What started as a small satellite dojo is now an island institution. Over the past 20 years, Osupurē Karate (ospreykarate.com), formerly known as Japan Karate Institute, has not only taught a generation of students the art of karate but has transformed lives.
A lot of students and a lot of lives.
Over the years, more than 3,000 students have learned valuable life lessons at Osupurē.
When owner and Daniel Island resident Sensei Glenn Raus was working at Blackbaud, his original idea was to get a few adults from the company to take classes.
“Since there were absolutely no extracurricular activities for kids and adults offered on the island, my enrollment quickly grew. Starting with a handful of students in my ﬁrst class on Oct. 2, 2003, enrollment ballooned to over 75 by February of 2004,” Raus explained
Raus recognized the long term opportunities of the planned DI community. “My now sister-in-law was the original landscape architect assigned to the Daniel Island project, so I had a pretty good idea of the scope of what this island community was going to become.”
With his marketing experience at Blackbaud and nearly 20 years of working with the public, he partnered with his brother, Gerard, a CPA, to get the dojo off the ground. But Raus credits his wife Audra as the person “who truly made it all possible.”
Raus, a fourth-degree black belt in Wado Ryu Karate and third-degree black belt in the American Pressure Point Self Defense System, made a lifetime of memories in the past 20 years. To mark the memories, a special 20th anniversary class for past and present students was held on Oct. 2. The event also honored one of his late
black belt students, Bob Sauer, who passed away earlier this year. The dojo’s Tatami mat was named after Sauer during a dedication ceremony.
“Bob was the oldest student ever to come in and enroll.” Glenn told the class.
“At age 66, he was a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo, and he came in and said he wanted to learn karate. He got his white belt. He worked his way up through the belt ranks. And when he was 72, he earned his black belt.”
Raus told the students, despite Sauer’s growing age and a life-long respiratory condition, Sauer came to the dojo’s Tuesday and Thursday adult classes.
“Bob had a lung problem that followed him his whole life... and that never stopped him,” Raus said of Sauer.
Osupurē Karate is truly for everyone. They offer classes and programs for ages 3 and above.
Raus also taught a young man with cerebral palsy. “He could not stand without a walker or brace. We adapted karate in a way where he could get all the beneﬁts of the art while lying on the ﬂoor or standing in this walker. I honestly believe my students have taught me much more about life than I have ever taught them about karate.”
According to students and their parents, Raus has made a huge impact on their lives. For them, Osupurē feels like family.
Casey Griffin said her sons, Liam and Cyprian, who attended classes during their elementary school years, loved the 8 years they were a part of Osupurē. “Sensi Glenn’s passion and caring makes Osupurē, not just a dojo, but a family. We are grateful for the time that we spent as part of that family,” she said.
Erin Frisby’s 5-year-old son Bryce has only been at Osupurē Karate for six months but she’s already extremely impressed with the results of Raus’ leadership. “I cannot fathom the level of impact he’s had on others throughout the DI community since inception…His dedication to his students is remarkable.”
Jenny De La Cour’s son, Finn Breckons, started at the dojo when he was still in kindergarten. “The instructors are able to offer individual feedback at an age-appropriate level so the kids enjoy learning karate,” she said. “The summer camps are my son’s first choice every year; he and the other kids seem to like the karate games as
much as the water park.”
Andrea Jones’ sons, Matthew and Teddy, have been a part of the Osupurē family since moving to DI in 2016. Both boys took karate classes through 2021, even during COVID. Teddy achieved the rank of blue belt before moving on to other sports while Matthew still trains at the dojo and is working towards his second-degree black belt.
“I love the sense of community there, and the way Sensei Glenn develops the students not just in the techniques of Wado Ryu karate, but also as well-rounded people,” Jones said. “I would also like to acknowledge how Sensei Glenn handled COVID. He quickly pivoted to an online format via Zoom, held classes in the parking lot of
Osupurē and even visited individual students to give lessons in yards and driveways. It was an activity my boys could maintain through the lockdown period to still feel connected to friends and normal life.”
Out of the box activities and Zoom classes kept the dojo going when it was hit hard by the pandemic. “With the help of my wonderful staff and some creative thinking, we survived,” Raus explained. “We are now back to selling out our summer camps and after school karate programs. Our evening classes are growing again, so the
future looks very bright.”
When he’s not at the dojo, Raus, who is also a singer-songwriter, can be found performing gigs throughout the Lowcountry. Go to chicosuavemusic.com to find out where he’s performing or to check out his music streaming on all platforms as Glenn Raus. He’s also a co-owner of the Daniel Island Barber Shop.