Arabs MMA had the chance to visit Shogun II and have a chat with Team Shogun Manager and instructor Louai Kiblawi who happens to be the son of the pioneer of Muay Thai, Master Sami Kiblwai, to discuss his views on MMA in the Arab region and upcoming Shogun fighters.
For the few people who don’t know, Shogun is an MMA gym which is very well known in the region for its supreme Muay Thai skills. A lot of Local and Arab champions came out from this gym and excelled in their martial arts career all over the region.
Here is what Mr. Louai Kiblawi had to say about it:
“With the rise of mixed martial arts in the Arab world, the need to have a local professional MMA gym has increased. Shogun has shown to be a proof of satisfaction of this need. The Shogun team has lately been revealed to be one of the best teams in the region. We recently took 1st place in the 1st Jiu-Jitsu Lebanese championship. We had the least number of participants but won the most gold medals. (Our team had 5 players and won 4 gold medals and one silver medal) We also had some impressive wins in Revolution Fighting Championship (RFC) and Desert Force MMA championships.
Furthermore, MMA in the Arab region has been booming in the last three years. There are so many organizations and championships, but the main one that is being followed by approximately everyone is the Desert Force Championship (DFC). We are proud to say that we have two fighters (Mohamad Fakhreddine and Mohamad Karaki) who are competing in the next Desert Force which will take place in March 2013. And who knows? Maybe some of our new players will also qualify for new upcoming championships.
Our players are being trained with the finest training there is. Karaki is refining his stand up game with the help and supervision of Master Sami Kiblawi.Top notch Wresling and Conditioning training from Dagistani professional instructor M-zahid
Magomedovich and fellow MMA fighter, Elias “The Predator” Baaklini. Moreover, Fakhreddine is currently abroad for 2 weeks in a training camp in USA with the 7 times world champion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Andre Galvoa. Our players are training 2 to 3 times each day hoping that at the end of the day, we will reach our much anticipated goal. The difficulty level is increasing with each time, but hopefully, we will overcome these difficulties and be able to reach the finals and have a Desert Force Champ from Lebanon.
Master Sami Kiblawi in the Shogun II Cage
Unfortunately, we cannot compare the skills of Arab MMA athletes to those abroad because we are not backed up financially and morally by governmental authorities. Here, MMA players come from long working hours to face long sleepless nights full of training. Abroad, MMA players are paid considerable amounts of money to train. Being an MMA athlete is a well-paying and appreciated career outside the Arab world. On the other hand, when it comes to Lebanon, we are so proud to have so many MMA fighters as the game’s popularity is increasing more and more. Our level of skills has improved so greatly that it has become between the top 3 in the Arab world. Jordanians have become very skilled and improved, so I guess that they are the best in the Arab region.
Finally, I wish that all MMA clubs in Lebanon would unite forming a union/syndicate (including all of the clubs). Also, there should be a Lebanese MMA championship which would fortify the unity between all Lebanese MMA teams through the spirit of healthy competition. This unity would act as a sort of medicine for Lebanese sports in general since after all, as they say, “One hand doesn’t clap alone” or “There’s no I in team”. I also hope that in a couple of years, Lebanon will become the birthplace of many professional MMA fighters who optimistically will be able to fight in international organizations. (Maybe in the UFC one day… Who knows?)
Last but not least, I would like to give a big thank you to our sponsors “PRO-SEC” which is owned by Elio and Georges who are part of the Shogun Family. Also, I would tremendously like to thank my father and a loyal coach of the Shogun family, the Grand master Sami Kiblawi. I would also like to pay my respect for Arabs MMA, for taking this initiative to interview me. Thank you, for working hard to support and promote our local and Arab MMA fighters through covering all MMA related events and activities in the Arab world. The Arab world needs more people like you.”
The Arabs MMA family would like to thank Louai Kiblawi for taking time from his busy schedule and sharing his opinion, insight, and expertise on the topic of MMA in the Arab world.