Emil Martirossian Interview

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by Urban_Samurai, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Urban_Samurai

    Urban_Samurai Valued Member

    I am pleased to present to you this most interesting interview I did recently with up and coming martial artist and future action star from the UK, Emil Martirossian. Emil is one of the most dedicated martial artists out there and a proponent of the Urban Combat street self defense system, a reality based system of his own devising that emphasizes the spiritual and mental aspects as much as the physical. I hope you enjoy the interview.

    Hi Emil and thank you for doing this interview. Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about your martial arts background.

    Thank you for the opportunity. I have been training in martial arts for 27 years now. I started my training with my uncle Armick Martirossian, who was 7th dan black belt in WTF Tae Kwon Do then I moved on to doing Wing Chung for 5 years and then I went back and studied ITF Tae Kwon Do and attained my 1st dan black belt and achieved a gold medal at the national championships in 1994.

    I moved on to WTF Tae Kwon Do and I trained to 3rd Dan black belt and competed in full contact Tae Kwon Do, becoming British and European champion. Then I moved on to learning Jeet Kune Do while at the same time training in kick boxing and various other forms of martial arts including the five animal style Kung Fu. I was trained by Walter J Johnson who was Chris Eubanks WBO World Boxing Champion. His boxing coach Walter was also a Kung Fu master with over 40 years experience in the traditional forms such as Praying Mantis, Bau Gau, Chin Na, tiger form and monkey boxing.

    Then I trained with Clive McKenzie Esq. who was guru Dan Inosanto’s student back in 1978 to 1984. Then I continue to train with guru at his seminars in the UK. Also I have met and trained with my dear friend Sigung Taky Kimura, Bruce Lee’s highest ranked student.

    I also trained with Sibak Andy Kimura. I learned a lot from Andy, he really showed me the core principles of Jun Fan Gung Fu. It was an amazing experience. Now I continue my training with an ex senior Royal Marine commando who has trained me now in unarmed combat for 8 years. It’s the best form of self defense I have ever come across in my life. I have taken a piece of knowledge from every single instructor and made it my own form, Urban Combat.

    Could you explain for the readers what Urban Combat is and what the idea is behind it?

    It’s the next stage to surviving in the 21st century. In this century you get attacked by guns, bottles, knifes- there is a knife crime every 30 seconds in London. So my Urban Combat was devised for the 21st century to protect people from violent situations out on the street. We need to have a street self defense form that protects you from knifes and gun attacks, so Urban Combat was created by myself to counter attack the violence at this time so both you and your loved ones are safe.

    You seem to place a lot of emphasis on training the mind as much as the body. How important is it to have the proper mindset and how do you go about developing this mindset? Are there any particular exercises you do for this?

    It’s mind and body working in conjunction. Tai Chi is a very good form for relaxing the mind. Just letting your mind go loose and go to your happy spot. Your body will tell you what you’re capable of. A good way to train the mind is to listen to it. People that talk to themselves have a very good talker and a very good listener. Its very important in the martial arts world top instructors have the right mind and tune it and make it sharper.

    What do you think the proper mindset is for street self defense and how can the right mindset help in dealing with a violent confrontation?

    With knowledge you have power. If your brain tells you that you can deal with this confrontation in a second then you’re more likely to show confidence and more power and that would make an opponent back down. This comes to the basic fundamental in Urban Combat, which is balance, then mind and body come together and you try to talk to the attacker and reason with them, letting them know that they are at a disadvantage. Try to let your mind take over and talk your self out of the situation.

    In terms of street self defense, do you think having the right attitude and mindset is more important than actual technique?

    If it’s three o’clock in the morning and you feel there is danger, get a taxi. Simple. Let your awareness take control. Your mind is the best weapon there is, tune it, make it stronger, train it in anyway you can. Training and practice makes perfect- it’s that simple. If you have a good mindset, mind, body and soul will work together very well. If you’re walking home after a club at 3am in the morning and you don’t feel safe, always trust in your gut instinct and get a taxi home just to be safe. You could be the best fighter in the world but if you get attacked on the street and your brain can’t handle it, you’re going to lose. If a boxer gets in the ring and says to his manager, “This guy, he’s going to beat the crap out of me”, he eventually will and as long as your mind and body can be strong, you will win. You get in the ring and your brain says I can beat this guy but your body doesn’t agree, so your body lets your brain down. You could know a million techniques but if you haven’t got the mindset to use them and you need to defend your life or your families life, then its useless knowledge.

    Ground fighting or grappling is very popular in martial arts today. Do you think there is too much emphasis put on going to the ground, especially in self defense situations?

