Former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Inducted into Hall of Fame

Professor Aaron Walker, Shihan Hawkins, Professor Harry Baker, UFC Gym owner Amir Hashemi

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April 3, 2022

After 35 years in the martial arts, on Saturday, March 26th, former Orange, NJ - Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., also known as  “Shihan E. Hawkins, Jr.”, was inducted into the USA Unified Martial Arts Hall of Fame  through the United States Martial Arts Federation (USMAF).  His induction was due largely to his prominence and specialization in the nunchaku area of Kobudo. Hawkins also received similar recognition from the United States Ju Jitsu Federation (USJJF) at the same event.  The international event held at the Sheraton, Eatontown, NJ, was attended by more than 300 people including individuals from approximately 24 states and 4 countries including Spain and the United Kingdom.

Hawkins, now 42, began his martial arts career at the age of 7 at Baker’s Red Iron Dragon Karate Academy, East Orange, NJ (formerly Griffin’s Iron Dragon) and received his first Black Belt in 2001 in Chinese Kenpo Kung Fu.  Over the years Hawkins, placed, and won various tournaments while studying different forms of martial arts, earning master level rank in different styles including, but not limited to Fusion Kenpo, US Ju-Jitsu and American Style Nunchaku.

Shihan Hawkins is the Senior International Rank Examiner in charge of training for the American Style Nunchaku Federation, a member of the United States Ju Jitsu Federation Senior Masters Caucus and has recently been appointed to the role of Vice President in the United States Martial Arts Federation, which was founded in 1967.

Locally, Hawkins teaches martial arts under 10th Dan Professor Harry Baker, who spearheads the Baker’s Red Iron Dragon located at the UFC GYM in Orange, NJ owned by Amir Hashemi.  As an instructor at the Iron Dragon, Hawkins along with others, teach multiple systems/styles beyond American Style Nunchaku that focus on Junior Olympic Archery, traditional weapons and self-defense classes.

Professor Harry Baker stated: “I am proud of Shihan Hawkins’ accomplishments and the leadership role he plays in our Fusion Kenpo system. Our programs, which Hawkins, and my other senior instructors (Sifu Rodney Armstrong & Sifu Khalil Rashidi) help facilitate, are designed for people of all ages with special programming available for public/private school systems.”

Hawkins stated: “I feel blessed that after severe knee injuries and surgeries on both knees, I was able to find an alternate way to stay involved in martial arts by focusing my energy on weapons training and teaching others.  I am grateful for the Hall of Fame recognition and honored to have participated in an event with so many other accomplished martial artists.”

Acknowledging those who provided his martial arts foundation, Hawkins further stated: “First & foremost, I thank my lifelong teachers: Professor Harry Baker & Professor Ibrahim Sharif who themselves, studied under martial arts legends Professors/Grand Masters: James Cheatham, Ronald Duncan, Moses Powell, Ed Parker, &  Kalaii Griffin.  I also give special thanks to my American Style Nunchaku teacher, Grand Master Michael Burke and to USMAF/USJJF President Bruce Bethers for presenting me with the awards and for his ongoing knowledge and steadfast organizational leadership.”

President Bethers stated: “I congratulate Eldridge and all the USMAF/USJJF Member Inductees into the USA Unified Martial Arts Hall of Fame!” 

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-04-13 16:51:12 -0700