Back to Instructors


Dave Hofer
Kudan 9th Degree Black Belt

Dave began training in karate in 1972 and was promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt in August of 1974.  He was the first person promoted to the rank of black belt by Tim Golby, and so began his long and varied career as a martial artist.

Dave was among the original “bare knuckle fighters”, winning grand championships in national U.S. tournaments, fighting without benefit of what is now regulation hand gear.  Trophies rapidly multiplied as Dave placed in all 36 tournaments in which he competed.

His success earned him the honor of wearing the Checkered Gi, which was presented to him at a special awards banquet by Joe Lewis, Al Tracy and Tim Golby.  As a master instructor, Dave trains other Tracy’s instructors and is the head trainer of the Tracy’s Karate Tournament Team, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest free sparring minds in the country.

Dave has organized and promoted the Hofer Classic tournament in St. Louis since 2003.  He believes that the finest Black Belts should have a showcase for their talents and should receive the recognition they deserve by displaying their skills for others outside the usual ring.  At the Hofer Classic, only 12 Black Belts compete, and the audience is treated to an exceptional display of range, motion, experience and technique.  Because it is limited to 12, Dave says, “It is a dream here for Tracy’s Orange Belts to someday compete in the Hofer Classic.”

In addition to karate, Dave enjoys many sports, such as pool, horseshoes, bowling and golf.  He is proud of his son David, Jr., who is also an instructor at Tracy’s, and his son Ben, who just earned his Black Belt.

            “I identify and applaud student strengths, but I can actually teach people better when they lose.  I can see the small parts, focus on those, and help the student improve.”