Dr. John Williams: 70-Year-Old MMA Fighter Setting Guinness World Records

James Ryan

IMPORTANT UPDATE (March 24, 2015): John Williams has been diagnosed with Differentiated Sarcoma Cancer. He had been suffering from growths on his Chest and arms. The Cancer has spread to his spine and lungs. He is bed ridden in a Hospital in the Philippines. He can not speak or move. As you can imagine this has been quite a shock for his friends and family. They have had their hands full with medical expenses, medications, doctors and Hospital fees. They don’t know what the total cost of treatment will be or how long John will be still be with us, but we felt we needed to start something to help alleviate financial stress for the family so they can focus on treatment and healing and help pay for the cost to fly John Williams back to Canada. The money donated will be used to pay for medical expenses not covered in the Philippines and to help with daily living expenses. Please keep John in your thoughts and prayers and thank you for your support. Your thoughts, prayers and donations are sincerely appreciated. Spread the word! To send a donation to help get him home:

Please enjoy our interview together from 2010. Thank you. JR

P.S. On a personal note, John has become one of my greatest mentors and I owe him a lot for sharing his wisdom and courage with me. He has definitely helped to shape my career as a writer, but also as a man. Thank you, John. I wish you a full and speedy recovery. Proud to call you my friend. Cheers!

. . .

“Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow so.”—Tryon Edwards

To the amazement of many, Dr. John Williams, a 70-year-old Mixed Martial Arts fighter, has willingly scheduled himself to take on Larry Brubaker (age 49) as part of the “Wild Card” event for Elite 1 MMA Productions at the Casino New-Nouveau Brunswick in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, on July 24th.

Dr. Williams, a current Guinness world record holder, will attempt to break two new Guinness world records with the assistance from Mr. Brubaker, as the oldest fighter to ever compete inside of an MMA cage, as well as, the oldest combined age for any two fighters in the history of MMA.

All of this begs the question—is age really just a number?

Well, Dr. Williams certainly thinks so.

In fact, despite certain criticisms, this 34th generation Gunshi, in Saigo Ha Daito-Ryu Aiki Bujutsu (a 1200-year-old Samurai Art) is out to prove it.

In researching Dr. Williams, I have quickly come to the realization that it is near impossible to condense this man’s entire life into a few simple paragraphs that will in any way do justice to his amazing and unique life experiences.

Nevertheless, I will try…

Dr. John J. Williams (a.k.a. Gray Wolf) was born on March 7th, 1940, in a small town in Eastern Canada. His parents were both French speaking Native American Indians of the Wabenaki tribal nation and he is the direct bloodline descendant of the Wabanaki War Chief, Madockaweando.

Dr. Williams began training in martial arts and boxing back in 1947 at the age of 7.

By the age of 16, Dr. Williams had already been introduced to Olympic-style weightlifting, Kodokan Judo, and Tani-Ha Jiu-Jitsu.

By the time he was 23-years-old, Dr. Williams was giving strongman demonstrations such as bending spikes, tearing phonebooks and licenses plates in half, and holding two jeeps from going in the opposite directions. His most impressive feat of strength however, was a one hand dead-lift with 500 pounds.

In later years, Dr. Williams also went on to study Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Kyokushinkai Karate.

As fate would have it, Dr. Williams eventually became the inheritor of Saigo Ha Daito-Ryu in 1972 after his master, Pok Shen, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Since there were no other senior students studying under Master Shen, Dr. Williams was asked to become the successor.

In 1987, Dr. Williams set his first Guinness world record for breaking multiple blocks of ice with a single punch (11 inches thick, by 22 inches wide, by 42 inches long, and 10 stacks high).

Fast forward 23-years later and amazingly, this record still stands today (although his son Tim is the only other man to tie the record).

Throughout his years of travelling and living in the USA, Dr. Williams participated in several university courses such as psychology, philosophy, hypnotism, and eventually, he became a legally ordained Baptist minister. He was later awarded a Doctorate in Theology and eventually taught as a professor at Holland College and Success College, as well as, the Julian College of Arts & Sciences.

In 1989, Dr. Williams completed a course in Hypnotherapy and he began treating clients for various ailments. By 1995, Dr. Williams had completed his course in EFT (based on Chinese acupuncture), which he combined with hypnotism to treat sexual assault victims.

In 1996, Dr. Williams was awarded a Doctorate in Linguistics from the Cyber College out of Japan for his work teaching the English language to Japanese high school students over the internet.

By the year 2000, Dr. Williams was acknowledged by the Canadian Court System as an expert on the Eastern Woodland Indians and their treaty rights.

Currently, Dr. Williams is the site coordinator for Elite 1 MMA Productions.


I am truly honoured to have been granted an interview by such as esteemed and accomplished martial artist.

Please enjoy.

James Ryan: Hi there John, how are you today?

Dr. John Williams: Fantastic, James! And yourself?

JR: I’m doing great! Thank you for agreeing to share your amazing story with me.

JW: My pleasure.

JR: Before we begin, let me just start by saying that I have a lot of respect for what you are about to do, and as such, I have designed my questions to help address some of the potential concerns that I think some people may be having about your upcoming fight.

JW: I understand that there are concerns. But to me, life is about living, not just surviving or existing, but living life to its fullest and taking risks. The risk takers are the ones who understand that the meaning of life is simple—you live!

JR: I like that—‘you live!’ Very well put. What has the overall reaction been to this fight by the media and the public?

JW: The reaction has been mixed. Mostly positive so far, but a few negatives as well. It’s been kind of a curiosity thing—lots of questions. Why do it? When is it going down? Can we do it? What if? Etc. But I really don’t give a rat’s ass what a lot of other people think. In the end, these critics will be living their dreams through me like everyone else, which is what sports are all about.

JR: [Laughs] Very true. It’s rare that any martial artist would fight because he or she has anything to prove to anyone but themselves. What is your personal motivation for this fight?

JW: I really have nothing to prove here. It’s not about beating my opponent or feeding my ego. Plus, this will be the 3rd Guinness record that I will be trying to set. My life has always been about reaching my goals. I doubt that many other people out there have achieved as much as I have or have accomplished so many different life experiences. But still, it’s more than that. I’m 70 years old—that’s a fact. But I’m not dead yet. I run my wind sprints like I always have and I’m just as strong as I was 40 years ago. I’m still pretty fast too, so for me, it’s too soon to give up on life like a lot of others my age and younger have already. As you know, men usually peak physically in or around their mid 40′s, or sometimes even sooner. I am not just another man. I have been training all of my life—since 1947—day after day, running, lifting, and learning. I haven’t lost it yet. Will I win the fight? In reality, I win by walking into that cage Saturday night. Even if he knocks me out, I still win, and so does he. But with that being said, I do plan on beating him, by submission if possible, because the fans expect it to happen. Each degree of pain that I inflict on him is part of my statement—age is just a number!

JR: That’s awesome John, but I’m curious—in what way does this fight add legitimacy to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts?

JW: Personally, I have a real problem with the use of the words ‘martial arts’ in the term MMA. These fighters are athletes who train in a gym under coaches, not in a dojo, kwoon, or dojang under a teacher. They are not usually martial artists—they are athletes who compete in a sport, under strict safety rules. My bout is not an exhibition—it is a test of my martial arts skills under safer rules because I am a martial artist. Remember, MMA bouts are not real fights—they are just contests. Nobody thinks that they are in a real fight. They all know that it’s just sport. There are rules—no groin attacks, no ear pulling, eye gouging, spine or throat attacks—it’s just a game—nothing more, nothing less.

JR: This fight is likely to become a Guinness World Record that will hold for a very long time. When people look back on your life, what do you want them to remember?

JW: Hopefully that I am still alive [Laughs] Because this is not the end of John Williams. I will seek out other challenges. Maybe a few more MMA fights to show that it wasn’t just a fluke, but I also hope that this will educate the fans to the fact that as we age, nothing mentally or cognitively changes that much. We are still the same person that we were as teens or young adults. A few gray hairs doesn’t mean that we are dumb or unable to perform on all levels. One thing I want to be remembered for is not for the bout itself, regardless if it’s the greatest fight ever staged inside of the cage. I want to be remembered as the guy who took a part of his life and gave it freely to victims of sexual assault. A person who cared about the feelings of others, and who sacrificed so that others could understand that life is about living—about never allowing others to take a minute from him without a fight. If I could, I would simply want to be remembered for showing others how to live!

JR: Well, you certainly seem to be doing just that. What special changes have you made to your usual training routine in order to prepare yourself specifically for this fight?

JW: I just train like I always do. None of the extreme stuff, which is the fad today. No steroids, no weight cuts—just normal training like I always do. I see all these crazy cardio routines out there that make fighters sweat, yet they still gas-out in the bout because they simply do not understand how the body works. I see guys bodybuilding to fit the Spartan image, yet few realize what it was that allowed me to set over 100 strength records—all without the steroid-fueled muscle mass you see today. Why do 1000 kicks in a workout if the most kicks you will ever throw is maybe 10? I train exactly like I fight. Nothing else is added to fill some fad that doesn’t work.

JR: I see your point. Given that this is the very first MMA event for both you and your opponent, what were the difficulties in getting the Sports Commission to sanction this fight and how did you meet their satisfaction?

JW: That’s not quite true. I fought a version of MMA way back in the 60′s. We wore more safety equipment, but it was similar to what you see today. Plus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the exact same groundwork that I did in judo. The standup is the same as with the kickboxing that I did, and the boxing that I did is all the same stuff. My opponent was a pro wrestler for over 20 years. He was a kickboxer too, so our experience was not an issue with the Commission. It was public opinion about the stereotype of what an old man is supposed to be. But I am not that man. There is nothing that a 30-year-old can do that I cannot do, and that means anything from sports, to sex, to mathematical calculus, to playing the part of a warrior in a cage to entertain the fans.

JR: It has been proven that anything can happen inside of the cage. Men much younger than yourself have even died inside of the cage, proving that age is not a factor in this sport when it comes to safety. If one of you two men were to get seriously injured this weekend, what negative impact do you think that could have on the overall sport—if any?

JW: I suppose it could potentially kill the whole sport! It could ruin the Commission, the fight Doctor, and a lot of people! But, this is my life and my choice, so I will take the risks. I will do my best to see that nobody dies or gets seriously injured. But did you know that every day, we risk death in a thousand different ways? Yet, we take those risks without question. Over 250,000 people die every day from car accidents, food poisoning, household accidents, etc. but life still goes on. There will be life after I die. None of us are immortal. So, we have our place in the sun, then we move over to let others take that place. Right now, it’s my time in the sun, and in the cage. Soon, I will move on to open the door for others.

JR: Thank you, John. Best of luck to you and your opponent this weekend as you both make history. It has been a real honour to get to know you.

JW: Thank you, James.
To read more about this amazing man, please visit:

Elite 1 MMA Productions website:

This is my interview. If you don’t like it…I have others. Check them out at

Carried Out Fight Gear was founded in 2009 by a group of Ex-fighters who realized that the true essence of a warrior was being lost by some people giving up. The Carried Out mindset of “One Way Out—Carried Out” signifies that a fighter will never surrender, and will fight to the very end. Leaving everything he/she has in the ring, on the mat, or in the cage.


James Ryan
James Ryan

will and wladamir


  1. Beth

    Great article and interview, James! I truly enjoyed reading about this amazing and dedicated man..he truly does lend evidence to the concept that age is just a number!

  2. Komplexx

    I want to see this fight. I’m curious as to how well a 70+ fighter can move in the cage.

  3. Todd

    James, I admire these fellas for what they are willing to do and the efforts they take but the risk vs reward seems a little heavy towards risk. This one leaves an element of concern on my brain. Either way, hats off to them for pursuing their passion and having what it takes to get in a cage. I wish them both the best.

  4. Rich

    Wow !

    That’s very cool man… and I thought Randy was the elder statesman in MMA !

  5. KKA

    that is sooooo flippen awesome!!!!

  6. Impressed

    this was fantastic! thanks for sharing this.

  7. Spencer

    Very nice article. Keep up the good work.

