Few martial artists have a resume as complete and impressive as Atlanta's legendary Richard Trammell.
As a competitor he is a champion in Shidokan, Kickboxing and Muay Thai. He has multiple black belts in Shidokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Judo and Kendo. Richard has been teaching martial arts since 1999 and countless students have passed through his doors. He's been a successful coach and mentor to some of Atlanta's best fighters. All Richard's students have learned best by studying his steady and unwavering example of years of dedicated training.
With 2020 providing plenty of curve balls to training and competing, I thought it would be a good idea to check in with the seemingly ageless champ and see if he had any wisdom for us. Luckily, he did!
What made you want to start learning martial arts?
My father signed me and my brothers up for Tang Soo Do in 1974 at Ft. Bragg, NC. He thought it would be good for discipline. The class was taught by late St. Jimmie Brown in an old army barracks (cold during the winter and hot during the summer). There were no kids' classes back then. Kids and adults all trained together.
You are a teacher and a student. Do you find that being one helps the other?
Being a teacher helps me be a better student. Because everybody learns differently, I have to come up with different ways to teach. This allows me to constantly learn.
You have been a competitor for many years. Why do you still compete?
When I was young, it was more about ego. I continue to compete because it keeps me humble, allows me to continue learning, and I like the camaraderie.
What is the most important thing to consider when competing?
To not take it too seriously and have fun with it.
Over the years you have taught, competed, been a student. Have martial arts changed very much since you began?
Years ago, we followed the structure given to us by our instructors. We emphasized patience and discipline. Students today are less patient and sometimes seek immediate gratification. They become bored too easily.
Have you adapted your training as you have gotten older?
I have. I constantly study (other martial arts, sports science, etc.), incorporating new techniques while keeping traditional philosophies.
You have a great highlight reel on YouTube. What has been your proudest moment in martial arts?
Winning the Shidokan World Championship.
You are a black belt in many martial arts. (Judo, Kendo, Karate, Tae Kwan Do) What advice can you give others toward achieving success?
Keep a beginner's mind and use the practice of martial arts to improve yourself.
Check out the Champ's action-packed highlight reel full of incredible kicks, quick takedowns and lightning combinations.
Shidokan Atlanta - Richard Trammell Highlights www.youtube.com
Tune in to "The Karate Guys" podcast featuring Shihan Trammell here.