Bob Nuttall, founder of The Karate University in Weatherford, will be named a 10th Degree Black Belt Grandmaster — an elite designation — in a special recognition ceremony to be held Jan. 8 at the Parker County Courthouse.
The site was approved by Parker County commissioners Tuesday.
Grand Master J. Pat Burleson, a pioneer in the martial arts, told the court that the award is a lifetime achievement for Nuttall and his organization.
“There are many people who join the military and serve out long, distinguished careers, but very few 4-star generals,” he said. “This is a 4-star general award. There aren’t any more after this.”
Burleson noted Nuttall’s 40 years of service to the Weatherford community, the assistance he has provided to law enforcement officers and his commitment to rewarding his young karate students for academic achievement by treating them to free dinners.
Commissioner John Roth, who moved that the court approve the second floor of the courthouse for the evening ceremony, congratulated Nuttall, saying his daughter received her black belt at the age of 12 or 13.
“The lessons that they learn and the determination that they have going through what they go through with you makes a huge difference in their lives,” Roth said.
Nuttall, one of the first professional mixed martial arts type fighters in the U.S. — according to his website — said later that he has studied karate since the 1960s, leading to his employment as a security worker and a bodyguard.
His business, begun on North Main Street in 1972, is one of the oldest in Weatherford, he said, and is now training a third generation at its interstate location.
Karate is more about attitude and leadership than it is about kicks and punches, Nuttall said, and people are beginning to realize that.
“I think people’s respect for karate as a tool in life has gone up,” he said, “the discipline, the core values, the focus ... [students] focus on what they want and how to achieve it.”