In addition to teaching youth, Nuttall has trained city, county and state law enforcement officers, donating hundreds of hours in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, often going into the field to do so.
“I assisted them in anything they needed ... to help subdue a violent person in the jail, to back them up ... ”
The sheriff once asked him to go to a hospital emergency room to help control a violent prisoner who claimed to have been injured, he said.
“They had to take off his shackles, all the leggings and everything,” he said. “There wasn’t anything wrong with him.
“The sheriff called me because he knew he was going to fight. I was able to use some different moves.”
“You can’t shoot a person just for fighting,” he said, explaining the use of physical force rather than the threat of firearms. “You have to show them you can control the situation.”
Up until 10 years ago, Nuttall said, he would often go on patrol with the sheriff’s deputies.
“In the county there used to only be one officer at night, and he really didn’t have any backup,” he said. “There might be another officer, but he would be clear across the county. So if anything happened ...”
Nuttall said it usually takes about five years to achieve a black belt, a well-known rank that is a full nine degrees below the rank of grandmaster.
“When you get a black belt, that’s when you really start learning,” he said. “This is more about how you’ve promoted martial arts.”
Nuttall said he was one of the first to compete in full contact professional fights, events that conclude when one competitor knocks the other unconscious.
“That was a thrill,” he reminisced, adding that the fights usually ended quickly. “They’ve become a lot safer.”
Receiving the prestigious award in January is both a big privilege and a lifetime job, Nuttall said.
He said it signifies that top Grand Master Burleson, who oversees karate champions all over the world, will name Nuttall as one of his three successors.