If anyone has been around Marion County at any kind of public event then they most likely have seen this man. He is a sensei, barber, farmer, and most of all a husband and father. Fred Gause is a man who without a doubt has made an appearance at every event held in Marion County. He is seen normally in a karate robe surrounded by children taking up martial arts, but who is the man behind that robe?
After graduating high school he decided not to go to college but to go through a management program with Sonic. This job led him to do a lot of traveling and “living out of a suitcase.” His job was to go to new Sonic restaurants, training staff and managers to operate the new stores. Gause did this for two years from 1997-99.
“I learned a lot about people and a lot about management during that time,” he said.
Gause said during his years working in management he had to stay clean cut, which caused him to spend a lot of time in barbershops. Through this he learned he had a passion for cutting hair, so in 2001 he pursued becoming a licensed barber.
“Some of the most important days of peoples lives, they come to the barber shop,” he said. “It could be graduation, a birthday, wedding, or even a funeral and it’s fun to hear the stories.”
While all of this was happening Gause was still practicing the martial arts. He said the karate school came about when he was training privately, he began to help kids learn and then it got so big he began to do classes. This was how Marion Karate Studios began in 2000. Marion Karate Studios is a mentoring program held at Grice’s Recreation Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Gause then opened up his own martial arts studio in Marion, Champion Martial Arts in 2009, which offers martial arts training to all ages.
Today, Gause works throughout Marion County with several different mentoring programs and schools including: Marion School District 2 after school mentoring program (Apples) and summer program (TEA Studios), Marion School of Music, and Troy Johnson Learning Corner in addition to his work at Champion Martial Arts, Marion Karate Studios, and Fred’s Barber Shop.
“There is a love for people, there is a general love for them,” he said about why he does all the programs he does.
"Fred is more than a karate teacher, he acts like a life coach, challenging all his students to live like champions in everything they do,” Dr. Vincent Mendes said, a student taking lessons for more than a year at Champion Martial Arts. “And his heart for people doesn't stop with just his students ... Every time I talk to Fred, he is thinking of some other way he can try to benefit the community, whether it's through working with the schools, or planning community events to inspire the youth of our county, Fred is always trying to think of ways to give more than he gets out of life,” Mendes said, adding “he ain't half bad at cutting hair either.”
Marisa Monroe 21st Century Program director for Marion School District 2 said Gause is a tremendous asset to the APPLE Afterschool Arts & Leadership Academy.
“He not only challenges our students physically but also emotionally and socially, which builds a connection with them to excel above and beyond their limits,” she said. “Sensei Gause leads by example in his class and instills in our students a level of respect, discipline, and perseverance. Our students absolutely love him and we always have a waiting list for his class!”
Gause married his wife Ronile on July 30, 2005, and has four children Fredasia, Frederick, Renilah, and Ahmad.