Local instructor earns judo black belt

  • Thursday, February 6, 2014

Local middle school teacher Robert Gouthro recently earned his black belt in Judo.

Dr. Ronald Allan Charles, 8th degree black belt senior instructor of the Samurai Judo Association, the largest club in the United States Judo Association, presented him with his new rank in a traditional ceremony this week.

Gouthro has spent six years practicing judo, which originated in Japan in 1882.

Judo is the sport form of an older martial art known as Jujitsu. Judo focuses on throwing and grappling with an opponent in order to immobilize him without causing harm. It is an ideal sport for cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and self-defense.

This is not the first time that Gouthro has been honored with a black belt promotion. He currently holds this advanced certification in three other martial arts.

Gouthro earned his first black belt in 2006 in Shorinryu karate. He now holds a 2nd degree black belt in that art. His other black belts are in jujitsu and in iaido, the art of the samurai sword. Gouthro continues to train and instruct military students and their dependents at the Samurai Judo Association, located at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, and at the American Jujitsu Academy in Summerville.

“Through the study of these arts, I have learned discipline, perseverance, and confidence. As a beneficiary of these rich traditions, I believe it is my responsibility to pass on lessons I have learned to future generations,” Gouthro said.

Fortunately, he is well positioned to do so.

Gouthro teaches sixth grade social studies and language arts in the Gifted Program at Haut Gap Middle School on Johns Island. There he also uses his knowledge of martial arts to instruct students free of charge in an after-school club that focuses on both karate and judo.

One of the important goals of the club is to teach children how to defend themselves against bullies and “stranger danger.” It is one of the few school-based martial arts programs in the state.

“Many students join because of the popularity of karate in TV shows and movies but find that they really enjoy the dynamic throwing and rolling techniques of judo. Few realize that judo is an Olympic sport,” says Gouthro. “I would love to see a judo club at every school in the United States.”

For more information about the Samurai Judo Association, call senior instructor Dr. Ronald Allan Charles at 843-553-6702, visit the club’s website at www.judostamps.org/samuraijudoassociation.

Active duty and DoD personnel and their adult dependents are eligible for free classes at the Naval Weapons Station.

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