Wayne Hayer Jr: What Martial Arts means to me is an honest understanding of your flaws, strengths, and weaknesses and finding a way to deal with that to become more complete within yourself? It means that you take all of those things and use them essentially as motivation to make yourself do better. For example, if you’re not a strong person; don’t try to pretend to be strong against an opponent who is stronger than you. You have to use other tools you have to defeat him. Whether if its speed, flexibility, endurance, or strategic thinking. Forcing you to become calm and disciplined in the face of overwhelming odds to come out on top. Which is essentially strength within itself, if that makes any sense.
Joe Gaiter: So what part of martial arts are you specializing in?
Wayne Hayer Jr:I train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), which was derived from the Japanese Martial Art Judo. In BJJ there is no punching or kicking of any kind. It is all grappling and close quarters fighting, also known as submission grappling. Takedowns, arm locks, leg locks, chokes, dominant positioning etc.
Joe Gaiter: Tell me about playing in your first tournament since you tore your MCL playing Rugby?
Wayne Hayer Jr:Well I was out for over year when I tore my MCL in the final game of the season against Valdosta I believe. Jiu Jitsu is a very mobile martial art which requires you to use your legs. So when I tore my MCL it was a huge obstacle to overcome. 4 years before that I broke my left ankle in training and had to get surgery and screws put in my ankle which took me away from the mats for a good 9 months. Leg injuries are the worst. However, It took me about 5 or 6 months to walk without feeling any kind of pain and like another 6 months before I could train again at the pace that I am normally used to. But after a few months of hardcore sparring I realized that I was ready to get out there and it was more of mental problem for me more so than it was my injury. My nerves were high, I was anxious, I kept thinking about what if I hurt myself again. But the moment my opponent and I touched hands and bump fists, it all went away and that was when it dawned on me that this is where I belong and I am here to win.
Joe Gaiter: You are a part of the American Top Team. How has this group of people help you grow as an athlete?
Wayne Hayer Jr:They are my family essentially. And it is so humbling to train with people who beat you down every single day and yet they are the nicest people on earth. My coach Roan Carneiro, known as “Jucao” is a professional MMA fighter, UFC veteran, and 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has taught me so much ever since I step foot in his gym. The most important thing they taught me is to be humble and once you’re humble, that is where the growth begins. You have to be willing to learn. And training at American Top Team with the training partners I have has made me evolve not only as an athlete and martial artist, but as a person. I train with lawyers, students, teachers, doctors, musicians etc. with people from so many walks of life the room for growth is extremely exponential.
Joe Gaiter: How important are drills?
Wayne Hayer Jr:Drills are the most important aspect of Jiu Jitsu. The reason why people are so tired when they first come into the sport is because their bodies are not conditioned to do the movements. And in order to become proficient at these movements, you have to drill in order to build up that muscle memory.
Joe Gaiter: What would you say is your signature move?
Wayne Hayer Jr:I would have to say that my signature move is a submission called the “Kimura Lock.” It is a shoulder lock that manipulates your joints and bones in the shoulder and if you do not tap, then you can get shoulder broken or hurt really badly. It is an extremely effective move.
Joe Gaiter: What is your mindset when you are in a match?
Wayne Hayer Jr:My mindset really is to go in there and not underestimate my opponent. I truly believe it is ok to be afraid and nervous, that’s why we train so we can face and overcome that fear. Work on what you have been working leading up to the tournament and don’t try anything that you did not try in practice. Know that your opponent trained his or her but off while also acknowledging at the same time that you trained your tail off too, and that you are just as prepared, if not more prepared. Respect your opponent and Go to war.
Joe Gaiter: What would you say to someone who wants to try martial arts?
My advice would be go in with an open mind and most importantly, leave your ego at the door because if you don’t you will get humbled soon enough.
Joe Gaiter: Final words?
Wayne Hayer Jr:I want to give a special shout out to my coach Roan “Jucao” Carneiro and all of the instructors and my training partners at American Top Team Atlanta. Without them I would not have a gym to represent and they have truly sharpened my skills. Please feel free to stop by the gym to try out a class. One of the Black Belt instructors Jake Jo is an awesome guy to talk to if you ever want to get into BJJ, MMA, or Kick Boxing. The address of the gym is 2110 Faulkner Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 and give them a call at (404) 565-1972. Thank you so much for reaching out to me.
Martial Arts Expert Wayne Hayer Jr interview with Joe Gaiter was last modified: February 6th, 2018 by Joseph Gaiter