Hye-Expectations with Gokor "The Armenian Assassin" Chivichyan
Conducted for AMAM by Debra Hartsell, jkdassoc.com
Simply said, Gokor Chivichyan, born 1963 in Yerevan, Armenia, is a true martial arts anomaly.
Gokor's impressive arsenal seems endless, his unmatched ability has been proven by his undefeated fight-record of 405-0. He holds numerous championship titles in many categories.
He is an esteemed member of the Martial Arts Hall-of-Fame, and a cutting-edge leader in his field of expertise (Submission-Grappling), mainly consisting of a unique blend of Russian Sambo, Judo, Wrestling and Jiujitsu. He is the owner of the renowned Hayastan Mixed-Martial Arts Academy in North Hollywood, California; where he produces many top MMA fighters.
Watching Gokor teach his classes is inspiring, each student always listening intently, perhaps anxiously awaiting him to unveil the next superb technique that their Sensei is sure to demonstrate during each and every training session, knowing that he always delivers the goods!
Gokor began his training as a young child in Soviet, Armenia, winning many national and international junior titles in Judo, Sambo and Wrestling. At the age of seventeen, Gokor relocated to Los Angeles, where he began his training in no-Gi submission grappling under Gene LeBell.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Gokor actively participated in NHB/MMA, sport Judo, and Sambo grappling competitions in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the United States.
In 1997, Gokor came out of retirement to win a superfight organized by the World Fighting Federation. In 1998, he was named by Black Belt Magazine “Judo Instructor of the Year” and then received the prestigious “Hall of Fame” that spot he so deserves.
Gokor competed again at the 2008 USJA / USJF Winter Nationals, the first National Judo Championship endorsed by both organizations. Gokor arrived unprepared for competition and without his Gi; he was there to coach his team, which went on to win the overall tournament award with more gold medals than any other team.
Amid heckles by tournament organizers and other coaches, Gokor was finally presented with a Gi and agreed to participate. Then competing with a pre-existing groin injury, he severely re-pulled his groin muscle in the first match (which he won), resulting in great pain. Due to the double elimination rules, he was allowed to continue after a brief break. Gokor went on to defeat all of his opponents that day, taking the Gold after defeating Gary Butts by "Uchi-Mata" in the finals.
Meanwhile, Gokor has produced a new generation of talented fighters at his school, such as Manvel "The Anvil" Gamburyan, "Killa" Karen Darabedyan, Sevak Magakian, Roman "Emperor" Mitichyan and Karo "The Heat" Parysian, who have all competed in the top arenas of the UFC, WEC, King of the Cage, plus Olympic and all National Judo Championships.
With the recently relocated grand opening of the new Hayastan Academy, now located at 7229 Atoll in North Hollywood 91605, Gokor has successfully retired undefeated from professional fighting and continues to focus his time on teaching young new talent.
Exclusive A.M.A.M. Interview with Gokor Chivichyan:
1) AMAM: What sparked your desire to begin martial arts training, what was your first discipline?
Gokor: My dicipline started in Wrestling in 1968, then a couple years later Russian Sambo. Then, after that, Judo and then Boxing until 1980 and then I come to America.
2) AMAM: How old were you when you moved to the USA and how did such a move come about?
Gokor: I was sixteen years old when I come to the United States at the Judo International Championship in Colorado Springs where I won my weight-class. Then, after that, six months later I move with my family and that's already past thirty years.
3) AMAM: Please tell the fans about how your relationship with "Judo" Gene LeBell developed?
Gokor: Me and Gene know each now almost 30 years since the day I come here. He is like a father to me from the very first and up to today. Our bond is stronger than anything in this world.
4) AMAM: You're undefeated at 405-0, of all your competitions, what's your proudest career moment?
Gokor: Well, I got alot of proudest moments, you know, because everytime I win it's like my happiest day. It's hard to tell which one, I got too many of them. I don't know...all of them.
5) AMAM: Many martial artists refer to you as a successful pioneer of integrating systems, including Russian Sambo. Would you please describe some specifics about Sambo, how does it differ from Brazilian Jiu-jitsu?