    In Urban Combat we have a saying, “He who is on top wins”. Ground fighting is good for people who are on the ground for competition, but in a street self defense situation you have to be upright. If you have trained yourself to strike with explosive power you don’t need to go to the ground. If you do go ground your at a disadvantage because in the street anything goes- his mate could stab you with a bottle or even shoot you. I don’t understand why anybody would go to the floor to fight. It’s okay for competition or for wrestling in the ring but not for real street situations.
    I think the more you train in martial arts the more you start to feel that there is something even bigger, some higher force. It opens ones mind, body and spirit.

    I see from your videos that you are not against using head kicks in self defense scenarios. I have had debates on this site on whether or not high kicks are effective for self defense (I personally think they are but only if you are good enough at doing them, as you obviously are). Would you recommend the use of high kicks in street self defense?

    I would. I will do what it takes to win if my life is in danger and with my training and my knowledge I know what will hurt and what will break. If someone has a gun in your face you do what it takes to make sure you stay alive and he is defeated.

    How do you feel about MMA? I am personally dislike it for its lack of depth (it is a sport) and the superiority complex it appears to be built around. It also does not take into account the many other factors involved in self defense like prevention tactics, the law and how to simply control an attacker without putting them in hospital. It seems to me all about winning, which is the wrong attitude to have in a self defense situation. Given this, do you think it should be advertising itself as an effective form of street self defense?

    Its way to aggressive, I agree with you on that. As If you start an attack with that much aggression, which you have in MMA and cage fighting, then you will get yourself stabbed or you will kill somebody, either way you will suffer. Urban Combat is BALANCE DEFENSE ATTACK so you could just walk away after just talking to someone. Cage fighting has no spiritual philosophy. I think martial arts have lost that spirituality. The philosophical essence is a very huge part of my Urban Combat. We strive to be good people and to resolve a conflict peacefully. MMA happens to be more about ego and more for show. MMA fighters are without doubt supreme athletes but it’s different in the ring to the street. On the street anything goes were as in the ring there are rules and regulations.

    Do you think traditional martial arts still have something to offer a modern society? If not, is this the reason why you created Urban Combat?

    Traditional martial arts are great for teaching body and mind to be focused. They are great to learn because they teach you the foundations of training. They were great for the 20th century but that’s gone now. Urban Combat is a 21st century fighting form created by me to keep you alive and free from being robbed, raped, crippled, and stabbed. Urban combat is here for self preservation. My history and my mind and my heart is in Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee’s form trained me for the 21st century. If Bruce lee was alive today he would evolved and gone into the 21st century with a whole bag of new toys for us to play with. I’m just here to add to Bruce Lee’s method and take it forward to the 21 century.

    Do you think its important that martial artists strike out on their own path and try to find their own truths, instead of just following someone else all the time?

    I think we all must learn and take in everything and discard what we are not going to use. And make our own form and put our own stamp on it.

    You are quoted as saying that you don’t teach the art of fighting, but the art of self discovery. How do you think the martial arts can help a person discover themselves?

    If you push yourself, if you go on a journey of learning then you will finally discover yourself. Not only will you know yourself but you will become one with your spirit. A kid playing on his wee bike does not know himself, he doesn’t know he can climb mountains, sky dive or wonder what’s its like deep down under the sea, that feeling of experiencing life. I truly think the children are now becoming like robots and they will never discover anything about them selves because they can never be bothered to try. Learning to do a back kick, that’s discovery, if you know what I mean.

    You hold the spiritual aspect of martial arts in high regard. How do you define spirituality in martial arts, because I think a lot of people struggle to understand this side of things and many people see this part of martial arts as mumbo jumbo and worthless to them and their training. How do you suggest people go about developing their spiritual being?

    I think the more you train in martial arts the more you start to feel that there is something even bigger, some higher force. Call it god, I don’t know really. It opens ones mind, body and spirit. A true martial artist should have the philosophical and the spiritual side and study it as well as the physical aspect. That’s what made Bruce Lee so special. He wasn’t just a fighter, he was heavily into philosophy and spirituality and he researched various forms of unarmed combat and he came up with his own truth, Jeet Kun Do, and that’s what every martial artist should be doing, working towards their own way. Because martial arts is a very personal thing who ever doesn’t agree with the spiritual aspect will never get or understand JKD or the martial arts in general, I think.

    You have said that martial arts is something that you are born with. Can you explain that?

    I believe that certain people are born to achieve greatness and certain people have a purpose they were born with. I truly believe there is a lot more to this world than meets the eye; everything that happens is for a deeper reason that we don’t know yet. I believe everyone on this planet has his or her special journey. From birth we all have our own special journey.

    If you could pass on just one piece of street self defence advice, what would it be?

    The best advice I can give in street self defence is be aware. Defence can sometimes mean running away.

