Rihari Biddle recently left the gang life to pursue a new goal of becoming an MMA cage fighter under the guidance of trainer Brad Kora at the Whakatāne MMA Centre.
After nearly five years Rihari Biddle is no longer a gang member.
“The hardest part about leaving is that I had true friends and I love them. I love them as bros and I always will and it's not to say that I’ll be better than them but I want something better for my kids,” says Biddle.
He's been sober for a whole year now, no alcohol and no drugs.
A year and a half ago he joined the Whakatāne MMA Centre and his future was to be shaped by this gym alongside police officers, lawyers and teachers who are also gym members.
Biddle says, “What I tell myself is why I’m leaving and I look at why I’m leaving that's what gives me the strength. When I look at my kids' achievements how well they're doing in school, then I know i'm doing the right thing.
Superstar drummer of the band Kora, Brad Kora has seen the improvements in Rihari.
“I think this environment was something that helped him to help improve his situation and where he was at that time so he's a lovely guy. A totally different guy to how he was a year and a half ago,” says Kora.
He's training hard to become a cage fighter this year and he knows this journey is not going to be an easy one.
Biddle says, “I just love victory, I like working hard for a victory and I don't like it when it comes easy. I like to work hard. I know what I can live through, I lived through some hard times and most people would've ran but I’m from here so I'm not going to run away.”
Rihari Biddle will graduate in February with a certificate in fitness, and is hoping to manage his own gym one day.