57 Years a Judo, Forever a Duhawk

57 Years a Judo, Forever a Duhawk

by Alexander Rhomberg

A legacy Loras will never forget, Terry Smith retires after 57 years as Judo instructor. Coming to Loras as a Dubuque native in 1961, Smith was head of the Judo Club since he was 18.

Smith was introduced to Judo when one of his childhood friends was hesitant about trying the sport during high school. Smith offered to try as well, hoping to give his friend some encouragement.

“It was one of those if you try it, I’ll try it things,” Smith said. “Judo is a dynamic, physical, and mental sport, said Smith, “perfect for the college-aged student.” This is one of the main reasons why Smith stayed at Loras all these years. “I enjoyed it,” he said, “The people, the students, I like that age group, and the school was very cooperative with me and the program from the start.” Judo was offered as a credit hour course at Loras for seven semesters early in Terry’s career.

Smith also enjoys snow skiing, hunting, canoeing, and backpacking. In 22 years he has made 21 trips to the Rocky Mountains, backpacking for one or two weeks at a time. He is a big advocate of doing things while you are young, even if you are unsure about them.

“Go and do,” he says, “while you can still go and do it. Before you know it, you will be old and wonder why you never did anything adventurous with your life.”

When asked about his time at Loras, Smith said, “I have no regrets at all, it was all donated time and I loved all of it.” Age was a big factor in his decision to retire.

“I kept getting older,” he said. “All my students turned 21, then were suddenly replaced by ones who were 18 years old!”

At the age of 75, Smith was a fifth degree black belt. He has shared his skills with people of all ages from the Dubuque area.
“I enjoy the people within the city of Dubuque,” he said. “It has been great getting to work with them over the years.”

Smith said he looks back fondly on the time he spent at Loras. He encourages everyone to try something new, even if it is uncomfortable for them. His Loras legacy will be remembered.

After 57 years of judo at Loras College, Smith decided it was time to hang up the black belt and step away from judo — something he has enjoyed since he was 14. Loras’ sensei will be missed.

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