Robert Teller, left, who operates an Okinawan karate academy in Lower Pottsgrove, recently visited the Japanese island to receives his 8th-degree black belt and accompanying certificate
POTTSTOWN PA – Robert Teller, founder of Robert Teller’s Okinawan Karate Academy – located at the 422 SportsPlex on Industrial Highway in Lower Pottsgrove – recently received an 8th-degree black belt during a trip to Okinawa.
Teller’s January (2014) trip, accompanied by his wife Kiyoko and son Jimmy (a 6th degree black belt), represented his first return to the island in 27 years. He also traveled with two other black-belt students from the school, John Anthony (6th degree) and Levi Wolf (2nd degree). While in Okinawa, Teller and the students trained extensively at various dojos in the Okinawan karate system.
Okinawan karate is the forerunner of many different kinds of martial arts, including Japanese karate, Korean martial arts like Tae Kwan Do and Tang Su Do, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The word karate is often translated as “empty hand,” referring to the weaponless martial arts system that Okinawans practiced against invading Japanese hundreds of years ago.
Teller is a leading authority in the United States on both karate and kobudo. He is a former U.S Air Force medic who served three tours in Okinawa between 1965 and 1981. While there he trained with renowned masters, and was one of the first Americans to study previously-secret Okinawan family arts not generally taught to outsiders.
“I was deeply honored to receive the rank of 8th degree black belt during my recent trip to Okinawa,” Teller said. “It was good to renew my ties to the island, and to refresh my love for traditional karate.”
Teller’s dojo in Lower Pottsgrove is called Ryu Shin Kan in Japanese, which translates to “Okinawan True Hands Academy.” It offers classes Monday through Thursday for ages 4 through adult. For more information, call 610-323-2007 or send him an e-mail, here.
“I am continually amazed that a karate master of Sensei Teller’s caliber is located right here in Pottstown,” said Wolf, a Pottstown native. “I feel very lucky to have found him.”
Teller, fourth from left, and his local students, including Pottstown attorney Levi Wolf, second from right, gather outside following the black belt ceremony
Photos from the Okinawan Karate Academy