Gracie to headline East/West Karate’s Legends weekend | Local News

When you think of the true pioneers of the relatively new era of mixed martial arts, one name immediately springs to mind: Royce Gracie.

The 55-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu master – also known as Gracie jiu-jitsu for obvious reasons – has won three of the UFC’s first four events and perpetuated his family’s iconic name among fans. combat sports.

East/West Karate of Somerset and Master Jeff Turner announced this week that they will be bringing Gracie, Armenian judo champion and MMA trainer extraordinaire Gokor Chivichyan and current UFC fighter Matt Brown to an event next month named rightly The Legends Weekend.

The event will begin with a get-together dinner for sponsors and East/West members on Friday, February 25, and conclude the following morning with seminars hosted by the three legends for local mixed martial artists of all ages. Somerset Christian School will host both events.

“Gracie is the most famous name on the planet when it comes to mixed martial arts,” Turner said. “Royce is a true pioneer in the sport of MMA.”

In fact, the Gracie family inspired the creation of the ever-popular Ultimate Fighting Championship.

When he was 17, Royce and his brothers Royler and Rickson Gracie moved to the United States in Torrance, California to live with his older brother Rorion Gracie, who had moved there in 1978 and established a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. .

The Gracie brothers continued the family tradition of the “Gracie Challenge”, in which they challenged other martial artists to a No Limits Vale Tudo match in their gymnasium in order to prove Gracie jiu-jitsu superiority. Rorion would later edit footage of the Gracie Challenge fights into a single documentary series known as Gracie in Action. The Gracie in Action tapes inspired Art Davie to create the UFC.

“The Gracie name is a global brand,” Turner said. “They even train the military in self-defense.”

Rorion Gracie chose Royce to represent the family’s fighting style at the first UFC in 1993 due to his leaner and smaller frame, to show how a smaller person can defeat a taller opponent using jiu-jitsu.

Sure enough, Gracie had tough shooter Ken Shamrock submit in the semifinals of the tournament, then forced Savate World Champion Gerard Goureau to retire in the final.

Gracie won UFC 2 and 4 and had legendary fights against Shamrock, Dan Severn and Kazushi Sakuraba en route to a Hall of Fame career. He is generally known as “The Godfather of MMA”.

“Gracie is the kind of athlete I want my people to learn and train with,” Turner said. “He is known all over the world.”

Chivichyan, meanwhile, is best known as a world-class MMA trainer — but he’s also never lost a competitive fight, winning multiple world championships in judo and jiu-jitsu. He was trained in wrestling by Gene LeBell, the first American judo champion who learned wrestling from masters Lou Thesz and Ed “Strangler” Lewis.

With his extensive knowledge of judo, sambo, catch wrestling, freestyle wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Chivichyan is considered one of the most complete grapplers of all time.

“I actually had the opportunity to work with Gokor on the mats and I couldn’t do anything with him,” Turner said. “He’s an incredible fighter and an incredible trainer who has brought many great athletes to the UFC.”

Chivichyan was named by Black Belt magazine as “Judo Instructor of the Year” in 1998 and received the prestigious “Hall of Fame” spot. Since then, his Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood, California has produced a new generation of fighters, such as Manvel Gamburyan, Sako Chivitchian, Neil Melanson, Karen Darabedyan, Roman Mitichyan and Karo Parisyan, who have competed in the arena of the UFC. , WEC, King of the Cage, Olympics and all National Judo Championships.

Chivichyan’s most famous apprentice is former UFC women’s star Ronda Rousey, who embarked on an acting and wrestling career in WWE.

“Gokor is also a pioneer in MMA,” Turner said. “He’s just phenomenal. He came out of 18-year-old retirement in 2019 and was winning gold medals and world championships.”

Brown, 41, may not be a trailblazer, but he has an incredible story. Brown’s nickname, “The Immortal”, was coined by his friends after he nearly died of a drug overdose. The prolific welterweight is 23-18 with 15 knockouts and five wins by submission.

“Matt is a great guy who will do a session on Saturday on striking techniques and Muay Thai,” Turner said. “Matt is going to hit with you. He’s had some very exciting UFC fights in his career.”

On Saturday, Feb. 26, Brown will begin his teen and adult session at 11:30 a.m.

Chivichyan will kick off the seminars at 8 a.m., with sessions on No Gi Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie will hold a session for children from 9 to 10 a.m.

The cost to participate in Legends Weekend is $150 for non-East/West members. Turner expects more than 100 attendees next month, which would eclipse the 93 who attended two years ago for a similar event with the great Anderson Silva.

Comments are closed.