Thursday, February 20, 2014

Traditional Karate taught to University faculty and students

Soke Hausel, grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Karate
& Kobudo

Traditional Karate is considered to be a combat art and referred to as karatedo. The 'do' attached to karate referring to a life-long path one must take for enlightenment and better health. It may also be referred to as karate-jutsu - implying that kata (forms) are not a major part of the system. Over the years, many faculty and university students have trained in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo and many have moved on to teach martial arts, science, engineering, etc at universities around the world. Their interest in the traditional martial arts is related to structured karate classes and training that provide opportunities to learn traditions, karate history, philosophy, techniques and some Japanese language.

Over the past few decades, one instructor purposely focused on teaching martial arts to adults. Grandmaster (soke) Hausel taught karate, kobudo, samurai arts, self-defense and many other arts at Arizona State University, the University of New Mexico, University of Utah, and for 3 decades at the University of Wyoming as well as at Golds Gym and other facilities; thus, his experience is teaching adults. Because of his unique position in teaching at four universities, he was presented some unique credentials including kyoju (Professor of Budo). Budo translates as 'martial arts'. And as a geologist, he was presented many awards.

While teaching at the University of Wyoming, he trained a few thousand college students along with many faculty and university staff. When he moved to Gilbert, Arizona in 2006, he had hoped to establish a similar curriculum at ASU, CGCC or MCC, but found the university bureaucracy and community college bureaucracy too difficult to work with, so he opened the Arizona Hombu Dojo in Mesa.  

Okinawan karate and kobudo are taught at the Arizona Hombu on Baseline Road near Country Club. The classes include a wide variety of training taught by a Hall-of-Fame grandmaster such as traditional karate classes, jujutsu, self-defense, body hardening, samurai arts and martial arts weapons. These are all taught each week at the martial arts school located in the Phoenix East Valley.

On Okinawa, karate and kobudo evolved from Shaolin Kung Fu and became the premier form of self-defense in the world. The art was kept secret from all outsiders until the beginning of the 20th century. This martial art is considered pragmatic self-defense and not taught as sport. Over the years, a few thousand university students, staff and faculty have trained in the Shorin-Ryu martial arts.

University of Wyoming karate and kobudo class

Japanese Peace gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

Tea house at the Phoenix Japanese Peace Garden

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Martial Arts Training

Old monk - Pencil Sketch by Soke Hausel
Training in martial arts can be intense as well as entertaining. If you are interested in shedding pounds, there is no better exercise according to physical fitness experts than karate. There is something about kicking and punching with focus that burns more calories than any other physical fitness program. Even aerobic kickboxing is no where as efficient as karate, and this is due to focusing one's punches and kicks in karate. One learns to explosively strike with authority from a complete rest.

Karate is closely tied into Zen Buddhism and Mediation. This is because its predecessor, Gung Fu (Chu'an Fa) was integrated with Zen about 525 AD. According to legend, Shaolin Monks from China were at one time as out of shape as many Walmart shoppers. So much so, that many fell asleep during mediation and the snoring was more like a roar of a sleeping dragon.

This all changed when an Indian monk was placed in charge of the Shaolin Temple. This monk, known to history as Bodhidharma, was not only proficient in meditation, he was also well versed in bujutsu (combat arts). To awaken the sleeping dragon at the Shaolin Temple, Bodhidharma started training the monks in a fighting art referred to as 'Shi Po Lo Han Sho' which translates as the "18 hands of Lo Han". The rest is history - these former future Walmart Shoppers were turned into thin, muscular gymnasts with a kick like a horse!
Black belts Dr. Florence Teule and Lenny Martin practice Hakutsuru (White Crane)
Karate at the University of Wyoming during a martial arts clinic taught by Grandmaster Hausel of Gilbert Arizona.
Although we no longer teach Kids Karate Classes since we only focus on Adults and Families at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (a.k.a. Arizona Hombu), we still have fun telling kids and their parents this story. We have them all lie on the floor and make loud 'snoring' sounds before while we have a Bodhidharma look-alike step into the dojo and wake the kids (with their parents) and have them run a couple of laps around the dojo. The kids (and adults) love this.

