The International Sports Hall of Fame is a Non-Profit Foundation founded by the legendary Dr. Robert Goldman, MD, and established to honor the world’s greatest athlete legends in all sports. It’s one of the most prestigious Halls of Fame in the whole world. Just as important is what Hall of Fame candidates do later in life, in giving back to others and society, with charity work, and mentoring young people.
The induction ceremonies are held annually every March at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival, which is the world’s largest annual sports weekend, hosting 175,000 attendees and over 22,000 competing athletes.
The list of inductees is beyond stellar: Arnold Schwarzenegger (first awardee and currently the head of the award’s board) the godfather of fitness Jack LaLanne, 5 time World Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield, UFC world champions like Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Bas Rutten, WWE’s Paul “Triple H” Levesque, action movie stars like Jason Statham, Michael Jay White, Cynthia Rothrock, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson; bodybuilder legends like Dr. Franco Columbu, Lee Haney, Lou Ferrigno; amazing sports’ icons like Johnny Damon, Eddie George, Hershel Walker, Marcus Allen, Peter Westbrook, Earl Monroe, Johnny Bench, and martial arts’ references like GGM Ernie Reyes, AnnMaria DeMars, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez and Billy Blanks.
With HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor, the first Arab to be awarded, the class of 2022 inductees:
- Grandmaster Ron Van Clief: 5X World Martial Art Champion and Actor
- Vinny Paz: 5X World Boxing Champion
- Burt Watson: Boxing/MMA Coordinator and Manager
- Frank Shamrock: Former 4X UFC Middleweight Champion
- Shannon Knapp: Founder Invicta Fighting Championships
- Stipe Miocic: Former UFC Heavyweight 6X world Champion and Firefighter
Last Saturday, The prince of Ghassan was awarded for his multi-awarded (in four continents) global humanitarian work and his lifelong dedication to the martial arts being an internationally awarded grandmaster. HRH started in the martial arts (Judo) at only 4 years old, initially forced by his father. After that, fell in love with the Asian culture and all its aspects. Studied also Kung Fu, several styles of Karate, European fencing, Japanese swordsmanship, Jiu-Jitsu, Kali Silat, Kobudo, and his passion, the Aikido.
Started Aikido in 1986 and became an instructor for beginners in 1991. Got his black belt in 1992 being registered in Japan in 1993. In the same year founded the Shinken Institute (previously Bushido Budo kai), active until 2017 operating schools of Aikido and Japanese Culture in five cities in Brazil.
One of the masters who most influenced him was Steven Seagal being Seagal’s direct disciple, business associate, and personal friend for 5 years (1997-2002). Prince Gharios was the only teacher in South America to have such a relationship directly with Seagal.
Steven Seagal, a well-known star of Hollywood is also a master of various martial arts styles and 7th. degree black belt in Aikido, and was (before the fame) the first Westerner to own and operate a school on Japanese soil.
In 1999, HRH has received “The Sports Merit” a Brazilian governmental award for his work for the martial arts. From 2003 until 2017 was a direct student of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei 8o.Dan (one of the few direct disciples of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba still alive). Was a pioneer, being personally responsible for the promotion of Aikido (Aikikai) in Curitiba (Parana, Brazil) from 1991 until 2010. Was directly responsible for forming dozens of black-belt instructors that became masters and are active today all over Brazil, teaching thousands of students. In 2020, was inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Honors during the largest martial arts event in the world, the Mega Martial Arts Hall of Honors 20th Anniversary at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.
In 2021, has received the AOF Icon award from the Action On Film International Film Festival, also known as the Action On Film Festival. The AOF Icon award was received by many Hollywood stars and world-class martial artists like David Carradine, Jeff Speakman, Cynthia Rothrock, Don “the dragon” Wilson, Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Art Camacho, Michael Jay White, Nick Mancuso, Tom Sizemore, Michael Madsen, Bill Duke, Bob Wall, John Saxson, Kim Coates, etc.
In the same year, was inducted in the Grandmasters Hall of Fame of the World Martial Arts Masters Association counting on several major names in the international martial arts as Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Ip Man, Royce Gracie, Samuel Kwok, Randy Couture, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez, Steven Seagal, Don Wilson, Al Dacascos, Cynthia Rothrock, Ron Van Clief, Keith Vitali, etc.
Holds the 8th Dan (degree of black belt) and the title of Shihan (Grandmaster) in Aikibudo, the 5th (fifth) Dan in Aikido (certified by the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan) the 5th Dan in Combat Hapkido and also holds black belts in Karate and Kobudo (Japanese weapons)
The prince also founded his own martial art style known as Shinken-Ryu Aikibudo LEARN MORE
The 11th Anniversary Induction Ceremony for the International Sports Hall of Fame was held in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, in Columbus, Ohio.