Gokor: It's different by point-system and the BJJ is more of a ground game while Sambo is more stand-up and ground game too. But, most everthing looks the same, you know. So, you have to follow the different type of point-system and certain rules you have to follow, but, it's about the same.
6) AMAM: Please tell your fans about the beautiful new Hayastan Dojo location you opened in early 2010.
Gokor: The new dojo location is at 7229 Atoll Street in North Hollywood, Californina 91605. Website is WWW.GOKOR.COM where you can find the complete address and most of the information about the school. Everybody can come visit to see why people from all over the world say they never seen such a school anywhere in the world. So, they can come see it for themselves if it's true or not.
7) AMAM: Absolutely! You're responsible for training many pro fighters, please tell MMA fans who to keep their eyes on in the few years?
Gokor: All right, you can see a couple of my students on TV, they can be seen in the UFC and WEC. We got Manny Gamburyan, Karen Darabedyan, and Roman Mitichyan. Newcomers are coming in Sevak Magakian and others. Most of these are Armenians, some are Americans, plus others are coming in the future also.
Most of my Armenian students will be ready first because they started with me as young kids, so that's why they're ready today. Meanwhile, some of the different nationalities started a little later, but, their time will come too. Like I say, we got 14 or 15 guys in the UFC while most of the other top schools, I don't know if they may have 3 or less.
So, we're doing good, we're very happy. The guys train hard. In this school, we have an octagon, Boxing ring, and a big mat area. So, we have everything for MMA or any other dicipline to make our school a total training facility. You can check the website for the open hours of our schedule.
Some people come to think Hayastan Dojo is only for professionals, but it's not completely. It's also for the kids starting at five years old to end up...ah, 100 years old. (Smiling) It's for beginners, intermediates, advanced and everbody's welcome to train here.
8) AMAM: Do you have any specific good advice for up and coming fighters who're still looking for a path to get started on in MMA?
Gokor: Well, to get started in MMA, most people will not need to rush. It will take some time because fighting in MMA is not a joke. It's like you're competing in an Olympic sport and you're not just gonna train one year and go into that level.
So, basically you're gonna need years and years of training. You need lot's of good grappling, plus striking and a lot of endurance and power, and a big heart...all these things.
Number one thing is you need the right dojo, the right teacher to teach you these things. If you end up with a teacher who knows nothing of value, it doesn't matter how many years you train...you'll end up with nothing too.
9) AMAM: Absolutely, I agree. You have many admirers all around the world wishing they could be near enough to take your classes directly, how can someone physically too far away from Hayastan Dojo become more involved in learning from you?
Gokor: That's why I make a lot of DVD's. So, certainly, what they can do first off is get my DVD's. My DVD's have training Level's 1 thru 6. They're specialized so people farther away can train with us. So, they can do their training this way and included in each they get a test.
I also give seminars in Europe and the United States. We've got 43 special schools in Europe and 27 in the United States where I go teach. Now, we're opening new ones in Canada and Russia. With new ones always joining all the time, it keeps getting bigger and bigger. So, the people can go to the website to check where there's a seminar close to them and possibly come in to train.
If they can't attend my seminars, they can buy my DVD's or they can also go to GOKOR.COM to rent my online training by the day or week. So, there's lots of ways that they can do it if they want to.
All they have to do is just be serious and do it.
10) AMAM: Yep, absolutely. You've been increasingly involved in T.V. and film-making, any new roles coming up in 2010-2011?
Gokor: Another one is coming in late August 2010. I'm playing as a Russian Mafia. My part in it has not much acting, it's not a big part. Maybe my roles in the future will get bigger and bigger...maybe I will get an Oscar? (Laughing)
AMAM: On behalf of AMERICAN MARTIAL ARTS MOVEMENT and Paul S. Lewis, as always, he wishes to express his own sincere gratitude for all you've done for him.
AMAM will always be in your debt for all the kindness and generosity you've shown us and we appreciate your patience in getting this interview done.
On behalf of myself, Debra Hartsell, I also want to thank you so much for taking this time out of your busy schedule to allow me to conduct this great interview with you, I love you my friend!
Gokor: It's my pleasure, thank you.
Fans can arrange to schedule their own training session with
Gokor "The Armenian Assassin" Chivichyan at...GOKOR.COM