Community mourns loss of karate master; Services for Bob Nuttall set for Friday

Mar. 18—WEATHERFORD — The martial arts world lost a legend over the weekend with the passing of Bob Nuttall.

The longtime business owner and mentor to many died March 15 at age 72 after a courageous battle with cancer.

"Some people at the time (1972) said karate was a mystic science and was very misunderstood," Nuttall told the Weatherford Democrat back in 2014, when The Karate University celebrated its 42nd year in business.

Nuttall had been taking karate classes in Fort Worth, training under the legendary Grand Master J. Pat Burleson when he decided to provide the same opportunities for the Weatherford area. As popularity gained, the sensei expanded his business from its North Main location to the site off West Interstate 20.

Teaching everyone from children to adults to whole families, numerous individuals benefitted from Nuttall's leadership, which extended so much further than just teaching "self-defense."

"[He] teaches life skills," said mother Amanda Thompson, who enrolled two of her sons in The Karate University a few years ago. "It's more than just how to punch and kick."

The sensei was known to promote physical and mental development, including discipline, focus and perseverance, and would reward students with free dinners for their academic achievement.

Nuttall's death on March 15 marked the business' 53rd year to the day, more than a half century of training grandparents, parents, their kids and even city, county and state law enforcement officers, perhaps a nod to his own time spent in the U.S. Air Force.

In 2013, he earned the elite designation of 10th Degree Black Belt Grandmaster, a lifetime achievement both for Nuttall and his organization, and the county designated Jan. 8, 2013 as Grand Master Bob Nuttall Day in Parker County.

"There are many people who join the military and serve out long, distinguished careers, but very few 4-star generals," Burleson told county commissioners prior to a special recognition ceremony. "This is a 4-star general award. There aren't any more after this."

Nuttall was also among 22 martial arts instructors in the country to be nominated for the national Greatmats National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year award in 2018, earmarked for instructors who showed service, integrity and aimed to make a positive impact on their community and students.

Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at White's Funeral Home in Weatherford, with funeral services at 11 a.m. Friday at North Side Baptist Church.

Nuttall is survived by his wife, Jackie and daughters, Payton and Presley, among a host of other family members and "countless friends made over the years."