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3 May 2005

JSU's Dr. Beard is Nation's Second Highest Ranking Yudo Instructor

Dr. Larry Beard (foreground) at workshop.

By Randy Wilson
JSU News Bureau

Jacksonville State University's Dr. Larry Beard, associate professor of special education, is the second highest ranked yudo instructor in the United States and serves as the faculty advisor of JSU's Judo/Yudo Club.

Dr. Larry Beard, a faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, holds an eighth dan (blackbelt) in judo/yudo, eighth dan in jujitsu, and fourth dan in karate. Dr. Beard has been teaching martial arts for more than 37 years, including the last three at JSU.

"It's nice to be recognized by your peers as excelling in something you love doing," said Dr. Beard.  "I have a great many friends in many places, and their support and encouragement has meant a great deal to me."

Dr. Beard's coach, John E. Chambers, president and founder of Martial Arts USA and the highest-ranked instructor in the US, said, "A natural, people who appear to have been born to master a particular sport, is a very rare commodity. The highest compliment or praise that I could give any martial artist would be to call that person a natural. Larry Beard is a natural." 

JSU Student David Howell describes Dr. Beard as "Chuck-Norris-meets-Mr.-Rodgers." Mr. Howell says Dr. Beard's humble attitude, insightful personality, and devastating martial arts skills combine to make Dr. Beard a special member of the JSU community.

"Dr. Beard makes martial arts fun and exciting for everyone," said Mr. Howell, a founding member of the judo club. "Regardless of your level of skill, you can learn something new while having a good time and then want to come back." 

"[Dr. Beard] far exceeds the training requirements for his teaching certification in both Judo & Yudo," said Mr. Chambers  "In addition, [Dr. Beard] has achieved examiner certification."

An examiner is qualified to certify a person as a martial arts instructor.  According to Mr. Chambers, becoming certified as an examiner is a tedious and extremely time-consuming process.  Dr. Beard's skills had to be performed before the Judo/Yudo Board of Examiners to prove that he is qualified to teach and certify other instructors. The Board must vote unanimously for a candidate to receive the credential to examine and certify others.

  According to Mr. Kristopher Rosser, the current president of the JSU Judo/Yudo Club, the club was formed nearly three years ago. Everyone in attendance at club meetings will get to see some incredible martial arts demonstrations as well as participate in a wide variety of techniques. The club offers membership to the JSU student body and faculty or staff regardless of experience. Both blackbelts and beginners are welcomed. The only requirement is to have a willingness to learn.

"Judo has taught me that, on any given day, anyone can be beat," said Dr. Beard. "You have to be on top of your game at all times, and this translates into work, play, and anything you do."

"Dr. Beard is truly an amazing person." said Mr. Rosser. "He very patient with his students and goes above and beyond the call of duty in support of the JSU Judo/Yudo Club."

In addition to serving as club advisor, Dr. Beard also hosts an annual judo competition (workshop) at JSU that attracts a host of instructors from several different martial arts disciplines. This year, the event will be held at Stephenson Hall the third weekend in July.

Dr. Beard co-founded Professional Combined Martial Arts, Inc., and has served on its board of directors. The PCMA is a union of martial artists that meets every summer to take turns teaching each other the arts they represent. The PCMA has clubs across the United States, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico, and South  Africa. Dr. Beard formed a martial arts club at Georgia Southern University in 1999, prior to coming to JSU.

Dr. Beard added,  "Judo is a team sport and no one can do it alone. This philosophy also spills over into my professional and private life. I try to learn something new every time I step on the mat, and I try to learn something new every day."

For more information about the JSU Judo/Yudo Club, please contact Dr. Larry Beard at

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