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Present and Future of Famous Chillicothe Karate Studio

Maureen (L) and Heather (R) Madden, two of the three daughters of late Chillicothe martial arts master Don Madden, August 17th, 2023.

Chillicothe — A historical karate studio continues in operation – with a major event next month – as its former downtown location is idle after being damaged by fire.

Don Madden produced more grand champions in the world in martial arts, was the head coach for the U.S. karate team, and is still the most winningest coach of all time, according to his daughters…who all have black belts.

Heather, Colleen, and Maureen Madden discussed the future of their father’s former studio at 42 East Second Street with the Chillicothe Design Review Board Thursday. Don Madden died in October of 2021, and fire damaged his property in October of 2022. The studio that he built there by hand has been demolished, but the historical cast-iron-fronted building remains, though boarded up, across from the Majestic Theatre.

Heather, Colleen, and Maureen Madden talk about their property at 42 East Second Street with the Chillicothe Design Review Board August 17th, 2023.

The sisters explored their options with the Design Review Board, saying they did not have any definite plans – but if they choose demolition, they would keep the facade standing.

Members of the Chillicothe Design Review Board and audience hear the Madden sisters and offer advice.

The front of the 1891 building is comprised of cast-iron parts manufactured by the Mesker company. Many towns have a “Mesker” downtown, including Circleville and Jackson, as identified on knee-height plates along the sidewalk.

The Madden Building at 42 East Second Street in Chillicothe.

They told me that Don bought the building in 1960, and that he also bought a franchise from Schmidt’s Sausage Haus in German Village and operated that in the courtyard next door, formerly the site of a carriage livery. Don Madden had told me that he and others built the karate studio behind the courtyard.

Heather Madden continues her dad’s work, now teaching karate at the Carver Community Center at 165 West Fourth Street several blocks away – where her dad started teaching. The Madden studio is named “American Karate Ju-Jitsu Union Ko Sutemi Dojo” which she says means “small sacrifice, pick of the best.”

They have a large event coming up September 23rd, the Karate and Ju-Jitsu National Tournament along with USJJO Nationals, in the Shoemaker Center at Ohio University – Chillicothe. It’s an all-day event open to ages three and up, and spectators are welcome.

Her more in my below interview with Maureen and Heather Madden in front of their former studio in downtown Chillicothe.

Two of the three daughters of late Chillicothe martial arts master Don Madden give their thoughts on their dad’s fire-damaged property, and talk about an upcoming event, on August 17th, 2023.
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Raised in Ross County, Bearcat class of '87 at Paint Valley. Wrote a column on history and historic preservation for the Chillicothe Gazette right out of high school, then a bachelors in Journalism in the OU class of '91. After starting my one-man company "Intrepid Heritage Services" in Columbus in 1997 to offer historical research, tours, and talks, I retuned to Ross County in 2003. Have been working as a radio programmer and reporter at Clear Channel / iHeart Media Southern Ohio. Started working with the Scioto Post June 27th, 2023.