— By BRIAN SMITH
In a world of “here today, gone tomorrow” businesses, seeing one that has been in Weatherford 42 years is very refreshing.
Bob Nuttall, owner of The Karate University, 301 W. I-20, started his 43rd year in business March 15. Nuttall said he had been taking karate classes in Fort Worth and had trained under Grand Master J. Pat Burleson and decided to open his business in downtown Weatherford at 315 N. Main St. The climate in town wasn’t exactly conducive to opening such a business.
“This town has changed dramatically since 1972,” Nuttall said. “Some people at the time said karate was a mystic science and was very misunderstood.”
Over the years, the community has gotten to know Nuttall and become more accepting of the martial arts as a whole. Nuttall said he could never give back to Weatherford as much as what the residents of the area has given to him.
He managed to make it work and kept the business going. In 1985, he expanded to what is the current location. With the expansion of space, Nuttall also opened a health club, Fit Now, inside the facility with his longtime friend Richard Wood now running the facility. Both men say having the two businesses inside one building, which are open 24 hours a day, has helped immensely and allows for the family to stay together.
“We are definitely a more family oriented gym, which is definitely what we wanted,” Wood said.
“We find that when the kids come to class, the parents will stay and work out, which benefits everyone involved,” Nuttall said.
Times and people have changed over the years with the martial arts being more accepted as a way to stay in shape and defend yourself using tried and proven techniques.
“I can say I’ve trained three generations of some families,” Nuttall said. “I’ve trained grandparents, parents and now their kids. People have thanked me for saving their lives and I tell them they were the ones that did it.”
Wood said Nuttall has trained all three of his sons in karate. Nuttall said one man told him his life was saved simply by Nuttall teaching him how to fall as part of his karate training.
With all his years of training, Nuttall still contends working with kids is still his favorite group.
“It’s unbelievable to see the transformation of the kids because they want to transform, which is true of all the clients,” Nuttall said. “I find more and more instructors not wanting to work with kids but I find it fascinating.”
Having a respect for others is paramount at the university and is something that will be taught from day one.
“If you show respect for others, it shows the respect we have for ourselves,” Nuttall said. “We tell everyone they will see a change in themselves or their kids within the first class. We tell our classes that the mind is like a parachute — it only works when it’s open.”
Students who excel in academics and in class are taken to eat every six weeks, Nuttall said. For information on The Karate University, call 817-341-8581 or visit thekarateuniversity.com