Andre Tippett is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend for the fifth time since he was enshrined in 2008. But pro football isn't the only sport at which he has been successful.
Tippett, 53, recently was promoted to a sixth-degree black belt in Uechi-ryu karate.
"I've been able to utilize a lot of things from the art onto the field," said Tippett, who is now the New England Patriots' executive director of community relations. "It started out as self-defense and self-defense only as a means to protect myself. It evolved over the years from self-defense to really, truly a way of life."
As part of NFL Network's "Second Act" series, which profiles players who are finding success after football, Tippett said he used his karate skills in offseason training during his 12-season career with Patriots.
"What I used every year as I went into training camp was the heart and mind of a beginner," Tippett said. "I always assumed that somebody was in back of me was waiting to take my position."
Tippett said he used the tactics of karate in his tackling techniques.
"Football is a fight," he said. "In a lot of ways, it's hand-to-hand combat."
Tippett's skills have led him to Okinawa, Japan, to train with karate masters.
"It was the coolest thing that I have ever experienced," he said. "I thought playing football was pretty awesome, but to go to the motherland of where (karate) started, gave me a newer respect for what I was doing. ...
"Football is what I chose to make a business from. (Karate) is who I am."
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor