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Karate instructor Robert Fusaro awarded 8th Degree Black Belt

Robert Fusaro, instructor for PE 1035, Karate, and PE 1135, Intermediate Karate, has been awarded the level of 8th Degree Black Belt by the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF). Mr. Fusaro, who has been teaching Karate at the U of M since 1965, is 77. He began his training in 1955 while stationed in Japan during the Korean War and obtained his 1st Degree Black Belt in 1959. This award makes Fusaro one of the highest ranking non-Japanese to achieve this black belt level.

"Sensei Fusaro has been a mentor to thousands of Traditional Karate students throughout the years," said Richard Jorgensen, chair of the ITKF. "He is an outstanding instructor and role model."

Robert Fusaro

Fusaro was the first to propose that women should be allowed to compete in Kumite (sparring) tournaments. Until the late 1960s, women were allowed only to take karate classes. Fusaro trained Nina Chenault, the first woman to compete in tournaments in the United States. Along with his many other activities related to karate, he is an instructor for the Shotokan Karate Sport Club at the U of M Recreation Center.

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