Iranian Defector: “All I want is taekwondo.”

Iranian Defector: “All I want is taekwondo.”

Iran’s Taekwondo Olympic medalist has announced on Instagram that she is defecting. 

Taekwondo bronze medal winner, Kimia Alizadeh is Iran’s sole female Olympic medal winner. EVER.

She accused the Iranian government of “oppression,” “lying” and “injustice.”

She also wrote on social media, “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran with whom they have been playing for years.”

How brave is this? Iran is believed to execute more people each year than any other country.

Wikipedia reports that Iran carried out at least 977 executions in 2015, at least 567 in 2016, and at least 507 in 2017. The key words are “at least.”

Treason is an executable offense. 

According to the Daily Mail, an Iranian parliamentarian demanded answers and accused “incompetent officials” of allowing ‘Iran’s ‘human capital to flee” the country. 

Human capital?

Coming just days after Iran admitted to shooting down a passenger jet and killing 176 people, this is a major blow and may be front-page news for the coming week.

I want to help you get in front of this news. You might want to consider reaching out to your local media on social media and suggest that you can provide some perspective as a fellow martial artist.

She said she just wanted three things, “Taekwondo, and a happy and healthy life.”

This assertion will no doubt bring worldwide attention to the sport.

Be careful how you handle this.

Resist the “Taekwondo was more important than her country..” or any similar exploitation.

Instead, share some expert insight that might be framed as, “She showed tremendous courage. Martial arts instills an indomitable spirit and this is exactly what we are witnessing on the world stage. As martial artists, we all admire her courage.”

The combination of shooting down the plane and Kimia’s defection may go down in history as the ultimate 1-2 punch to the end of the current Iranian regime. 

No doubt, Kimia has opened the flood gates for many others to speak out or leave as well. 

Right now, she is the face of the modern Iranian and she will be etched in history forever as a black belt revolutionary. 

However, she is not the first martial artist to defect from Iran. In September 2019, Saeed Mollaei, an Iranian judoka, left the country for Germany.

See Iranian defector and taekwondo Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh compete.

Elvis Presley Karate Gi and Belt

Elvis Presley's Karate Gi & belt auction

Ultra rare and confirmed authentic

Elvis Loved Karate 

Elvis Karate Gi and Belts for Sale

These photos are of the one gi top and two belts for sale.

The Story of These Items

My local paper, The St. Petersburg Times article on my original purchase of the collection.

The page from Julians Auction devoted to my selling some items from the collection in 2011. That’s me, center right with the two girls :0).

In or about 1996, I purchased this Elvis Presley Karate collection from a rare memorabilia dealer in Las Vegas.

 The collection consisted of:

  • The actual training karate gi and belt(s) worn by Elvis.
  • A duplicate demonstration uniform.
  • His Kenpo Rank Card.
  • Letters of Authentication.

 I had just launched the National Association of Professional Martial Artists (NAPMA) the year before and I knew that this purchase would be a “media magnet” and it was.

 For about two years afterward, and almost every anniversary of his death, I was being interviewed by journalists from Indiana to Ireland.

 In 2011, I was contacted about selling some of the items in a high-end auction in Beverly Hills, CA.

 I submitted the demo uniform. The auction house wanted the original authentication letters as well.

 Though the estimated value was $6,000 – $8,000, the actual price was nearly $12,000.

 Now, I am ready to part with his actual training uniform and belt. The letters of authenticity are scans of the originals that went in the 2011 auction, but they are unaltered and are easily legible.

 This sale/auction is for:

  1. Gi Top with TCB and Kang Rhee patches
  2. Decorated Black Belt
  3. Undecorated Black Belt
  4. Printable image files of the letters of authentication

 Interested? Send me an email.

 If we go to auction and you’d like to be kept up to date on it just enter your info.

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Phone: 727-279-0505

Email: john@johngraden.com

Gold Medal Black Belt Accessory

Gold Medal Black Belt Accessory

As 2019 winds down, here is a story about the spirit of martial arts rather than the business of martial arts.

When your face is an asset for your business, competing in karate might seem unwise. Fashion model Sandhya Shetty has had her nose broken twice, among other injuries, but she doesn’t hesitate to climb back into the ring.

With karate set to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo, Sandhya is ready to show what she can do – all while inspiring young Indian girls to stand up for themselves.

Related story: Hollywood is Calling

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