Richard anderson Chief master black belt :14-:20 w4 86 ]] c2.5 g 0 [[ *cg 3li_low kark 4 sports Ricky gaston 5th degree black belt 1:51-1:56 w5 85 ]] c2.5 g 0 [[ *cg 3li_low kark 4 sports Kial kiner 2nd degree black belt 2:15-:2:20 ((nats off top)) Chief Master Richard Anderson's martial arts career led him here to the natural state. However, it was in the small town of Benton Harbor, Michigan where he heard the calling.
"God touched me on the shoulder one day and said, 'I gave you a skill. I want you to go to Little Rock, Arkansas and save some kids they're killing each other over tennis shoes, colors, and'-- go to Arkansas? I ain't going to Arkansas. We would come to Arkansas just for the national tournament, but not to come to live," recalled Anderson.
But that's exactly what Anderson did. He opened his first taekwondo center in the back of an inter-city church in April 1989. There he mainly targeted young African Americans heading down a wrong, potentially dangerous path.
"Idle mind is a devil's workshop. So if they don't have a lot to do, and a lot of constructive things to do that's positive, they'll end up going astray," said Anderson.
Anderson recalls stumbling upon his first students after a fight broke out in the church's back alley.
"i heard all this cussing. I mean some cussing! And little kids! I could tell it was kids. I said 'hey you kids what are you doing?!' and they all huddled together, they came together. 'who are you that karate man?' 'yeah. I'm the karate man. Come on upstairs!' and they all came upstairs looking like the Cosby kids (laugh), and I start showing them a little thing about martial arts," said Anderson. "I told them, "if you guys want to be my students, you can be my students. You don't have to pay anything. The things i want you to do is go to school on time, try to do your best in school, come here and help me keep the place clean. You do that and I'll be your instructor."
One of the students involved in that very back-alley brawl, claims if it weren't for that very moment, he'd be dead.
"I grew up off 12th & Shiller between the late 90's when gang banging in little rock was going on. And i think I'd either be dead or in jail right now," said Ricky Gaston, a 5th degree black belt.
Chief Master Anderson now owns the two largest African-American taekwondo centers in Arkansas, where his most valuable lessons go far beyond the mat.
"Any kid can change," said Kial Kiner, a 2nd degree black belt. "Just because their behavior is bad, don't mean that they can't change. They can change, all they need is a little help."
Anderson says he'll continue changing lives through taekwando as long as the good lord will let him.