Almost 80, this gentle man, born in Chester, trains students to be good martial artists and good people, writes Marina Affor for the Washington Post.
Rick Berry’s martial arts career began when he was 27 years old. Fifty years later, he teaches martial arts and has belts in multiple forms of martial arts, all defensive.
His students include a former Delaware County Court of Common Pleas judge, SEPTA’s director of transportation, a middle school teacher, a massage therapist, musicians, pastors and more.
A pipe fitter at BP Oil in Trainer by day, he first learned taekwondo in Chester.
Retiring at 56, Berry decided to be a martial arts instructor.
He opened his own taekwando studio, Quiet Storm, in 1969 in Chester, but wanted to teach an art that didn’t focus on taking an opponent down.
“Everything is competition, competition, competition. People don’t think about cooperation,” he said. “Competition is going to be the destruction of this country if they’re not careful.”
That’s when he discovered aikido, a non-competitive Japanese technique focusing on defending oneself without harming one’s attacker.
In 1988 he opened an aikido studio in Swarthmore. Eight years later, he opened a second location in Wilmington.
Read more about this inspirational sensei.