Apolo Ladra, the master instructor of Apolo's East Coast Tae Kwon Doin Glen Burnie, returned from the Soviet Union this week with two medals and other assorted prizes from the World Karate Championships.
Ladra, 25, was part of a seven-member team -- including two substitutes -- from the East Coast that represented the United States in thetwo-day competition in St. Petersburg.
The group won a silver medal in team fighting, and Ladra took home a gold in forms. He also was given a radio for being nominated as one of the martial artists with the most controlled technique.
The fourth-degree black belt also received a bronze trophy and ceramic vase and an invitation to return to the Soviet Union in June for a tourand demonstrations.
"I worked hard at it, training five hours a day," said Ladra, who is opening another studio in Towson on Nov. 23.
"We were on the news every day, and people were coming up to us asking for autographs. They thought I was Bruce Lee."
Ladra, who wasborn in the Philippines and moved to this country 17 years ago, saidthe week spent in the Soviet Union made him appreciate life in the United States.
"I survived on potatoes and tomatoes," he said. "They were serving half-cooked pork and beef and chicken."