Living by the Fist: Looking into the life of a MMA fighter
It was a pleasant Sunday morning when I met Gohar Gul at his training center. I entered with a sense of opportunity that I’ll see some great martial arts techniques and I wasn’t disappointed. After getting in, I saw this incredibly ripped individual walking towards me. Chest pumped up, muscles hardened, he was a man of great stature with a physique many of us wish to have. Gohar Gul is a very renowned mixed martial artist instructor in Karachi, Pakistan. He has trained different enthusiastic individuals who love the sport like no other. His students have performed in different arenas all around the world. Gohar Gul has represented Pakistan in many events, winning quite a few of them. He is not only a mixed martial artist but also conducts fitness programs in different areas of Karachi.
He has had great experience working in different schools and institutes. He has provided training for five colourful years in Beaconhouse School System. Not only is a trained as the arts of MMA, but he is a Hafiz-e-Quran as well.
When it comes to his skills he has travelled all over the world to get perfection in his sport.
He is a Black Belt 2nd Dan from International Martial Arts Association Hall Of Fame and a Black parajit in Muay Thai Kick Boxing. He got his Black Belt 1st Dan from WTF headquarters situation in Kukkiwon, Korea. Along with a two year diploma in Physical Education, he received a K.I.K.A/KBMA Masters degree from UK. He also has been inducted in the International Combat Martial Arts Union Association.
When it comes to his individual awards, he has a never ending list. He has won several tournaments. May it be concerned with Martial Arts or Body Building Competitions.
I got the chance to ask Pakistan’s Mixed Martial Artist, Gohar Gul some questions.
Saad Shafqat: Assalam o Alaikum, how are you?
Gohar Gul: Alhamdulilah, I’m very well.
SS: Can you tell us about yourself?
GG: Well Saad, my name is Gohar Gul as you already know. I belong from Nowshera, KPK. I’ve worked at many fitness institutions all over Pakistan. It all started from Islamabad. I’m now 45 years old. Living and enjoying life.
SS: How did it all begin? Did you have any affection for MMA from the start?
GG: No, I didn’t have any affection for this sport when I was a kid. MMA was something I had to go in as I was not well off. I didn’t have the financial backing to do a job. But by Allah’s will, I excelled in this sport by working hard, getting the approval and praise from my coaches and now the rest his history.
SS: What is MMA actually?
GG: MMA is like the emblem of this art of fighting. There are different styles of the same category. Muay Thai is one, which is practiced more in Thailand. Whilst, kickboxing is a more Western approach. Jujitsu is another. But MMA is the mixture. It’s like, “When you make a shake of a single fruit it’s not as good as a shake which has more fruits. The shake which has more fruits is considered to have more nutrients and advantages.” Same is the case with MMA.
SS: How do you feel when people from all age brackets come to you for training, especially kids?
GG: Well, it’s a feeling that I can relate to my background. I always want the kids to never face hardships like I did. I want them to feel that they can do great in life. I want to give them my best so that, I myself can be satisfied. I’ve seen people use this art as a nuisance as well and that is very saddening.
SS: Is it based on a person’s conscience that he/she uses this sport? Your opinion on this?
GG: Yes Saad, it is but it also depends on how you convey the training. It’s how you make your training environment. For example “an electric wire can be used to light a switch to provide light or it can be used to shock somebody as well.” So it’s about the way you guide, it’s about how you take the steps to teach.
SS: Since when have you been teaching MMA in Karachi?
GG: A lifetime has gone by. I’ve been in this sport since 1980. I used to teach MMA at ActOne, but now I’m here at Ground Zero along with a couple of other trainers who are dedicated to teach. I also give training to people at Ameer Khosro Park in the evening, whilst online fitness classes are also in my daily routine.
SS: Are any of your students practicing this sport abroad or in Pakistan?
GG: Yes Ma Shaa Allah, many of my students are. They have achieved success as well in many countries like Malaysia, England and Canada.
SS: How do you see MMA’s future in Pakistan?
GG: The future seems to be very bright in Pakistan. The people have more knowledge about this sport now and want to learn more. It is a great sign. I see people excelling in this art.
SS: Do you see the government officials supporting this sport in the near future?
GG: I would not like to talk about the governmental influence. It’s our own country and we should love it, whatever the reasons are. I would want the governing bodies to support the field, but it depends primarily on the person who wants to achieve success. If he or she wills to achieve it, he can. If one has the ability and the drive, they can succeed.
SS: Do you like any other sports?
GG: MMA is everything to me. I love, breath and live in the MMA world.
SS: What message do you want to give to the people of Pakistan through your sport?
GG: MMA is a very good sport. People should come and try to make it more viral. It not only improves you physically but mentally as well. It helps you achieve more for yourself and yes it’s good for your own self-defense.
SS: Thank you so much for taking out time for an interview.
GG: It was my pleasure Saad to give an interview. It’s very pleasing for me and my students to know there are people who appreciate the art of MMA.