SUGAR GROVE – Ron Troutman always knew his son, Rocky, was gifted athletically.
He couldn’t have known how successful Rocky’s Dojo and Gym would become however.
Rocky’s Dojo and Gym celebrated its 40th anniversary Sunday afternoon at its training center in Sugar Grove.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years already,” Ron Troutman said. “I’m 74 now but I still love doing it. The kids love me and I’m still teaching classes. My mom turned 102 and I’ve been married for 56 years. I’ve really been blessed.”
What started in Ron Troutman’s garage at 138 Monna Street in Sugar Grove is now a two-level, 6,400-square foot training facility that offers expert training in karate, kickboxing, MMA and Jujitsu, as well as weight training and Zumba. It’s been at its current 46 Terry Lane address since 1988.
As part of Sunday’s festivities, guests were able to watch a variety of exhibitions showcasing many of the classes offered regularly. Tours of the facility also were available as were plenty of kids activities, free snacks and refreshments and raffles.
Batavia resident Joey Casper just started taking karate classes a couple months ago, but was there to join in on the celebration.
“I’ve liked karate a lot so far and I am going to keep going until I’m a black belt,” the 10-year-old said. “I’ve had a lot of fun sparring today, and playing in the bouncy house and eating hot dogs.”
Sugar Grove resident Tom Scales also was on-hand with his sons, Jack (11) and Bryan (7).
Jack isn’t taking any classes, but spent three years in karate at Rocky’s, while Bryan is taking karate classes twice a week now.
“The kids are busy with football four days a week so we’re just enjoying a beautiful day here in the [Sugar] Grove eating freezy pops,” Scales said. “The classes here can teach the kids a lot and they can help them with their school work and their other sports.”
Rocky Troutman has seen how beneficial martial arts can be for those with other interests, too. He is a seventh-degree black belt and won national karate and kickboxing titles, and has seen many of his students use his teachings to excel in the classroom and in other sports.
“There’s confidence, focus and learning how to concentrate more and block out distractions,” he said. “It’s conditioning, the cardiovascular, and balance, footwork, flexibility and hand and eye coordination. Often, all of that is a tribute to doing karate.”
The Troutmans, who are the other father/son combo in the Illinois State Martial Arts Hall of Fame, aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. If that day does come, they certainly appear to be in good hands. They have more than 50 black belts on staff.
With that experienced and talented staff, what humbly started in a garage aims to remain one of the premier martial arts facilities in the Midwest for many years to come.