Tag Archives: Wrestling

Jew of the Week: Bill Goldberg

World Champion of Wrestling

Bill Goldberg

Bill Goldberg

William Scott Goldberg (b. 1966 ) was born in Oklahoma to a Jewish family of Romanian and Russian heritage. He grew up going to Tulsa’s Temple Israel, where he had his bar mitzvah, and playing football from a young age. Goldberg studied at the University of Georgia on a football scholarship, and was drafted into the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams in 1990. He played for several teams over the next five years, but his career was cut short with a serious abdominal injury. While doing rehab for this injury, Goldberg started mixed martial arts training. He was soon spotted by some wrestlers who suggested he take up the sport, so he began training at the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) school, called the Power Plant. Goldberg had his first match in the summer of 1997, and went undefeated for nearly 80 matches before winning the US Heavyweight Championship. By the summer of 1998, he defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg continued to mesmerize audiences around the globe, and became the world’s highest-paid wrestler, making $2.5 million a year. In 2001, while he was recovering from another injury, the WCW was bought out by WWF, and the new company did not take on his contract. Goldberg went on to wrestle in Japan, then came back to the US and joined the WWE. He had his last match in 2004 at WrestleMania XX, which he won. In 2006, Goldberg began working as a commentator for various mixed martial arts events. Meanwhile, he has starred in eleven films, and made appearances on 26 television shows. Goldberg is also a big advocate for animal rights and welfare, and has even addressed Congress on behalf of this cause. Goldberg has always been proud of his Jewish heritage, and refused to wrestle on Yom Kippur. Today, he runs a mixed-martial arts gym in California, and visits sick children in the hospital in his spare time.

Words of the Week

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
– Aldous Huxley

Jews of the Week: Imi Lichtenfeld and Roy Elghanayan

Krav Maga & The Jewish Bruce Lee

Lichtenfeld

Lichtenfeld

Imre Lichtenfeld (1910-1998) was born in Budapest and grew up in Bratislava. His father was a police chief inspector who also owned the Hercules Gymnasium where he taught acrobatics and self-defense. Training under his father, Lichtenfeld became Slovakia’s Wrestling Champion, Boxing Champion, and Gymnastics Champion. In response to rising anti-Semitism in the 1930s, he put together a group of Jewish boxers that defended local communities from thugs. He realized that his training was of little help in real-life combat situations, so he started developing a new system of self-defense based on practical techniques, natural motions, and “simultaneous defense and attack”. In 1940, Lichtenfeld left Czechoslovakia due to the Nazi invasion and joined the Free Czech Legion, fighting alongside the British Army in North Africa. After two years of distinguished service, he finally made his way to Israel, and was immediately recruited to train the fighters of Haganah and Palmach (the Jewish defense groups that later became the IDF). His very effective self-defense system became known as Krav Maga – “contact combat” or “close combat”. With the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, Lichtenfeld (now better known by his Hebraicized name Imi Sde-Or) was appointed the IDF’s Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness and Krav Maga. He served in this role for the next 20 years, then shifted his focus to training Israeli police, while also opening two training centres for the general public in Tel-Aviv and Netanya. In 1995, he founded the International Krav Maga Federation.

Elghanayan (courtesy: bjjlegends.com)

Elghanayan (courtesy: bjjlegends.com)

Perhaps the best-known Krav Maga expert today is Roy Elghanayan (b. 1984),¬†nicknamed the “Jewish Bruce Lee”. He began his training in Krav Maga and martial arts at an early age, and his skills were quickly recognized when he joined the IDF. He soon became the Chief Instructor of Krav Maga for the Israeli Special Forces. He holds a 4th Degree Black Belt, and is recognized as Israel’s Official International Ambassador for Authentic Krav Maga. He is also the only person to hold two Israeli Krav Maga national championship titles. Over the years, he has developed his own unique style, and has taught self-defense all over the world, including to the LAPD and the CIA. He currently runs a Krav Maga club in Los Angeles, and has also choreographed fights for some Hollywood films. When asked about the secret ingredient in his diet, he answered: “I only eat kosher protein”. Click here to see Elghanayan in action.

Words of the Week

Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face.
– Mike Tyson