GL insidekarate

I have always believed that it is critical to have hero’s/role models in any area in which you desire to be accomplished.  They motivate, inspire and teach you what it takes to rise to their level – success has a blueprint.  One of my all-time favorite martial artists is “Judo” Gene LeBell.  In his 70’s now, Mr. LeBell has certainly seen it all and done it all!  Check out this Karate Illustrated interview that will give you some insights into the man called by Chuck Norris “the toughest man alive.” – Kyoshi

The only way to capture the flavor of Gene LeBell is to present a one-on-one interview. The main problem is that Gene has a reputation for realism in his interviews, i e., to really understand the technique, you have to experience it In other words, there is the ever-present specter of pain looming over the horizon. Oh, well That’s why I’m being paid the big bucks (Which one of you just chuckled?).

“Judo” Gene arrived with his entourage early one morning When he left, I had suffered no major dislocations or contusions and only minor abrasions. I had also acquired a great deal of knowledge which had eluded me in my 20year study of the arts. And now I can safely state that any know-it-all who smugly shakes his head and turns his back on the knowledge of Gene LeBell is most definitely ignoring invaluable knowledge and is most likely reacting to the threat of having some myths shattered LeBell, who teaches one night a week at the Welcome Mat Dojo in Los Angeles, was surprisingly bright and articulate, After all, in spite of the crazed impression he gives off to maintain the professional wrestling image, he is a teacher and a scholar. He also threatened to “stretch” me it I told anyone what he was really like, so I hope you appreciate the risk I’m taking in the name of journalistic integrity.

Inside Karate: “Judo” Gene, in most of your pictures you have a bit of a crazed look is that for professional wrestling image purposes?
Gene LeBell: It’s because I am crazy! Seriously, that’s part of why People pay money to see a professional wrestling match and they deserve to be entertained. But there’s also a martial purpose for it.  (At this point. Gene got a wild look m his eye and stepped forward, touching my shoulder. I reacted by backing away.)  You see, I actually didn’t use any pressure at all But because I looked out of my mind, your defensive instincts kicked in. Your subconscious wanted to protect you and it triggered a reaction. Looking crazy or menacing can give you a real edge In a fight because the guy’s subconscious will be screaming, “Get the heck out of here!” On the other hand, looking afraid can make the other guy relax so you can catch him off guard. If you put your hands up and start pleading. his defenses aren’t up Then you stretch him ! Acting is an important part of martial arts, believe it or not

IK: You’re a high-ranking judoka. Do you still believe in traditionalism?

GL: To a point. Like everybody, I have my likes and dislikes I think judo is one of the most effective martial arts around. A guy can take a punch or a kick maybe, but can he take being dumped on his head? Can he take being choked? I’m not real big on kata. I think it develops bad habits. I know in Japan when I first tested for my black belt, we had to spend hours doing kata after kata and prove we could do it. Then we got to fight for our belts.

IK: So what you teach is very modified.

GL: Well, of course. Most of my finishing holds would be illegal in judo. I’m interested in ending the fight. That was actually taught to me by a dog.

IK: A dog?

Gene LeBellGL: Uh-huh. I asked what’s the best fighting style and he said, “Rough, rough, rough.” Just remember, Knute Rockne said, “it matters not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Gene LeBell says, “The only thing that counts is the final score.” In the street, there are no referees. Another thing that bugs me about traditionalists is the way they stick to their techniques. The best strategy is to beat them with what they don’t know.

IK: So you take the eclectic approach.

GL: Actually, I take the knife, club, gun and vial of poison approach. And if that doesn’t work, fight dirty. When different martial arts were introduced in this country, they were very effective because nobody knew them. A street fighter didn’t run up against a man who could kick, and when he did, he didn’t know how to deal with it. Now, through movies and television, most people have some basic familiarity with martial arts. They’re prepared for a kick. I have a philosophy at my dojo. Everybody that comes in I teach something, but I also learn from them. I hate to say it, but most karate guys who kick high in the street wouldn’t stand a chance against a football player. Once you get that leg up, all your weight’s committed to that supporting foot and you’re a real easy tackle.

IK: Okay. Let me ask it this way. Are you down on traditional organized martial arts?

