My talk with Tony part 2: Tony Schiena, Sportsman

First, a bit of a refresher for you…

About a week ago, I interviewed honest-to-goodness international man of mystery, Mr. Tony Schiena, a guy who boasts more achievements, awards, military/police ranks and movie credits than most of us could dream up were we filling a CV with 100% misrepresentations.

Tony has, among other things…

  • Won the title of Undisputed World Heavyweight Karate Champion
  • Been awarded the rank of Lt. Colonel by the Hungarian National Guard
  • Been deputized as a sheriff in the state of Virginia
  • Been named a Lieutenant on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

And then there is his background with the intelligence community of his native South Africa, his work with the military and Special Forces units of Afghanistan, Mongolia, Latvia, Croatia, Italy, and many more.

Related: My Talk With Tony Part I

But we’ve already discussed his counterterrorism work, his efforts to combat human trafficking, and his work with different militaries around the globe. That’s all so last week, right?

Today we’re going to talk about Tony, the sportsman and recognized fitness expert. His life is in constant motion, and thus he has to adapt his training routines constantly. The one piece of advice he kept coming back to throughout our discussion was to never let a day go by without at least some form of exercise.

TONY: “You’ve got to train every day, every single day, no matter what. There’s no excuse not to, there’s always a workout you can do. Get outdoors and get running; indoors, find some stairs. Find something, because there’s always something you can do, and you always have to. If you’re putting calories into your body, you need to burn them! For me, I can’t operate for even a day if I haven’t done something, some [training]. And you don’t want to feel not yourself any day.”

ME: “Can you describe your daily workout routine?”

All Part of the Exercise Regimen
All Part of the Exercise Regimen

TONY: “I’m consistently traveling, so my routine changes continually. I’ll take advantage of whatever’s around and use it as part of my fitness and training. This morning, I went for a swim in the sea, because my home here in Ostuni [Italy] is near the Adriatic. Last week, I ran up Vesuvius because, well I was near a volcano so I had to do that.

ME: “You’re a pretty busy guy. How do you stay fit on your busiest days or when you’re actively traveling?”

TONY: “Well I have a core workout. There are pushups of course, and doing a plank for your core and abdominals. You can do a lot of work just using your body. And then there’s martial arts training; from my time in competitive karate I still have lots of routines, and I still use the traditional Makiwara in my training…

Side bar for your information: a Makiwara is a training tool that has been used by practitioners of karate for centuries. It consists of a stout wooden beam wrapped with rope or other padding in certain spots. Training with the Makiwara consists of a multiple strikes delivered by the fist, open hand, or feet. It helps hone dexterity, strength, and speed, and it can leave you with some seriously gnarled knuckles if you use it incorrectly or too often.

A Man and His Makiwara
A Man and His Makiwara

TONY (cont.): “It also depends where I am. I’m pretty often in New York City and the head of the Shaolin Temple there is a good friend of mine. I never miss an opportunity to train with him, or in any situation like that.”

ME: “When you’re not jogging up a mountain or teaching an operative how best to take an assault rifle out of an enemy’s hands, how do you like to relax?”

TONY: “There’s a lot I like to catch up on when it comes to reading; for example, a week or two ago I was in the lovely home of a very old Italian family, and in that home was the only known ceiling that Caravaggio painted. And I realized how little I know about him, so as soon as I could I picked up a book about Caravaggio and started to learn.”

For those of you who may also not currently know much about Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, he was a downright amazing painter, a fearsome bar fighter, and probably had at least one screw loose. He is one of the most celebrated Baroque masters, and indeed one of the most celebrated painters of all time. He was also in and out of jail and killed a guy in a drunken sword fight.

TONY (cont.): “And if there’s a wave or two somewhere, I do like to surf. When I’m at my home in LA I meet up with some friends who are amazing surfers; maybe I’m not at their level, but I keep up. And I love it, it’s an amazing way to stay fit.

When He's Not Reading...
When He’s Not Reading…

ME: “What’s one piece of advice you give to people who want to live a fit lifestyle?”

TONY: “It’s simple: just make sure you’re training every day; make sure you’re doing something. Don’t skip your routine, or do something else if you have to.”

Like jogging up Vesuvius or swimming in the Adriatic or training with a Shaolin master, if possible. If that’s not in the cards today, there’s always a hike up Runyon Canyon or a jog around Central Park…

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