The Godfather of Grappling
The Grappling Club Master
Pro Wrestling Finishing Holds
About "Judo" Gene LeBell
Wrestling has been in existence since the beginning of man, and the famed master of the sport is none other than “Judo” Gene LeBell, former World Professional Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and two time A.A.U. All Around Judo Champion.
Gene LeBell has been a pioneer and cornerstone in every sporting field he has entered. In the martial arts, he captured the National A.A.U. Heavyweight and Overall Judo Championships in 1954, and again in 1955 - long before Judo became an Olympic sport and was broadly appreciated in the western world.
LeBell has made himself the nicknames "Judo" Gene LeBell, "The Godfather of Grappling" and also "The Toughest Man Alive" for his participation in combat sports. He has trained with or taught grappling skills to many well-known wrestlers and martial artists such as Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Bob Wall, Chuck Norris, Ed Parker, Gokor Chivichyan, Karo Parisyan, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Mando Guerrero, Manny Gamburyan and Ronda Rousey.
Gene is considered by many to be the founding father of mixed martial arts. His contributions to judo, stunt-work, acting, wrestling and mixed martial arts have made him a modern icon and formative influence on many contemporary stars. The videos below include stories and testimonies of Gene's influence and interactions with Ronda Rousey, Bruce Lee, Joe Rogan, Roddy Piper, Chuck Norris and many others.