Mohammadreza Goodary (likes to be known as ‘Reza Goodary’ for short) is an Iranian martial artist who has gone from strength to strength and earned the moniker ‘Persian Leopard’ in the circles he competes in and is the first martial artist from Iran to win international titles in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujutsu and Karate.
Having won 2 martial arts Olympic medals and gained a reputation for his tenacity, Reza is an inspiring figure for those who anyone who has struggled for recognition against adversity in any competitive sport, and he has started training to hopefully compete in the MMA at the famous Fairtex Training Center in Thailand.
Reza spent some time to answer a few questions about his early life and career.
Greetings Reza, can you give us a little background info in your own words?
I was born in Tehran in 1988. My parents were concerned about my high levels of energy, but doctors said this was natural, and they got the idea to introduce me to marital arts at the age of 7 learning Judo.
How did you expand from Judo to learn other martial arts?
I went from Judo to Kung Fu pretty quickly, but found that Kung Fu did not have many local tournaments for me to compete in. Karate and its various styles is where I spent the bulk of my experience in competition before also learning Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiujitsu.
With all of these martial arts skills, it was only natural for me to experiment with MMA and I am now trying to pursue a career in it.
What is the hardest part about training and competition?
I don’t find any parts especially difficult like I did in the beginning. When you start out with any athletic activity that you need to improve at, you only get out what you put in and in order to exert yourself to the limit constantly you need to have a good mindset. I suppose the hardest part is staying in a positive headspace so that I am motivated to keep training, but that is why I surround myself with friends and loved ones to give me support to motivate me to go further.
In terms of competition, there are some decisions and rules that you can interpret as unfair and this can make you indignant. The important thing is to not give up, and to not become bitter towards other athletes who are trying their best as well.
What do you love about martial arts compared to other sports?
I love martial arts because it has a strong ethical component to it that goes beyond simply training to be a better athlete – it is training to be a better human as well. There is a lot of philosophy behind martial arts that is worth studying and can really improve your outlook on life, even if you don’t aspire to win competitions.
How do you get prepared for a match?
I do all the basics, make sure I have eaten well and gotten a good rest – you can’t overprepare. Performing well comes from training and a good mindset, there is no trick or special ritual you can perform before a match to bring you luck – if you need that then it means you aren’t confident in your own abilities.
Of all the martial arts you have learned, what is your favourite?
I love Karate would be the one that I have spent the most time with professionally and have made the most friends through, and the badges I have fought for are Shinden Kai Karate & Shorin Kempo.