Fight of the Dawg

herschel walker – photo: mark jackson

 

Fight of the Dawg

Herschel Walker had already gained fame as a Heisman trophy winner, Georgia Bulldog and NFL superstar (and, to a lesser extent, bobsledder) when he spoke with South, and was gearing up for his next chapter in mixed martial arts. Featured in Faces of the South: The Trilogy Edition now on newsstands. Click here to order your copy of Faces today. 

While many retired football players turn to tv announcing or take up leisurely games of golf, the south Georgia boy Herschel Walker decided to take a completely different route. Further proving himself as an athlete without boundaries, he traded an already brutal contact sport for something he says is even more physically challenging, even more mentally demanding, and much to his liking, a whole lot more risky.
 
"In MMA you're restricted to a cage, to an octagon, and it's just you against him, and he's trying to put you down if he can or knock you out. So you really have to be on your game. It's like a human chess game. You really don't know what the other guy's going to do when you step up to the cage, so you have to be ready and prepared to defend that," he says, adding that despite the unfamiliar man-versus-man nature of the sport, he wasn't too nervous.
 
In order to prepare for the fights, his skill sets and training drastically changed too. "I've added judo, jujitsu, boxing and wrastlin' into my training, so it's a pretty tough workout," he says. He can't slack in any of those sports because it's his ability to flawlessly master and switch between all the art forms that he believes guarantee a successful fight. That's why he's willing to put in the time. Currently he trains between six and seven hours a day at an elite training center in San Jose, CA. He says he's working hard-really hard.
 
His business sense, a skill he continues to hone as he gets older, is also shifting. After taking on reality television, making an appearance on Celebrity Apprentice with his good friend Donald Trump, and managing to keep his decade-old poultry business afloat, he's adding yet another entrepreneurial venture – D1 Sports Training. He recently helped open up a D1 facility here in Savannah, GA. His decision came about for the same reasons he marches at the capital each year to talk about child obesity: He believes fitness has the power to drastically change and improve people's lives. "I think a fit mind and a fit body go together," he says.
 
It's obvious that at his core, Walker has a set of values that will never fade. His dedication to the youth, belief in fitness, and love for the South and his home state – and yes, he still closely watches his beloved Bulldogs – are evidence that his principles run deep. He's also living proof, however, that not only can you teach an old dog new tricks, but they can take those tricks and excel.
 

To get a copy of this South magazine back issue and read the rest of the Herschel Walker story, click here