Daniel Island Sensei Glenn Raus Raises the Standard for Fitness

July 14, 2011

Resident Sensei Glenn Raus runs one of the most successful Japan Karate Institute programs in Charleston.  He has also attained a highly credited 2nd degree Black Belt.  And he runs marathons.  And competes in triathlons.  He also trains for Ironmans.  So, one may wonder, when does he find the time to sleep?

“I have one the best jobs in the world and a terrific staff that offers me a lot of support,” says Glenn.  “I live within walking distance to the Dojo.  And I can train right outside my front door. Daniel Island is a terrific place to run, bike and swim.”

Glenn and his wife, Audra, moved to Daniel Island from James Island four years ago.  Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Glenn always knew that he eventually wanted to move south.

“It was the blizzard of ’96 that finally did it.  I just got tired of shoveling my driveway for hours on end,” Glenn confesses.  “And then having to do it all over again!  I knew I had to make a change.”

Glenn’s brother was living in Charleston and that’s what brought him to the area.  Soon after, he began working as a scorekeeper for the Charleston Battery soccer team, which eventually landed him a job at Blackbaud, a leading software developer headquartered on Daniel Island.

“It was at that time that I developed an interest in karate.  So, I decided to start taking classes at the Japan Karate Institute in West Ashley,” says Glenn.

Not only did he meet his future wife, Audra, at one of those classes, but he also developed a life-long passion that would eventually lead him to opening his own Dojo.

JKI's Little Ninja program is a popular class for preschoolers.

Sensei Glenn opened Japan Karate Institute on Daniel Island in October of 2003.  Just three months later, he had over 40 students enrolled in the program.  A year later, he was able to quit his job at Blackbaud and commit himself to running JKI full time.

“It was when Audra and I were expecting our first child that we started looking for a new home,” Glenn continued.  “One of her prerequisites was that she wanted to be able to safely walk the baby to the Dojo.  And Daniel Island, fortunately, offered numerous choices for that.”

The Dojo kept growing and Sensei Glenn started to not only offer karate classes, but also  adult fitness, women’s self defense and empower hour classes.  Not to mention the popular after school karate program for kids ages 5 and up, as well as a JKI summer camp program.

Not long after Glenn opened the Dojo, one of his students asked him if he was interested in training for a triathlon.

“I had just turned 40, and my clothes were beginning to feel tight. This was a real wake-up call and it was then that I decided to do something about it,” Glenn said.  “So, I decided to just go for it!”

JKI progress evaluations are held every three months.

In 2006, Glenn successfully competed in his first Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series.  He completed his first half marathon in 2007 and shortly thereafter raced the Kiawah Island Marathon.  In 2009 he competed in his first half Ironman, and in 2010 his first full Ironman.  He is currently training for the Louisville Ironman that will take place in August.

“I have three goals:  To complete the Ironman in under 12 1/2 hours, finish the race and not go to the medical tent,” commented Glenn.  “And, most importantly, to have fun!”

Have fun, that is, while doing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run. So, how does he do it?  What drives him?

“I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to limits I’ve never achieved before.  It’s about discovery.  It’s just me against myself,” says Glenn.

And not only is Glenn training for the Louisville Ironman, but he has also successfully recruited 20 Daniel Island residents to train for the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series scheduled for August 14.

“I sent out one e-mail and all of a sudden I had 20 people show up for the first training session!  Some of them are parents and students at the Dojo,” Glenn comments.  “For many, this will be their first triathlon.  It’s really inspiring.”

Glenn has completed numerous Triathlons and Marathons. He is currently training for his second full Ironman.

Glenn uses a 9-week training program in conjunction with TrySports, a specialty fitness retail store, where he serves as an ambassador to expose and inspire more people to participate in triathlons.

So, what could possibly be the next big goal?

“I hear someone might be organizing a 10-mile swim around Charleston,” says Glenn. “I don’t know if I can do it, but I’ll try!”

In the meantime, Japan Karate Institute on Daniel Island will be celebrating its eighth anniversary this year.

“I feel very fortunate to have a successful Dojo, live on the island and even be able to walk to work.  The cool thing about JKI is that I’m passing on the lessons that I’ve learned to students both young and old,” continues Glenn.  “My 6-year old daughter takes karate and she is already talking about inheriting the responsibilities of the Dojo.  It’s reassuring to know that, in some way or form, there will always be a JKI, whether I’m here or not.”

The purpose of Hei-Wado Karate training at the Japan Karate Institute on Daniel Island is “not to conquer others, but to conquer the weakness within oneself.”

Clearly, Sensei Glenn Raus is abiding by this high standard while setting an excellent example for his students and neighbors on Daniel Island.