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Words of Wisdom: Gokor Chivichyan

Updated: Feb 5

Gokor Chivichyan

Black Belt Magazine Cover, May 2000

Black Belt’s 1997 Judo Instructor of the Year, Gokor Chivichyan is also an expert in no-holds-barred fighting, and sambo. While competing, he built a record of 400 wins and no losses as a professional, he said. After moving to America, Chivichyan teamed up with “Judo” Gene LeBell to create an MMA system that’s now taught in several countries.

Best Advice: Accept the Challenge

“In 1997 I was challenged to come out of retirement to fight one last no-holds-barred world-championship fight against Mr. Maeda, a world champion from Japan. My friend Gene LeBell advised me to accept the challenge, so I did.”

It wound up being the right course of action, he added. “It gave me an opportunity to prove on a live pay-pay-view event the effectiveness of the style of fighting Gene and I created. I beat Mr. Maeda in 51 seconds. It was the only defeat of his career.”

His message for the public: Take risks even when a positive outcome isn’t guaranteed. It’s the best way to move forward.

Worst Advice: Train Harder Before the Fight

“The worst advice happened when I was a kid training for an event [that was scheduled for] the next day,” Chivichyan said. “I was advised to work harder and add more weight to my workout.“

The day of the event, my muscles were sore and I got tired easily because I put all my energy into training the day before. I lost the match because of that bad advice.”

Later, he would discover this is why athletes taper before competition.

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