January 13, 2016 Edition

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Weeks retires after nearly
50 years in martial arts

Fred Weeks (left), founder of the Allied Tang Soo Do Federation, now known as ATF Martial Arts, works with students during his final testing as Grandmaster on Jan. 5 at the ATF studio in Walnut Ridge.

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

After more than 47 years in martial arts training and instruction, Fred Weeks of Walnut Ridge has retired from active participation at ATF Martial Arts.

Weeks, who founded the Allied Tang Soo Do Federation (now ATF Martial Arts) in 1980, oversaw his last testing and promotion ceremony as Grandmaster on Jan. 5 at the ATF studio, located on West Main Street.

He began his training in 1969, and both he and his wife, Susan, earned black belts in the Chuck Norris System. Weeks began his school in Walnut Ridge as part of the Norris System before he started the Allied Tang Soo Do Federation.

Stepping up to fill the Grandmaster position of the Federation will be Dr. Keith Waggoner of Searcy, a longtime student of Weeks and ATF 10th Dan Black Belt.

Janet Atkinson of Hoxie, 9th Dan, who started training at the age of 12 and received her Black Belt from Weeks in 1984, will support Waggoner as second in command. She will also be the training director in Walnut Ridge.

Weeks said when he moved back to Walnut Ridge in 1971, he started instructing so he would have someone to work out with.

"I had a second degree red belt and a desire to learn more," he said. "I tell my students all the time a black belt is just a green belt who didn't quit."

Weeks was honored with a retirement party on Dec. 20 at the Walnut Ridge Community Center. The event was attended by present and former students. A lighted wall plaque was presented to Weeks in recognition of his many years of community service and commitment to martial arts.

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