GL: No, I think they’re very important for three reasons. One, they build confidence. Two, they build character. Three, they can be very effective if you know how to apply them right. It’s not so much the moves, but knowing how and when to use them and who to use what on. Of course, this is after you throw salt in his eyes. I’m a fan of all martial arts. They all have something good and they all have something to offer. The problem comes in when a guy gets some superhuman ideas in his head and starts believing some dangerous myths, like a guy’s gonna run away when you kiai or you’re gonna put someone down with one punch or kick.

IK: Is there one factor that you think is more important than anything else for a martial artist?

GL: Absolutely. Being in shape. If you’re in shape, that’s more than half the battle. Part of the reason Bruce Lee was so good was because he was in such terrific shape. He could do pushups on one finger. A lot of people who learn his moves can’t do them because they aren’t in his kind of condition.

IK: Are there any martial artists currently on the scene who you feel stand out?

GL: Bill Wallace. Without question. And Benny Urquidez. Because they know how to make what they have work. Danny Inosanto. He’s one of the best there is. They all do a lot of grappling, and they recognize how important it is.

IK: You also do a lot of stunt work in films?

GL: I’ve got about 30 years in movies now. I do a lot of stunt work and stunt coordinating. I teach a lot of stunt guys to fall at my dojo, although I don’t teach stunts there.

K: Do you have a personal self-defense strategy?

GL: Shotgun, nerve gas, poison darts…

IK: Seriously.

GL: I am serious. What I try to do is humiliate rather than hurt. You can do a lot when you know how to control the other person’s body.

IK: Is there any personal advice you’d like to give our readers?

GL: Buy my book.

IK: I mean of a martial arts nature.

GL: Buy my book or get stretched.

IK: How about this. Is there any final parting wisdom you’d like to give serious practitioners of the martial way?

GL: Sure. Fight the good fight. Use everything you have. If that doesn’t work, cheat.
Cheat anyway..gene_in_martialarts5


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 Have you ever lost control of your emotions and done something, or said something you regret?  If you said “Yes” you are both honest and human.

Chances are good that you acted in a way that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t lost control of your emotions.  Anger tends to bring out a very negative and ugly side of people. Most of us nderstand that positive emotions and attitudes are far more productive than negative ones.

Anger is your enemy…  It can cause serious damage.

 You must avoid allowing this dangerous negative emotion to take control. Avoidance, prevention and preparation are always the best defense against any dangerous enemy.

You can eliminate almost any negative emotion from your life, if you laugh more, keep a good sense of humor and focus on positive emotions.

Smile more, stay healthy and be physically active everyday. Focus on happy thoughts, listen…

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A true Champion radiates the confidence that all obstacles and challenges can be overcome and all their goals can be attained.

Optimism inspires and empowers people to believe that they can do more and become better than ever before. It is one of the most powerful qualities for high achieving individuals.

You learn to become an optimist by modeling the behaviors of other positive, optimistic, action oriented Champions.


Champions are “I Can Do It!” people. They look for the good in every situation and always find a lesson to learn from setbacks. They never allow doubt to cloud their thinking.

Champions focus on the future rather than the past. They look for the opportunity in every difficulty. They look for what can be done now, instead of worrying about what has happened in the past.

“Your Past does not equal your Future!” Tony Robbins

Champions are very solution oriented. They focus on the solution and the next step, rather than the problem. They know you can change your mind from negative to positive in one second by focusing exclusively on solutions and taking positive steps to correct your course of action.

Think like a Champion…Think and Be Optimistic!

Shouting_Banner copyBeing an eager student of the Martial Arts and training in a great academy, with a great team, is a very positive and extremely rewarding experience.

Besides the many benefits of Martial Arts training, there are also the many great friendships and supportive relationships that are developed through our training together.

“Shouting from the Rooftops” is simply a saying for spreading the word about all the good that is going on in your life, your academy and with your teammates.

Face it, the real world is filled with so much negative news.

The academy is filled with an endless supply of positive news and events, which is why we encourage you to “Shout from the Roof Tops!”

All too often, people only talk about the negative news of the day and in their lives. When you shout from the rooftops, you are doing exactly the opposite, you are sharing all the good news and spreading a much needed positive spirit to everyone you speak.

