In what is the first of what will be a continuing series of interviews with Pakistan’s top Martial Artists we got a chance to get some information from Gohar Gul who teaches Muay Thai, Karate, Kung Fu and TKD in Karachi.
You can visit his website at www.thes3.org which I suggest you check out after reading the interview. We’ll most definitely follow up with Gohar Gul later at some point and see how his training and teaching is going. On with the interview.
Q1: What is your opinion on the state of martial arts in Pakistan today?
A:The tragedy with Pakistan is there is abundant talent but nowhere to showcase it and no people to appreciate it. Martial Arts as a profession is not an option as a consequence there isn’t a bright future in it.
Q2: Why and when did you first start training Martial Arts? What is your Martial Arts history?
A:I am the only child of my parents and due to an accident my parents passed away. I decided to move to Islamabad and survived there in some very adverse conditions for a few years. Here in 1980 I got the chance to train with Irfan Bhatti in the art of Ninjitsu or Ninja form. With no other options I devoted myself completely to the art and soon became his number one apprentice. I earned my black belt in 1982. In 1986 they sent me to compete in Thailand where I managed to earn the 3rd place in the competition, a feat as I was the youngest fighter in the tournament.
Q3: What are your top 3 greatest achievements?
1. (Champion of the year(1982)
a. 1st Position in 3 events (sparring, nunchak, bo)
2. Muay Thai champion ship 3rd position (Thailand) (1986)
3. British open karate tournament 2nd position (England) (1992)
Q4: Do you follow MMA? Do you have any favorite fighters?
I’m aware of MMA and its increasing popularity. However, I am unable follow MMA because of many reasons. Although I’d like to! My student has shown me some fights of Anderson Silva, Mirko Crocop they are quite impressive.
Q5; Would you ever consider taking part in Mixed Martial Arts competition?
A: I’m a fighter, that’s who I am. I would love to take part in MMA competition although I am very fit 39, the key deciding factor would be sponsorship.
Q6:Do you have a favorite Muay Thai fighter?
Yes I like
• Master Apidej Sit Hirun,
• Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn,
• Samart Payakaroon,
• Changpuek Kiatsongrit,
• Bunkerd Faphimai
• Ramon Dekker
Q7: What is your favorite technique?
A: I don’t favor a particular technique; I do prefer a specific strategy, which is to always conceal your true intentions when attacking.
Q8: If you could do one Martial Art only what would it be and why?
A: Kyokushin Karate, This in my opinion is the most difficult well rounded martial art in the world.
Q9: What advice can you give people who want to defend themselves on the street?
A: Pakistan, can be a violent place sometimes, mobile snatching and robberies are common place. Although it is not wise to engage these hard core criminals, sometimes you have no options. The best weapon for that is your own body!
I’ll tell you a story, a few months back me and my wife stepped out to take a walk near our apartment. Two people on a motorcycle pulled up and I instinctively knew they were here to rob us. As soon as the motorcycle stopped the passenger came down and reached for his gun. At this point my wife started saying “ give them what they want”, but I was already in motion I grabbed his hand which was on the gun. Controlling the gun hand I blocked his attacks and punched him a few times, and then disarmed him. By this time his partner had ran away and a crowd gathered, we took the crook to the police station.
Q10: What is the most important lesson a person can learn from training in the Martial Arts?
A: Self Discipline and the belief that he can overcome any challenge, any difficulty
Thanks for your time! For anyone living in Karachi who would want to train with you where do you teach and what are the timings?
I’m running a Club, named by Gohar’s modern martial arts academy it is in Gulshan-e-Iqbal the timings are 10:00 pm to 11:30 pm
I also take private classes in Defense / Clifton timings are almost from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm.