MONTEBELLO–Over 600 gathered at Baghramian Hall in Montebello on Friday–January 19 to take part in a banquet and martial arts exhibition in honor of A.B.B.A.’s (Armenian Black Belt Academy) 25-year anniversary.
A.B.B.A. has been working with the new generation in Los Angeles for close to a year and a half now. The academy has various chapters in Lebanon–Armenia–Artsakh–and Europe. Grand Master and founder Garo Kebabjian has been instrumental in teaching Kung Fu as a means self-defense to Armenian youth.
One hundred twenty A.B.B.A. students from around the world entered the hall in uniform to demonstrate their moves to all the attendees. These masters included Christopher Topalian (Europe)–Jean Michelle Gorgy–Sako Chaparian (France)–Harout Berberian (Artsakh)–Koko Aslanian (Lebanon)–Haig Haroutounian (Armenia–US).
Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian was present at the event along with state and local officials and their representatives. Congratulatory letters from Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Aram I were sent to A.B.B.A. for the special occasion. Mardirossian praised A.B.B.A.’s efforts at instilling discipline in young Armenia’s around the world. The prelate read Catholicos Aram I’s message to A.B.B.A.. The Pope’s message was presented by vice-principal of the Mekhitarian School Father Nerses Sakaian.
The main speaker of the evening was Dr. Mesrob Topalian (Mesrob Hayouni) of Beirut–Lebanon–who delivered the blessing of Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Boghos.
Armenian consul to Los Angeles Norayr Ghaloumian–Lebanese consul John Maacaron–Karabakh ambassador to Austria Varoujan Iskenderian–A.B.B.A. president Kevork Minassian–and Lebanese community representative Paul Kolo all made remarks throughout the evening.
Letters of appreciation were presented to Garo Kebabjian on behalf of Congressman Adam Schiff–Congresswoman Grace Napolitano–California State Senators Jack Scott and Tom Calderon–Montebello Mayor Mary Ann Saucedo and the Glendorra mayor’s office. Illinos Governor George Ryan’s assistant–Pat Michalsky–traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles to participate in A.B.B.A’s anniversary celebration