    You are obviously very successful in what you do in life. What do you put that success down to and what advice would you give to people who want to push themselves and get in life?

    I have always striven to achieve and overcome, improvise and adapt, and aim as high as I can. Even if I live to a hundred I will never stop trying to improve myself and Urban Combat.

    You are very involved with film and TV work, with a small part in Batman Begins amongst other things to your credit. Do you see yourself as an action star of the future?

    Yes, I have been involved in the entertainment industry since 1995. I have worked on various TV soaps like The Bill, Baby Father 1 and 2, and Murder In Mind. I’ve also been interviewed for various TV shows here and in Japan. I really had a good time working on Batman Begins, I met a lot of good people, some really good martial artists on that shoot and I also got to experience the film industry from a whole different angle. It was a great experience for me. I have a couple of big feature films coming up next year so fingers crossed. I want to try and bring back some of that same Bruce Lee action, but with my own flavor. So hopefully I can showcase my Urban Combat on the big screen as well. Some call it JKD with an attitude lol… I take everything one step at a time. You never know what happens in the future. Anything is possible.

    Finally, Emil, you got to be in a Sugar Puffs ad on TV. How surreal was it working with the Honey Monster?

    Yes, that was allot of fun and a very easy shoot. That Honey Monster is massive hahaha… did’nt realise how big it is in real life. Obviously it’s all controlled electronically, but yes it was great fun, its always fun being on the set and meeting new people and doing positive things.

    Emil, thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.

    Read more and claim your free e-book on street self defense at my blog Urban Samurai
  2. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Bit daft don't you think starting a question with how MMA is a sport and then blasting it because, if trained with a pure sport approach, it lacks certain aspects relevant for self defence?

    Also I think some people would do well if they stopped confusing the showmanship they see on the UFC with MMA exponents in general. Some of those comments do the guys and gals that train in it a huge dis-service and IMO makes you and the guy you are interviewing come of as being insecure.

    Another thing. Your points about ground fighting ignore the fact that even if you don't want to be on the ground that doesn't mean you won't end up there. So you better bloody well be able to do something about it due to the very reasons you preach for not taking things there in the first place.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  3. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    What's this guys experience with actual real world violence?

    Does he have any or is it all just theory?

    Has any of his system come from experience or is it all just drawn from what others have told him?
  4. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away

    Was the interviewer also the interviewee?
  5. Fire-quan

    Fire-quan Banned Banned

    Look him up on youtube.... Or, check his threads on JKD forum.
  6. february

    february Valued Member

    Aaah, Emil. You do make me LOL.
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Valued Member

    Hi there, I've trained with Emil and he's a good guy. I don't know his 'street' experience, but I do know his martial arts expertise is phenominal. He's also a great instructor, which is a different ball game from being solely a great martial artist. You don't have to look him up on-line, as Martial Arts Illustrated magazine regularly features Emil.

    I've trained in grappling, and continue to do so, which I enjoy. I believe it's invaluable backup, in case you end up there. However, some renowned guys have managed with solely solid stand-up in reality, e.g. John Anderson who tutored Geoff Thompson on the door. (I've done one of John's seminars.)

    I'm a big fan of MMA. However, it's fair to say that MMA doesn't teach you how to talk yourself out of the situation. MMA might also get you in trouble. You fight how you train and doing a takedown on someone might land you in the ground where others can give you a kicking. Also, the spiritual aspect will be important for some and MMA certainly omits this aspect.
  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    (Also, the spiritual aspect will be important for some and MMA certainly omits this aspect.)

    You temper steel in the fire, not by talking to it about fire.
  9. Commander Nitro

    Commander Nitro Valued Member

    Whew, that's a long post. Just wondering if he actually knows how to do this stuff
  10. wushurichard

    wushurichard Banned Banned

    Wow :p master emsil you are excsellent

  11. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Really . . . who cares about what this guy says about Martial Arts.
  12. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    Nobody with half a clue.
  13. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Also, stop talking about JKD.

    Emil a fake JKD practitioner and teacher. He has no qualifications.

    He doesn't know any of it, so he should stop talking about it.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  14. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    MMA is too aggressive? A sport taking place in a controlled environment is way too dangerous for use on the streets?
  15. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Author, why do you feel it necessary to attack other arts during your interview?

    Why do you feel it necessary to single out MMA in your article. I do not understand the bias contained herein.

    If you are interested in being an author and an interviewer you should really working on your grammar. Saying things like "I am personally dislike it for its lack of depth" makes it seem like you do not have a grasp on the English language. It makes it very hard for me to take what you write seriously. Also this little gem makes it even harder for me to take your criticism seriously: "It seems to me all about winning."

    If you would like me to proof read your future publications, just send me a PM.


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