Michael Bennett is seen here receiving Hall of Fame Induction award.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The National Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame has a new member, and he happens to be from right here in the Ark-La-Tex.
In the 1960s, Michael Bennett and his two cousins' joined a youth program similar to the Boys and Girls Club of America. Bennett says, "My mom felt that she wanted me to defend myself since my older brothers were off at college, so she enrolled me in a Kung Fu class."
Bennett and his cousins were minority students in that class. It was tough, but it made them stronger. "Their discipline was not like that of a 9 and 10 year old little guys. They had the discipline of adults," says instructor Carroll Baker. Baker made sure the entire class understood the meaning of family. "To see what they've done with their lives to watch it manifest and watch them mature is an incredible gift to me. I use to try to teach them that the most precious retirement plan is going to be their memories," Baker says. "That what gave me the incentive to go on and continue to be a part of martial arts he started to build a foundation for me," says Bennett.
With that foundation in place he graduated from Woodlawn High School. "He exploded on the scene and dominated," Baker says. He went on to serve his country while competing and traveling the world. He won National Championships, US Open Championships, and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
The student has now become the teacher, and he has trained teams all over the world. This weekend, Michael Bennett had his name written among the legends as he was inducted into Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame. "Michael has earned it no one gave it to him. He went out and took it," Baker says.
"He's a true example of a strong martial artist and I'm very proud of him," says Vince, a student who Bennett to train younger athletes.
Martial arts is a never ending cycle, so he still comes home and trains with his cousin Bernard Grant. Bennett says, "We don't want to set a stigma like, 'I get mine and you get yours' concept, no. It's about everybody achieving, and that's what I tell my athletes." Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.