Martial arts business expands into Fairfield Twp.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Budokai Tae Kwon Do recently expanded to a second location in Fairfield Twp.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Budokai Taekwondo opened a second Butler County location to accommodate growth.

The new location at 4103 Hamilton-Middletown Road in Fairfield Twp. is for Olympic taekwondo, cardio kickboxing, and Hapkido programs exclusively, as well as women’s self-defense programs, kid’s Grapple-Fit and bullying self defense.

Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs are still offered at the original location, Budokai Judo & Jiu-Jitsu, at 327 Main St., Hamilton.

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“We have everything from Little Bears, (which) starts at age four, all the way up to 60-year old people we have in our Hapkido class,” said co-owner Melissa Gerhardt, who also works for the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. “We have a little bit of something for everybody of all ages.”

The small dojo has produced gold, silver and bronze medalists in Olympic sparring and forms at U.S. nationals and international competitions, Gerhardt said.

“Our mission here at Budokai Taekwondo is simple,” she said. “It’s to help our students become more successful in life through the practice of martial arts, and always influence positive progress, growth and change in and out of the dojo.”

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Head instructors Master Rob Gerhardt, a sixth-degree black belt, and Master Debra Gutzwiller, a fifth-degree black belt, are two of the highest ranking black belts in the area and are certified by the United Taekwondo Association. They’re certified by Grandmaster Kyongwon Ahn, a ninth-degree black belt and 1992 USA Olympic Coach credited with bringing taekwondo to the Cincinnati area.

Co-owner Rob Gerhardt, whose involvement in the martial arts started as a child, holds a black belt in four disciplines: taekwondo, Hapkido, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu.

Budokai Taekwondo’s roots stretch back to 1965, when Hamilton Judo Club was founded by seventh-degree Judo black belt Sensei Frank Herzog, who operates Budokai Judo & Jiu-Jitsu. The Main Street location was purchased in 2014 and the Fairfield Twp. location opened in May.

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The Gerhardts said the new location provides “excellent frontage” to Ohio 4 and easy access to area highways.

Budokai TKD strives to instill and impart a champion’s attitude by way of three concepts, Melissa Gerhardt said. First is developing the mindset of a non-quitting spirit, enabling the student to overcome obstacles and work towards specific goals to become a successful achiever.

Second is developing positive habits that lead toward long-term success and happiness, habits such as self discipline, self respect and the internal drive and desire to become the best they can be, she said.

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Last, but not least, the dojo emphasizes to student to live by a set of principles and standards that can be applied to daily living and “to encourage the formation of high personal standards and to demonstrate respect for all human beings,” Gerhardt said.

“We are not an MMA gym,” she said. “We are family at Budokai, and work toward building a strong bond with our students, their families and the community we serve. We want to give back to the community, and help students learn the importance of being a good citizen and servant leader to their communities.”

For more information, including discounts for first responders and members of the military, call 513-324-5565 or visit

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