  8. mike smith

    i personally have trained with Gunshi John Williams , Anyone that thinks age is a issue should get to know this guy , he benches over 300 lbs and runs 5 miles before breakfast every day , hes a grandmaster of saigo ha jiu jitsu , and hits like a tank , he is the father of team saigo and directs the isamal *international saigo amateur martial arts league) which is about to run a international amateur circuit which will bring a whole new breed of international amateur mma fighters into the world of MMA. He does seminars worldwide and is the cleanest living person i have ever met. Hes a template to what can be achieved if you truly design your life in a way that will extend the quality of life you experience as you age. Trust me any skeptics , this mans a role model to anyone that thinks theres a quitting age in combat sport. to see is to believe.!!!!

  9. Chris

    Excellent interview, James! I love the way Dr. Williams puts things; his attitude about his place in life. “There is nothing that a 30-year-old can do that I cannot do, and that means anything from sports, to sex, to mathematical calculus, to playing the part of a warrior in a cage to entertain the fans.”

    I have been surrounded by people, as of late, who are deabilitated by their personal limitations, and their outlook on aging, and the bodies ability to hold up to the rigors of exercise, much less MMA competition. It is refreshing for me to hear someone of his age, and stature, express his attitude, and views on life in such a way. Thanks again, James, and Dr. Williams.

  10. BullCrap

    What a bunch of CRAP….This fight has been very carefully STAGED. His opponent is a friend of his. It has all been arranged that Mr.Williams will win this fight. Its been planned that way. If you are going to watch this fight, you will see how bogus this is, its a publicity stunt, that’s it , that’s all.
    How dare you lie to people like this, you should be ashamed of yourself.
    I’m Curious Mr.Williams, how do you sleep at night knowing how deceitful you are being ?
    I live in Ontario, and i was going to attend this fight, but when i had an inside source tell me what was about to go down, well, i was just totally disgusted.
    Shame on you.

  11. Jerry

    Wicked. Love it….inspirational!!!!!!

  12. Kurt Pelletier

    Great article, I have trained under Gunshi for awhile. He is an amazing man and has most likely forgot more than I will ever know about martial arts. A life time martial artist and true warrior, I wish you the best of luck tonight. You have had a part in helping many people better themselves and this is just one more step in your legacy. Thanks and best of luck to all the fighters tonight

  13. thecockroach

    If that guy doesent house the geezer, then this fight is an obvious fix. Reading his backwards comments regarding MMA training evolutions makes me think he missed his invite to UFC 1. What a bunch of bullshido.

  14. great job as usual James

    I think the doc looks younger than Larry

    and LOVED his point on MMA = NOT! martial artists, just athletes
    been saying that like forever myself

  15. James Ryan

    BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: John Williams won his fight tonight. Congrats John!!

  16. rrrrrrrrich

    Thank you for posting the results! Do you know when and how the fight ended?

  17. James Ryan

    John Williams (Team Saigo) vs Larry Brubaker (Moncton) Winner JOHN WILLIAMS by Tap out (ankle lock) at 1:46 of the 2nd round!! Two new world records!!

  18. MMArteaga

    Is there a link to the fight vid?

  19. Jimmy Two Tone

    While this comment may be a little late I feel it should be made. First off I would like to caution anyone who hasn’t seen the fight to not make any statements as you will undoubtably make yourself look stupid in the process.

    This fight was a work. A sham, a fix, a fake.

    Mr. Williams made a mockery of everything that MMA fans and supporters have worked so very hard to acheive and his actions should be discussed as oppossed to swept under the table.


  20. Thank you Johnny! It was a fake. Totally set up to hype up Team Saigo and theirs lame ass fight league. Ita all a joke. And if you think or a second that you can make people believe that you are legit you have another think coming. Everything about you and your phony organization is a sham and you should be ashamed of yourself for making a mockery of mma and the TRUE athletes that compete. Do your self and and everyone else a favor and don’t ever do an event like this. Save yourself the embarrassment.

  21. gary

    this is an incredible store. I am 62 years old and have just recently learned of Mr. Williams. my path has been turned upside down recently and so I was looking for a place to try and focus my energy. seniors in the M.M.A. is something that has peaked my curiosity for a wile now. I am no john Williams but my passion for life and the idea of some how being part of an older class of fighters is one direction that interests me. perhaps it is the challenge, but for me it has always been the journey.

Leave a Reply