Thursday, March 31, 2011

Grandmaster teaches Adult Karate Classes in Mesa, Arizona

Soke Hausel with some of his Shihan and Sensei from
Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming
Soke Hausel (Arizona Republic Photo)

"How does an adult defend against a child? With a lollipop. At the Arizona School of Traditional Karate we teach you to defend against adults." - Soke Hausel

When Grandmaster Hausel arrived in the East Valley of Phoenix after teaching martial arts at the University of Wyoming for 30 years, it became a challenge to start anew. Buying was out of the question due to high costs of commercial property in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe. Leasing was high (~10 times that in Laramie, Wyoming), so he started teaching at local gyms, community centers and then at Arizona State University. But ASU and the Maricopa County Community Colleges were particularly disappointing and showed little interest which was frustrating because Soke Hausel had taught at universities much of his adult life.

To quote the late John Dooley, "Just because a person has a diploma and the university put him in charge, it doesn't mean he's smart". So Soke Hausel began searching for a place for a Hombu and a place was found at the 60 W. Baseline Center in Mesa, Arizona.

The Hombu opened its doors in 2008 and began offering classes on the border of Mesa and Gilbert and less than a mile from Chandler, Arizona. Two black belts (Sensei Bill Borea and Sensei Paula Borea) designed the dojo as a traditional school with Japanese decor throughout the training center. Both had spent considerable time in Japan - in fact, Paula was born in Japan.

University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club, Laramie, Wyoming (1999)
Grandmaster Hausel began training in karate in the 1960s. Martial arts in those days were tough - everything was full contact and repetitions were done in multiples of hundreds. At least once a week members of the martial arts club fought everyone in the dojo with no protective gear, no mouth piece, no gloves, no head protection, just a cup - and nothing was held back. A cup did nothing except make one uncomfortable. Then there were periodic blood fests with American Kempo group on State Street. They would visit the Black Eagle Federation dojo or vise versa. No trophies in those days other than bruises. Not sure how anyone survived that kind of training. One thing for sure, it is not the type of training that most people would recommend unless you were heading to a war zone.
Dan Hausel (flying side kick) with Tim Smith (geophysicist)
at the University of Utah (about 1970). University of Utah

Later, some organizations took note of his martial arts power and technique and awarded him with induction into some Halls of Fame This included recognition as the 2001 International Instructor of the Year by the North American Black Belt Hall of Fame and the 2004 Instructor of the Year by the American Karate Association.

He taught adults the lessons of karate, beginning at the University of Utah, later at the University of New Mexico and then at the University of Wyoming. The Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa is located across the street from Gilbert. Classes are designed for adults. 

Standing in front of the Arizona Hombu dojo, Mesa
We are always excited about our new students and his school tends to attract very bright and personable students - this is because of all of the teaching as kyoju (professor of budo) at different universities in the past. There are probably more PhDs per capita than any other martial arts association.

You will make new friends, learn martial arts with considerable power, but you will find yourself laughing and enjoying yourself as you train with your uke (partner) in martial arts. We are very serious about martial arts, but we also have a good time. So at the Arizona Hombu, your instructor will be Professor Hausel, 12th dan, Dr. Adam, 6th dan, Sensei P. Borea, or B. Borea (2nd dan).

New students in Mesa, Arizona must be non-violent in nature, otherwise, they are not considered for training. There are NO contracts to sign, NO administration fees, NO fees for signing your name, just a monthly training fee. 

All are welcome to our training center to become part of our 'Ryu'. A ryu is a style of martial arts, but is also considered as a family. So in a sense, members become part of our martial arts family. 

One will not be ranked as rapidly as in other schools, because at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate, students are only asked to test when they are actually ready to test for rank and have mastered kata, bunkai (self-defense applications from kata) and kobudo for the next step. 

As new members are welcomed into the adult martial arts classes they can expect to learn traditions and courtesy at the start. Most everything in the school is presented in Japanese and English and their is no competition. Karate is considered a weapon, not a sport. If one is looking to compete, there are several good sport karate schools around the valley to consider.

Sensei Ryan Harden at the Hombu Dojo
Check our Class Schedule.

TUESDAY evenings: class begins at 6:45 pm, which is convenient for most people who work in the valley because they can leave their office and head for the dojo, or leave their homes after dinner before training. We focus on kihon (the basics of karate) while new members learn to walk and a variety of stances and when to use various stances. Then they learn to uke (block), geri (kick), tsuki (punch) and various combinations. We also work on hip movement to teach all of our students to achieve maximum power, or maximum focus

The basics are practiced over and over but in different ways so that we do not get bored. Soke watches the new members in particular to be sure they do not get overwhelmed. When they reach a point that they have absorbed all they can for the evening, they retreat to another part of the dojo where they train with other members under one of our other black belt instructors.
Soke Hausel instructs University Students in the art of White Crane Karate

