World Black Belt Founding Members

Gene LeBell

Gene LeBell

"All of the top Martial Artists in the world are joining the team of WorldblackBelt. Don't be left out."

It is 1953 and WorldBlackBelt Founding Member Gene LeBell, "The Toughest Man Alive," is in training for the 1954 AAU United States National Judo Championships, he is working on his upper body strength for his throws. So what does Gene do to get ready, weight training…no way, too routine. Tons of push-ups and chin-ups…nope, not challenging enough.

Never accused of being a conformist, Gene simply did what no other human could, he trained six hours a day for one year, using his own unique and unconventional training methods like the "Tire Toss." Gene lifted motorcycle tires straight up, with his elbows above his shoulders, and then throwing the tires he marched the entire length of a football field until he got end zone where he celebrated by tossing the tire over the goal post. Then Gene turned around and went back the other way. Gene's legendary strength and extraordinary dedication led Gene to back-to-back National Judo Heavyweight Championships in 1954 and 1955.

"I've never met anyone like Gene, he is the Incredible Hulk in real life,"says Gene's close friend and WorldBlackBelt Founder Bob Wall. Gene was actually once disqualified from a Judo tournament because the officials felt he was using too much strength. Having a hard time finding worthy opponents, Gene even took on a bear…and won.

Being the son of Aileen Eaton, the remarkable woman who controlled the male dominated Los Angeles boxing and wrestling scene as the owner of the landmark Olympic Auditorium, Gene grew up in the company of fighting heroes like Muhammad Ali, Jerry Quarry, Gorgeous George, Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, Sugar Ray Robinson and Archie Moore, just to name a few.

"The Man in the Pink Gi," Gene LeBell is truly an incredibly original Martial Arts renaissance man, and this is reflected in his many alias. In the 1960s, Gene got into professional wrestling and became known as the infamous "Hangman," where he won fans and championship belts throughout the world. Unfortunately, for Gene he lost one of those belts just 12 seconds after winning it, after he accidentally hit the commissioner in the head while proudly flaunting his belt.

In 1963, Gene participated in the first "Martial Artist vs. Boxer" event when he took on and choked out Milo Savage. Savage was greased head to toe and wearing brass knuckles, but after four action filled rounds Gene finally got a hold of the slippery Savage and applied one of his famous chokeholds. This fight is available on VHS in the Products Section at A few years later, Gene was the third man in the ring of the most famousMartial Artist vs. Boxer battle when he refereed Muhammad Ali's fight with Antonio Inoki.

Naturally, Gene's colorful personality and superb Martial Art skill led him into the entertainment world. Gene has appeared in more than One Thousand movies and television shows. Next time you are going to the movies or television channel surfing at home, don't be surprised if you spot Gene. Whether it's fighting with Bruce Lee on the Green Hornet TV series, or playing Rodney Dangerfield's stunt double in the upcoming comedy "The 4th Tenor," Gene makes a lasting impression.

With former star students like Elvis Presley, Chuck Norris, and Bob Wall, Gene's primary love remains teaching and he always packs them in at his popular seminars and at his regular 7:30 p.m. Monday Night Grappling Class at his student Gokor Chivichyan's school, which is located at 5123 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 214, Hollywood California. For more information on Gene's seminar schedule or classes visit or

You can read his biography on our WorldBlackBelt Founding Members Page. Don't forget to check out Gene's fantastic own personal website at and be sure to pick up a copy of his brilliant "Gene LeBell's Grappling World, The Encyclopedia of Finishing Holds," and also view Gene's incredible six part videotape training series.

Keep a look out for more new and exciting exclusive Gene LeBell products and features at "WorldBlackBelt, The Ultimate Martial Arts Community!"

If you would like to contact Gene LeBell you can do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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