It could be something as simple as spreading the word about an upcoming event, a recent Black Belt Spectacular, a seminar, an awesome class, a Belt Promotion, or maybe it’s inviting a friend to attend a Buddy Class or come in to watch a class.

Champions are always eager to spread the good word about what is going on. The more you influence your inner circle of family and friends about the Martial Arts, the greater interest and support they will provide to you in your journey.

You’ll also find the more you talk about positives and the “good stuff” in life, the more you’ll attract them!

It’s been proven many times over that exercise is good for your mind, body and spirit. Martial Arts training is a very well rounded form of exercise… it increases your flexibility, increases your strength and endurance, plus it’s a lot of fun.

The martial arts lifestyle is an active year round form of exercise, healthy eating and positive self-development. It teaches powerful life skills such as goal-setting, respect and self discipline. You also learn to live by a set of values and principles that lead toward a higher level of success and achievement.

Cool Kick

It teaches you to have better self-control and it constantly works to build self-confidence. There are always goals built into the training that can be very exciting, challenging and rewarding. Teamwork and Leadership are core aspects of becoming a Black Belt Champion. This teaches you to be supportive and encouraging with your classmates, co-workers, family and friends.

Ever feel like you’re about to burst with energy? How do you learn to aim it and tame it for useful purposes? Train!

Ever feel down in the dumps and a bit depressed? What’s the best way to get yourself back up and energized? Train!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out by the hustle and pressure of demands of your time? What should you do? Train!

Everyone always feels better after a great training session.  Steady class attendance and training hard has proven time and again to have far more positive benefits that negative. That’s not to say that there aren’t those rare occasions that your body needs rest instead of training. However, your greatest victories in life are likely to occur when your martial arts training and conditioning are on an upward climb. What’s the message here?

Train! Train! Train!

Black Belt Champions have the courage to face and overcome the FUD’s that prevent most people from achieving their dreams.

What are FUD’s? Fears…Uncertainties & Doubts!

To a well trained Champion, fear is merely an obstacle that must be dealt with in their journey of excellence. Overcoming your fears, uncertainties and doubts is essential to becoming a high achiever.

Experts agree that fear is the number one reason why most people fail to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams. The fear of failure often results in never even getting started. Fear can hold people back and destroy their dreams and desires. It can destroy their chances for success and achievement in any area of life.


Champions face their fears and develop the courage and commitment to achieve their goals and objectives. They are willing to confront the same fears that hold most people back from ever realizing their true potential.

Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain!

Many people enter into martial arts training with some FUD’s, some fear that they won’t be able to complete certain requirements or they won’t have the discipline or ability to achieve their goals. However, those that trust and respect their Sensei’s coaching and guidance will grow to greater levels of success and achievement than they have ever dreamed!

Our International Award-Winning Leadership Team has helped thousands of people overcome their fears and develop the courage of a Black Belt Champion. They will help you too!

Most people deeply involved in the Martial Arts, see it as a lifestyle, and a powerful personal self development program.

Most of us like to train hard year round, and push ourselves to higher levels of skill, conditioning and achievement, in and out of the dojo.

It’s part of being a successful achiever. Everyone has times that you’re at a peak …mentally, physically and emotionally.

Peaks & Valley's

Especially as you prepare for, or after you achieve a big goal. Like a rank promotion, or simply when you’re making strong gains in your progress.

We’d all like to be able to stay at this peak level on a consistent basis.

However, for most people, there will be occasional setbacks or obstacles that can cause you to level off a bit. At times it may even feel like you’re slipping backwards, due to injury, illness or obstacles of life.

We call these ebbs and flows the Peaks…Valleys & Plateaus of training.

Injuries, distractions or other setbacks occur that may create temporary stalls in your progress. The sooner you understand this process, the faster you’ll get back into a positive and progressive direction.

Plateaus can be used as short term, temporary resting spots. Maybe it’s a maintenance training period or even a planned and deserved recharge.

Peaks – Valleys – Plateaus. Everyone experiences these natural processes somewhere in the course of their training.

The goal is to create as many peak cycle periods as possible, then plan out your rest and maintenance periods. Good habits, a positive mindset and proper planning will allow you to minimize the setbacks that can cause the valleys of despair and discouragement.