Help the students of Tang Soo Do Grandmaster Dr. Robert Beaudoin reclaim & renovate his school
The Short, Short Version
A New England Martial Arts Studio is in danger of being lost, along with the 60-year history of their Grandmaster instructor, who passed away at the beginning of 2020. Two students have found a way to get the studio back, secure the history of their teacher, and pass on his lessons to future generations.
His Legacy, Our Future…
On January 29, 2020, the students of the Beaudoin Academy of Karate of Waterbury, CT USA lost their Master Instructor and Academy owner, Dr. Robert E. Beaudoin. He was a prominent figure in American Martial Arts with a career that spanned six decades and ended with him being the Grandmaster of the World Tang Soo Do Association.
With his passing began a series of legal trials and tribulations only made more difficult by a global pandemic, resulting in the near loss of his studio, where he taught thousands of students for more than 30 years. But now we have an opportunity to return the Academy to its students, and turn it into a proper Memorial site of this amazing human being. But we need your help to make it happen.
Who is Grandmaster Robert Beaudoin, what is the Academy of Karate, and Why Does it Matter?
While stationed in Korea with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, Robert Beaudoin started training in Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean Martial Art and earned his black belt in 1963 under his teacher- Grandmaster Jae C. Shin. Not long after returning to the states, he opened the Academy of Karate in Connecticut and began training students in 1965. He would later become a charter member of the World Tang Soo Do Association in 1982. Today, the WTSDA has over 100,000 members across 36 countries. He then became Grandmaster of the Association in 2010. But the Academy was always his school and the students that trained there learned from him directly. No matter what corners of the world Association business brought him to, he always made sure to come home and teach his students.
Martial Artists would come from all over the world to train at the Academy of Karate to learn from this remarkable and warm man. He would receive gifts and lessons from the different cultures and his Academy became a Mini-Museum of his travels.
The Academy of Karate is a symbol of Traditional Martial Arts in New England and for his students, some who have also become instructors and Masters over the years, it’s a home and a family.
The Passing of an Icon
Grandmaster Beaudoin’s passing was sudden and unexpected. It presented a host of legal issues over who owned the multiple decades-old property and who would take over as Master Instructor, if one of the students could even regain control of the property. Multiple businesses wanted the location and didn’t much care about the lineage of an aging Martial Arts school.
Then two months later, the global pandemic hit. Further turmoil met the Academy as it had to close down completely until all of the red tape could be worked through. Insurance issues meant that taking care of the property wasn’t allowed as ownership was in purgatory. Repairs needed to be made. If something wasn’t done soon, 55 years of history would be lost.
Someone steps up to the Plate
Enter Anthony Bracco and Dan Farrelly. Anthony is a long time local small business owner and student of the Academy for over 20 years. Dan is a Computer Science Engineer and trained under Grandmaster Beaudoin for over 30 years. Anthony’s daughters are black belts, Dan met his wife (A 4th-degree Black Belt Master Instructor and 3-time Regional Champion herself) there. The Beaudoin Academy of Karate was a part of their lives that they weren’t so willing to let go.
Anthony had the experience at running a business and Dan had the experience at running the Academy, taking the lead any time Grandmaster Beaudoin was away. Together, they came up with a plan to save the spirit of the Academy of Karate while also updating it and rebuilding it for future generations. But it’s going to take a village.
Anthony managed to cut through the red tape and has secured an agreement with the Beaudoin family to buy the Academy, as is. That alone was a costly endeavor. Upon doing all the inspections necessary, and the reality of a post-pandemic world, it was seen that major upgrades needed to be made. The heating / ventilation system, roof repair, parking lot irrigation, along with expanding the facility’s training floor, office space, and storage. Even adding an outdoor training space for the warmer months and for safer training.
Aside from the renovation, work will be put into properly preserving and displaying the many pieces of history that highlight the fascinating journey of Dr. Robert E. Beaudoin, the man behind the Academy and creating a mini-museum of sorts.
The $75,000 we’ve set as an initial target is only about half of what it will take to do all of these things, with Anthony taking on the pressure of the other half. But this wasn’t meant to make money. Every dollar raised for this project will go directly into the Academy.
This is a symbol of the legacy of the Beaudoin Academy of Karate. A wall of Black Belts dating back to the late 60s. Grandmaster Beaudoin trained all regardless of race, gender, or beliefs, even at a time when that wasn’t looked to kindly upon. He believed everyone deserves a place to train. A family. That is the legacy he created and the future we hope to continue with this project.
The Challenges of this Project
We’re reopening a martial arts studio during a Global pandemic. That challenge is pretty obvious. More so, renovations take time and we want to make sure we do everything correctly. So we’re hitting ground running. Our goal is to be open by April 2021, under the guidance of whatever the State guidelines are to keep our students safe. Even if we have to start classes virtually, we will have our home ready to welcome everyone back when the time is right. We plan on keeping everyone in the loop every step of the way with regular video and photo updates. We’re not only saving a family, but we’re building a community.
Our Gifts for Donors
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