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Member Profile: Gainesville Dojo still thriving after 30 years of business

Member Profile: Gainesville Dojo still thriving after 30 years of business

If watching a Bruce Lee movie doesn’t entice you enough to consider trying martial arts, a chat with Keith Teller definitely will.

Owner of the Gainesville Dojo, Teller has been instructing boxing, kickboxing and various styles of martial arts since opening up shop in 1985. Teller first got into the sport in the 70s while living in New York City and was later mentored by Grandmaster Peter Urban, the founder of USA Goju karate. He moved to Gainesville in 1985 when his wife took over her father’s medical practice. His first Dojo was located on campus in Hume Hall, but he soon ventured off campus to the area now occupied by Innovation Square.

The Dojo recently celebrated its first year at its new location at 727 SW 4th Ave.

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“People want to know how to defend themselves,” Teller said.

The Dojo integrates firearm training into its courses, allowing permitted students to receive instruction on how to respond if a weapon is used against them.

“When I grew up if people wanted to fight, they went outside and that was it. Nowadays, it’s much more common to see someone pull out a gun during a fight,” Teller added.

Teller said students can start a course as young as four, provided he thinks they’ll be able to handle the sports.

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“We travel all around Florida competing in tournaments and I can’t remember the last time a student didn’t bring home a medal,” added Teller, who is also a Dean at Westwood Middle School.

“The month of May is our biggest travel season. Three out of the four weekends we’ll be around the state,” Teller said.

Courses at the Dojo are not through contracts and can be bought on a monthly or annual basis. Pricing information can be found at

When asked what is the most important thing to know about the Dojo, Teller said, “We’ll get you ready for sport, we’ll get you ready for life.”

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