Soke Hausel wearing hakama, Gilbert, Arizona
We also educate them about white crane karate by telling them about Shorin-Ryu Karate. We explaine that part of karate originated at the Chinese Shaolin Temple and point out that the Japanese translation of Shorin-Ryu is Shaolin style. Another part of this karate was developed by a Chinese woman who watched white cranes. In this scenario, the students are encouraged to walk around the dojo using their crane wings and then pecking at imaginary frogs.

There are other interesting and entertaining aspects of martial arts training. For instance, the karate uniform is not something most people are familiar with. In the1960s, many dojo supplied these 'angry white pajamas' to students in beginning karate classes who were not familiar with tying them. It happened a few times a month - a new student would lose his pants during training - usually while walking forward in zenkutsu dachi (front stance).  This wardrobe malfunction continues to the present when new students first put on a hakama - those strange pleated and bloused pants we see on many traditional aikido and iaido martial artists. If not given instruction, essentially everyone puts them on backwards.
Tai Chi Sunrise - Pencil sketch by Soke Hausel

Martial arts brings out the best in most people. But at times, it brings out strange aspects of personality. While a professor of budo (martial arts) at the University of Wyoming, a potential student walked into the University dojo to explain to the Grandmaster and Hall-of-Fame martial artist that when he (the student trained) at another university, it was tradition anyone who defeated their instructor would become owner of the instructor's katana (samurai sword). Soke asked the student to bring his former instructor's sword to the next samurai class so he could see the famous sword.

Believe it or not, the student actually showed up. The famous sword was a  $25 samurai sword. But when Soke walked in carrying his katana and said he accepted this student's challenge - the student quickly vanished - We never saw him again.

Pencil sketch by Soke Hausel

Soke Hausel poses with students at the University of Wyoming 30th anniversary Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club clinic in Laramie. Soke Hausel taught classes and clinics at the University of Wyoming for more than 3 decades as well as at Arizona State University, University of New Mexico and the University of Utah.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Traditional Martial Arts Schools and Classes in Arizona

The Phoenix Peace Garden
Traditional martial arts schools and classes focus on instilling self-confidence, positive thinking, self-respect and respect for others. Those who practice traditional martial arts are typically positive and better designed to handle many of life's curve balls.

At one unique traditional martial arts school in the East Valley of Phoenix, adults from Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek and Apache Junction have a rare opportunity to train under a grandmaster in martial arts who is also a member of several martial arts Halls-of-Fame. His martial arts school is not the typical 'I'm tougher than you' school; instead it's a martial arts school of higher education - a school where members learn about martial arts traditions, history, philosophy, physics, why martial arts work and even a little Japanese.

People are surprised when they discover many things about karate - for instance, that it was developed on the tiny island kingdom of Okinawa and was kept secret from the rest of the world for hundreds of years. They are also surprised that parts of karate may have been derived and modified from the teachings of a Chinese woman, who developed a significant art we refer to as White Crane Gung Fu by watching the movements of white cranes. There are complex some forms in karate that are more than obvious that they mimic the crane. These have devastating self-defense applications taught only to a few trusted students.

Those who attend this school have a rare opportunity to learn more than they could ever imagine. And no where else in Arizona can people earn legitimate black belt ranks from 1st degree black belt (shodan) all the way to 10th degree black belt (judan). Some people join this school and only learn the basics (kihon) of martial arts, but other dedicated students take the time to learn many of the secrets of martial arts. All of this is wrapped up and taught as part of Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo.

