc at a marked-up but still very reasonable price of $119.99 plus tax and shipping. I figure this is a real reward for investing in me and my vision.”
I was a bit puzzled by the lengthy delay between the end of the IndieGoGo campaign and the documentary’s eventual release, which will happen later this week, so I asked Hywel to explain the delay.
“Well, uh, I was really, uh, busy with Flograppling. Flograppling pays my bills, and the Red Belt Documentary was a labor of love for which I only received $17,417. I mean, do you know how much cocaine and hookers cost? Even in Rio De Janeiro! I understand that I committed to releasing this DVD, but the nice thing about crowdsourcing is that there are no repercussions if the project ‘falls through’ and most jiu-jitsu people only train for like a year or two, so most of the backers don’t even care anymore…”
While I personally find Hywel’s reasoning highly questionable, I applaud him for finally releasing his long-awaited documentary! With the release of this documentary, Hywel is in some ways turning over a new leaf.
For now, though, you can view the trailer to Hywel’s documentary at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFX9t8FYHOE&t=5s. For purchasing options, including bundles featuring a commemorative koozie and a BJJ Hacks t-shirt, you can go to https://shop.flosports.tv/.
Hywel will also be releasing a limited number of copies on Betamax for anyone who can’t play LaserDiscs. There will be a batch of 100 laserdiscs released on Friday at 10 am, and after those sell out, there will be a preorder period. Aces has not confirmed when that pre-order will ship, but we hope it will take less than nine years.
By the way, This article was originally published on April 1st, so Happy April Fools’ Day!
Emil Fischer is a Jiu-jitsu brown belt competitor training under Pablo Angel Castro III at Strong Style MMA in Cleveland Ohio. An avid writer and competitor, Emil has amassed an extensive competition record. Most notably, Emil is a 2 time gold medalist at the IBJJF No Gi Pans, and has a submission victory record of 5-1 at Fight To Win Pro which includes purple belt no-gi light heavyweight championship