Tuesday night is kata (forms) night. Kata are forms that include an amazing amount of information on zen, respect, courtesy, balance, history and self-defense. Not all sensei (instructors) understand kata and its importance. So important was kata in Okinawan karate that the famous Grandmaster of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Karate, Shoshin Nagamine (1907-1997) wrote  -

"If there is no kata, there is no karate, just kicking and punching"

This simply means that to practice karate, one must practice kata and understand kata. If a person practices kicking and punching without kata, and wears a gi (karate uniform), they are practicing physical exercises or street fighting, but not karate

Dr. Florence Teule with Lenny Martin at White Crane karate
 class at the University of Wyoming. The original form of
White Crane Kung Fu was developed by a female
martial artist.
A few years ago, Soke Hausel was asked to take over a kickboxing class at Gold's Gym in Gilbert. It was filled with women who were looking to kick and punch to music, and they all thought they were learning kickboxing and karate. Not one of them had any concept of kata or self-defense, and they were frustrated at first when Soke turned off the music and taught them how to defend with kicking and punching. This was one example of what Soke Nagamine meant.

Kata is a living encyclopedia of self-defense applications known as bunkai. So on Tuesdays, not only do we practice and learn kata (we have about 70 kata in our ryu) we also learn to use the kata in bunkai.

At the beginning and ending of each class, we have formal rei (bowing ceremony) and members learn our dojo kun in both Japanese and English. Kun is philosophy that we live by. For example, a common one is "There is no first attack in karate" meaning that we learn karate for self-defense and self-improvement and never to attack anyone. Class is over at 7:40 pm. Advanced Kata and Bunkai is practiced at the end of the class while new members train with a separate black belt.

WEDNESDAY classes start at 5:30 pm with a family karate class that runs until 6:30 pm. All of our members are invited to attend this class as they are for all of our classes. The next class begins at 6:45 pm. This is self-defense night. Members review self-defense techniques and usually one new technique is introduced. The group may focus on grabs, restraints, knife attacks, guns, rifle attacks, club attacks, and even how to defend against someone grabbing a purse or computer, or how to defend against an attacker on a commercial airliner. They are taught to defend against these attacks as well as multiple attackers. Since jujutsu is part of the Shorin-Ryu system (it shows up in many katas), defenses may include blocks followed by strikes and finishing the attacker with nage waza (throws), arm bars and restraints. We teach everyone proper falls before they ever are thrown, and if you have some medical condition, we are sure to identify you as a person who does not get thrown. For instance, we have people who train with us who have bad backs, bad knees and even previous heart conditions. Some evenings, we turn out the lights in the dojo and teach how to defend against attackers with limited light.
Soke Hausel demonstrates kotekitae at half-
time at a University of Wyoming basketball
game (University of Wyoming photo).

While at the University of Wyoming, our Soke (grandmaster) taught self-defense to the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Club, taught classes in the Department of Physical Education, Department of Kinesiology, Department of Continuing Education, Department of Extended Studies and taught self-defense to ROTC, Law Enforcement, Taekwondo black belt groups, EMT, church groups, sororities, boy and girl scouts, women's groups, university housing, and others. Many classes of Women's Self-Defense were co-taught with the University of Wyoming Police Department, in particular, with retired chief Tim Banks. Both Chief Banks and Soke really enjoyed teaching these people self-defense. 

Our students are also invited to practice combinations, kotekitae (body hardening) or breaking rocks during this class. 

Another of our several married couples who
met at karate. Katie and Kris both earned black
belts in karate at the University of Wyoming
and now have their own family living in Caspe
We also have classes for families on Wednesday evenings that include Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 pm. Periodically, national or international groups train at the Arizona Hombu Dojo also known as the Hombu of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai.

Near the end of the class, the students often train in specific weapons including tanto (knife), nitanbo (two sticks), hanbo, manrikigusari, keychain, magazines, etc. 

Thursday is kobudo (martial arts weapons) night. Class starts at 6:45 pm. Karate was created on Okinawa according to history and Shorin-Ryu was one of the initial forms of karate. It included kobudo, or the ancient art of weapons that were farming implements and fishing implements used both by Okinawan royal guards and peasants. Kobudo includes kata and bunkai just like karate.

Sensei Paula Borea works with Sensei Bill Borea
at the Arizona Hombu dojo in Mesa.
There are many kobudo weapons and most have their own kata. Some of the more common weapons that most people are familiar with are bo, hanbo, nunchuku, sai, kama, and tonfa. A list of most of these weapons can be found on the Arizona Hombu Dojo website. Members learn how to use various weapons and usually the focus is on one weapon for several months before moving on to others. Equipment and supplies are not sold at the Arizona Hombu so members can use he school's weapons, or they can purchase from a supply house

Kobudo is followed by samurai arts and the students learn about iado, kenjutsu, naginata, yari, bo, tanto and more. These are some of the samurai weapons taught in this class.