MEET MR. MANUK LELIKIAN
OUR AMAZING HEAD INSTRUCTOR
Interviewer: Alec Bejanian
Alec Bejanian: How would you describe yourself? Who are you?
Mr. Manuk Lelikian: I could say that I always do my best to be kind, nice, and respectful to others. I do my best to help other people aim toward success in their lives. I try to be strong mentally and spiritually and I strongly believe in God. I believe I have found my purpose in life.
I have learned to choose what I want to do. I am also the Head Instructor at Bejanian Martial Arts. I follow Master Varouj Bejanian and everything I do is under his name. I am proud to be a Third Degree Black Belt and the highest ranking person after Master Varouj Bejanian. I still strive to learn more from Master so I can transfer my knowledge to other students. I consistently practice martial arts and teaching it so I can become better and better. I am continuously, thinking about martial arts, dreaming about it, and consistently engaged in it by learning and teaching. I consider myself adept and accomplished in martial arts but there is so much in which I can improve. I don’t believe in the word “best” because even the simplest things can be improved.
Alec Bejanian: Tell me about your background.
Mr. Manuk Lelikian: I was born in the country Georgia in 1989. Financially, my family was comfortable and we lived with my uncle and his family. In 1990, there was a war in Georgia which caused us to go through hardship. Due to the war, we left Georgia and went to Armenia.
Leninakan, Armenia is where we settled in. A huge earthquake in 1988 wrecked everything. Since everything was damaged, it caused my family to live in a garage with five other families.
Later, thankfully my uncle bought a house, where we lived with my uncle’s family. As all the kids grew older, we really needed another house. A family friend of ours wanted to help someone before he died from cancer so he gave my family the money to buy the house across the street from my uncle’s home. In 1996, my uncle came to America and that later triggered us to come to America in 2000. I was a sixth grader when I came to United States. On the November of 2000, I was walking with my dad and we saw a “Martial Arts Coming Soon” sign on Broadway Street in Glendale. We walked into the building where everything was still under construction. Master Varouj was there and he told us to come laterwhen he officially opened the school. In December, even though the school wasn’t open, Master Varouj signed me up and gave me a uniform, I was so happy, I couldn’t sleep that night from excitement. Then finally in January of 2001, the school opened. I started as a yellow belt because I had taken some karate classes in Armenia. The first question Master Varouj asked me was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said “I want to become a Master!” Master told me that “Anything is possible. ” Ever since then, that was my goal. As a green belt, I wanted to quit martial arts because of gaming. My mom took all my games away and made me continue attending. I really thank my parents for that. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here right now. I was helping Master Varouj and he would always tell me to go home because sometimes I was helping a lot. When I turned brown belt, Master Varouj created the Leadership Program and I was asked to join. I became an assistant instructor as a red with black stripe, became an instructor when I turned black
belt, and a Head Instructor when receiving my Second Degree Black Belt. I taught at the North Hollywood branch for about a year and was latersent to Glendale to teach there.
I wanted to get back to training intensely, when I was a Second Degree Black Belt, because Master Varoujexplained so much to me about the art and I felt really encouraged. Martial arts literally became my life. I couldn’t and still cannot sleep without knowing that I am involved in it. When I learned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, from Master Varouj, I began to love Martial Arts even more. A new world opened up to me and I was learning a totally new discipline.
Alec Bejanian: What is an important thing that martial arts made you realize?
Mr. Manuk Lelikian: Through martial arts, I understood my purpose in life. Everyone’s purpose in life is different but my purpose is to help people accomplish their goals through martial arts. Basically, my purpose is to help people become successful, which in return brings me success in life. I am able to talk to kids and help them overcome challenges. That’s why my main goal in life is to become a Master in martial arts.
Alec Bejanian: Who are the people you look up to the most?
Mr. Manuk Lelikian: I first look up to God. I can’t do anything without him being in my heart. After God, I look up to my parents; they’ve done everything for me and I appreciate them very much. Master Varouj is also another person I look up to, as a dad, very dearly. I swear under his name and he is like everything to me. I also really look up to my uncle in Ukraine and my other uncle in Armenia, my sister, and my brother in law because they all inspire me. I wish I was as nice as my sister, she’s like a role model to me. Lastly, I could say that I look up to my uncle’s daughters because they are all like sisters to me.
Alec Bejanian: If you could describe yourself using only two words, what would they be?
Mr. Mauk Lelikian: The two words would be loyal and honest.
Alec Bejanian: Thank you Mr. Manuk for being in the interview. You are like a big brother to me and I have always looked up to you.