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I’m editing my which-Raven-I’d-take-with-me-walking-down-a-dark-alley list.
At first thought, Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Marshal Yanda came to mind. They’re all massive and intense.
Now I’m taking backup running back Anthony Allen.
Turns out, Allen is a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo, a detail that somehow came up when chatting about the running back competition.
“Every now and then I might be walking down the street and a guy like Ed Dickson might be walking by [Dickson was walking by at the time of the interview] and I may unleash it on him real quick just to let myself know I still got it,” Allen said with a laugh.
Allen studied under his father, who learned the martial art when stationed in Korea with the Army. It took the young “Grasshopper” about 12 years to earn his black belt.
“Other guys can pay to get theirs,” Allen said. “I had to work to get mine. It was a lot of discipline and mental training.”
Allen was apparently a pretty dominant kid. While traditional Taekwondo is more about the poses, he learned Professional Taekwondo, which focusses more on actual combat with actual rounds like boxing.
He won more than 100 fighting competitions, including the prestigious U.S. Open in Orlando, Fla., three years in a row from ages 10 to 12. Competitors travel from around the world, and Allen said he beat kids from Puerto Rico, the former Yugoslavia and England.
So does this training still help Allen in any way?
He said he sometimes brushes up on a few things because it’s good for strength and core workouts. But mostly, it’s good for bragging.
Allen plays around with defensive tackle Art Jones, who has done mixed martial arts training with his brother and UFC champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The two have done just some light sparring.
“I’ll tell Art, ‘Now I know this stuff. You don’t want to try me!’” Allen said with a laugh.
But is Allen willing to step in against “Bones” Jones?
“That’s a different story,” he said. “I might have to kick him in the kneecaps or something.”