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Meet Robert McGee: At 71, FSU professor is a martial arts champ (202 hits)

Fayetteville State University accounting professor Robert McGee has won 445 medals in martial arts competitions.

Robert McGee was 65 when he returned to the martial arts he had practiced when he was younger.

“I didn’t know if I could do it anymore,” he said. “I didn’t have a heart attack, so I decided to keep going.”

That was six years ago. Today McGee, an accounting professor at Fayetteville State University, has hundreds of martial arts medals under his belt, including five world championships. And he has no plans to quit any time soon.

McGee, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, is a lawyer and certified public accountant who practiced in New Jersey and later Florida. He has also served as a teacher and consultant in countries around the world.

In high school, McGee had worked as a boxing sparring partner and later started learning the martial arts, studying under noted instructor Shigeru Kimura. But the demands of his profession caused him to drift away from the sport.

After McGee moved to Fayetteville in 2012, he saw a sign for the ATA Black Belt Academy. It reignited a passion for martial arts.

“I was getting out of shape,” said McGee, who estimated he’s lost 25 pounds since taking up the practice again.

McGee started studying tae kwon do and kung fu. He also took up tai chi.

Although a lot of years had passed since he had practiced martial arts, McGee said he quickly rediscovered the benefits of the practice.

“I like the exercise,” he said. “It’s cardio and stretching. I’m more flexible than I was before.”

Initially, McGee said, he had no real desire to compete in tournaments — for one thing, he thought he was too old.

But after taking part in a few and winning them — sometimes besting competitors much younger than he is — McGee dove into martial arts competitions.

To date, McGee said, he has won 445 medals, including 239 gold, 121 silver and 85 bronze. He has taken six first-place trophies in karate national championships.

Today, martial arts trophies and plaques line the walls of McGee’s small FSU office along with academic certificates and a mock-up of one of his book covers.

McGee has written five novels, including a political thriller called “Justifiable Homicide,” and dozens of books on topics such as tax law and economics. They are available at his website, RobertWMcGee.com.

At FSU, McGee said he teaches five classes, including four online. He said some of his students are surprised to learn that their 71-year-old professor is a martial arts champion.

“It’s an incentive for them to do their homework,” he said with a laugh.

McGee said he will continue to practice martial arts as long as he is able. He is hoping to rack up some more world championships and jokes that he’s become an “alpha male” in his old age.

“Just more of the same,” he said. “More world championships, more novels, more trips to exotic places.”


Rodger Mullen
Staff writer
@RodgerMullen

https://www.fayobserver.com/

Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at rmullen@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3561.
Posted By: Elly Moss
Thursday, March 7th 2019 at 8:37PM
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