by Kelly Rudolph, leader, 1981 -1983
Rolla dojo was started in 1977 by Dan Lobmire at the University of Missouri – Rolla. Dan, already nidan, was also a student of Jon Beltram’s and had moved to Rolla the same year I did. I was a brown belt and had trained with Jon since 1973. In Rolla, Dan and I began training together and in a little while, we were also training new students. At first, Dan and I just trained together in his basement. But pretty soon, we found a good place to practice in an old building, and had a good full group, maybe ten of us training at once. We trained hard. Dan was a mad-dog trainer. He had me kicking feathers and doing makiwara practices, drinking ginseng tea and practicing for hours. I was on a football scholarship, and they wrote me up in The Rolla Daily News because I was the only player doing Zen meditation before football games. I did forty-five minutes of Zen breathing and punched the walls with my forearms and fists getting ready for games. Lobmire was always there in the stands watching me. Jon Beltram and Donnie Duncan used to come down, too, to watch the games and conduct kyu tests. Dan left in 1980 or 1981. He got transferred to Springfield. I had passed shodan in 1978 in Illinois. So, I started leading the practices for another two or three years there. We had a pretty good group, too. Rick Solomon started with me, now a shodan, and Walter Schneider, a Peruvian guy -they were two tough brown belts who come to mind. When I left, Tom Sager, an old SKA shodan from some other dojo, took over the group. I believe it remained active until about 1987. Anyway, we had a great time for a lot of years.