Kobudo weapons line the walls at the Arizona Hombu - most martial arts weapons
are tools of trade for farmers and fishermen on Okinawa.
As an example, the many martial arts taught at this school (Arizona School of Traditional Karate) (Arizona Hombu) include:
  1. Traditional Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate.
  2. Kobudo
  3. Samurai Arts
  4. Self-Defense
  5. Jujutsu
  6. Nunchaku 
  7. Sai jutsu
  8. Kama
  9. Tonfa
  10. Tsune (cane)
  11. Kuwa (hoe)
  12. Ra-ke (rake)
  13. Hojojutsu (rope restraints)
  14. Manrikigusari (chain)
  15. Hanbo (half-staff)
  16. Kibo (Kioga, expandable baton)
  17. Bo (long staff)
  18. Jo
  19. Kuboton
  20. Naginata
  21. Yari (sojutsu)
  22. Kenjutsu
  23. Iaido
  24. Tekko
  25. Gusarigama (Chain and Sickle)
  26. Suriken
  27. Tanto (Knife)
  28. Kempojutsu
  29. Katana (Samurai Sword)
  30. Nitanbo
  31. Shitai Kori (body hardening)
  32. Kata
  33. Bunkai
  34. Modern kobudo weapons such as books, magazines, pens, keys, etc.

Seiyo dojo in Casper, Wyoming (photo by Ken Knight)
So, how can we offer so many different varieties of martial arts compared to all other schools in Arizona? The Arizona School of Traditional Karate has a group of black belt instructors that have combined experience of more than 100 years in martial arts. Our instructors include a Grandmaster with 2 dozen martial arts certifications and several black belt ranks, a 6th degree black belt Shihan (Master instructor), two grandparents with 2nd degree black belts who trained in Japan (one is of Samurai lineage), and other black belt instructors. Our grandmaster is also a member of Who's Who in the World and a member of more than a dozen Halls-of-Fame primarily as a world-class martial arts instructor.

Yan Ma with the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate
club demonstrates beautiful technique.
The next time you check for martial arts schools in Arizona, see if any other school can compare to our qualifications, experience and prices.

Soke Hausel demonstrates White
Crane Karate in celebration of
Chinese New Year at the university.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Traditional Martial Arts in Tempe and Scottsdale Arizona

Daniel San, “So, karate's fighting. You train to fight”
Miyagi, “That what you think?”
Daniel San, “No”
Miyagi, “Then why train?”
Daniel San, “So I won't have to fight?”

Just like Mr. Miyagi in the original Karate Kid movie, traditional martial arts have lineage to show credibility and legitimacy. This is how the Okinawan martial arts system has developed legitimacy over centuries - it is traditional and it is effective.

"Bow to each other". Bowing in Okinawan martial arts known as 'rei', is very
important to instill respect for all people who train in martial arts.

One martial arts school in the East Valley of Phoenix really shines when it comes to Traditional Okinawa martial arts. The school referred to as the Arizona Hombu is also known as the Arizona School of Traditional Karate. For those who do not train in "traditional karate" or understand Japanese, a hombu is rare in the West as this is the headquarters for a specific system or style of martial arts. To have a Hombu dojo, it must be sanctioned by the Grandmaster of the style. The Grandmaster is the world head of the martial arts style (known as ryu) and teaches at a hombu

There are two traditional and legitimate ways one can achieve the level of grandmaster. One is to study the system for decades learning all that can be learned from the style and then be selected by the grandmaster to inherit the style upon death. The other is similar. One must study a martial art system for decades and develop a hybrid that becomes recognized by a legitimate martial arts association and its grandmaster. In both cases, a grandmaster must have decades of experience and many unique qualities. He must be a world class instructor.

Unfortunately, some in the West have declared themselves to be grandmaster with no legitimate right. Such self-proclaimed illegitimate grandmasters can be likened to a person awarding himself with a PhD in astrophysics. Simply because a person read a book on astrology, does not make that person an astronomer.

Most people in Tempe and Scottsdale have a general idea of what karate is – a martial art created on Okinawa a few centuries ago, but only a small percentage of the population is familiar with kobudo. Kobudo and karate have always been blended in Okinawan martial arts schools, the place of birth of karate. In the 15th century, Okinawan King Shoshin was concerned about possible civil unrest and was also a non-violent Buddhist. Based on his concerns, he issued an edict banning all weapons on his island kingdom. However; his subjects were not convinced that a non-violent agenda would give them peace. Thus, the people of Okinawa developed kobudo, a martial art of tools used in self-protection. They began to train with tools of trade such as hoes, rakes, sticks, oars, fish hooks, etc. as weapons.

Members of Tempe and Scottsdale communities have an opportunity to train in Traditional Okinawa Karate and Kobudo, and traditional samurai arts at the nearby Arizona Hombu (Arizona School of Traditional Okinawa Martial Arts), the home of Hall-of-Fame martial artist Soke Hausel.

Professor Hausel celebrated his Golden Anniversary in martial arts in 2014. With so many years of training and teaching, this gives him an unique perspective of martial arts. While at the University of Wyoming, he was awarded title of Professor of Martial Arts by an international American-Japanese-Okinawan martial arts association and taught a variety of martial arts for three decades at the university in addition to his geological research. Over three decades, a few thousand students and faculty trained in traditional martial arts and many were awarded yudansha (black belt) at various levels. Soke Hausel retired from the university in 2007 and taught classes for a short period at Arizona State University before opening a public school for his hombu in the East Valley of Phoenix.

Dr. Florence Teule from France using back fist at the
Arizona Hombu.
The type of martial arts taught at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate have become known as the Tim the Tool Man Taylor More Power martial arts. Using hip rotation, perfect balance and accelerating forward, or grabbing an attacker and accelerating them into a punch or kick, or just stepping aside, his students are learning to develop as much power per punch as can be obtained. Students also learn to use many different weapons, which is very important in Okinawa Karate. At one clinic, Soke taught his students to use a kuboton which he sometimes substitutes short sticks, pens, pencils, memory sticks, magazines and even Duck Commander duck calls in classes and clinics.

Members of the traditional Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo club also learn the samurai arts of traditional jujutsu, iaido, kenjutsu (samurai sword), sojutsu (spear), naginatajutsu (halberd), manrikigusari (chain), hojojutsu (rope) as well as self-defense. Self-defense clinics at the Arizona Hombu have also been popular.

Students at the Arizona Hombu include doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, professors, scientists, law enforcement agents, etc. The doors to the Hombu are open to any non-violent and humble individuals interested in learning Okinawan martial arts from a Hall of Fame martial artist.

Two yudansha (black belts) at the Arizona Hombu 

At the 26th anniversary of the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Club in 2003, Soke Hausel (front, 6th from left) brought in world-renown Okinawan Martial Artist, O'Sensei Tadashi Yamashita for a martial arts clinic. Yamashita sits 8th from the left. Also in this photo are Hanshi Andy Finley (3rd from left), Hanshi Ron Smith (fifth from left), Soke-Dai Eric Hausel (6th from right), Dr. Sumeet Aphale (5th from right), Dr. Doug Kinath (6th from right in center row), Dr. Wayne Jensen (5th from right in center row), Sensei Kyle Linton (7th from right center row) Shihan Dai Kyle Gewecke (2nd from right back row) and Soke-Dai Jessica Hausel (3rd from right back row).
Soke Hausel (center) at the University of Wyoming where he taught a martial arts clinic for the 30th anniversary of the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Club

In 1996, Professor Hausel scheduled an international martial arts clinic at the University of Wyoming. Sitting in the center front is world-famous Dai Soke Sacharnoski of Juko Kai International. Members of JKI traveled from around North America and Great Britain to attend this clinic. Some members of the university club were also in attendance including Dr. Ernst Arnold (front far right), Dr. Wayne Jensen (back 3rd from the right), and Hausel (back far left).

Dr. Neal Adam (far right) from Grand Canyon University trains with Dr. Jesse Bergkamp from Arizona State
University at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (Arizona Hombu).