Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arizona School of Traditional Karate

View of the Arizona School of Traditional Karate at 60 W Baseline Rd (NE corner of MacDonald) in Mesa, Arizona.
"Yokoso" - "Welcome to our dojo", I said as I greeted the FOX 10 News team using Japanese during their visit to our dojo to interview two of our students who spent some time in Japan. One born in Japan (Sensei Paula Borea) and her husband an retired air force pilot (Sensei Bill Borea) both had just been promoted to 2nd dan (nidan) black belt by Soke Hausel. A first for Arizona - two grandparents receiving 2nd degree black belts on the same day and both experts in self-defense.  

The news crew spent 3 hours video taping at our martial arts school on the border of Gilbert and Mesa at Baseline and MacDonald, and later edited the video to 3 minutes. Wow, what a great video - the only problem was they forgot to mention the name of the dojo as well as its location! Sometimes, the news broadcasters around Phoenix makes a person wonder what is going through their heads (if anything)! 

It was on the news and then on the FOX 10 website for a few months: we were promised by Richard Saenz, interviewer with FOX 10 he would get a copy for our website. But unfortunately, his promise was empty! Anyway, the video discussed Bill's and Paula's time in Japan. Paula being given up for adoption by her mother because of threats by her Uncle - Paula was half Japanese and at the time of her birth, the Japanese were still very nationalistic and most hated outsiders (gaijin), even though Paula was essentially 100% home-grown Japanese. There was much more to this story - events that were so amazing that it contained potential material for a book.  The interview went on to discuss the training of the black belt grandparents in traditional karate and kobudo, and showed these two seniors practicing karate and kobudo and training with Okinawan tonfa, nunchaku, sai, bo and kama.

The FOX 10 crew was impressed at the intensity of the karate and expertise of the martial artists at the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts. And why shouldn't they? All of these students were all learning traditional martial arts from a Hall-of-Fame martial arts instructor who had taught at four universities prior to opening the Hombu dojo in Mesa and Gilbert Arizona.

After moving the Hombu dojo to Arizona from the University of Wyoming in 2006, the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa officially opened its doors in 2008 across the street from Gilbert and Chandler, Arizona next to Sunrise Auto, after being first located in Gold's Gym and the Arizona State University the two previous years.

Soke Hausel had hoped to establish the hombu at Arizona State University (ASU). While at the University of Wyoming (UW), hundreds of students learned traditional Shorin-Ryu karate and kobudo and others learned jujutsu, iaido, budo, self-defense, martial arts history and martial arts philosophy from the Grandmaster in the Departments of Physical Education, Kinesiology, Extended Students, University Clubs and Club Sports and developed one of the more popular University-affiliated martial arts programs in North America that lasted for 35 years. The club also taught many self-defense clinics to the UW staff, faculty, and student body, the Laramie community and to various professional groups around the region. Many students earned their black belts along with PhDs, Master and Bachelor degrees and most indicated the martial arts program taught them how to focus.  Others said they selected UW over other universities because of the martial arts program. For many years, it was by far the largest and most active club on campus - unfortunately, ASU showed no interest, thus the hombu was opened on the border of Mesa and Gilbert. It's easy to find. Drive east on Baseline Road until you encounter Country Club Drive. Continue east until the Second Red Light and turn left onto MacDonald into a parking lot immediately to your right.

In addition to functioning as a school of martial arts for residents of the Phoenix Valley, members of the world organization of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai travel to Arizona to train at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate, also known ast the world headquarters (hombu) of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai (TM) (Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Renmei). The world organization was established in 1999.
Members of the Police DAV Karate Team from Northern India visits the
Arizona Hombu in Mesa Arizona to train with Hall-of-Fame Grandmaster
Soke Hausel
The Arizona dojo is unique with Japanese decor and English and Japanese spoken in the dojo. Not only do students learn martial arts, they learn martial arts history and philosophy because of an established lineage traced back to Okinawan karate masters Kusanku Peichin Takahara and Tode Sakugawa in the 16th century.

Members of Utah Shorin-Kai train at the Arizona School of
Traditional Karate.
It is also unique because of the students (deshi) and instructors (sensei). The students are primarily adults. Families are welcome to train in adult classes but must include at least one parent who trains with their children as they learn the martial arts of Okinawa and Japan. To assist in making the classes affordable for families, a low rate allows all members of a family to train.

Members of  the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club
train with Soke Hausel from the Arizona School of Traditional Karate.
Instructors include Soke Hausel who is well-established in the traditional martial arts community and member Juko Kai International and more than one Hall-of-Fame. He has been recognized by several national and international organizations as one of the better martial arts instructors in the world.  In 2001, he was presented the International Instructor of the Year award. In 1998 and 2004, he was recognized as the Instructor of the Year. In 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, he was presented the Grandmaster of the Year Award by different martial arts associations. The awarding organizations include the North American Black Belt Hall-of-Fame, the World Martial Arts Black Belt Hall-of-Fame, the World Karate Union, American Karate Association, World Sokeship Council, International Council of Masters and Grandmasters, and others.

Dr. Neal Adam, Shihan/5th dan performing kata

Dr. Neal Adam, Dai Shihan (Master Instructor), 6th dan is an outstanding martial artist and was one of many students who took advantage of karate at the University of Wyoming in the early 1990s while working on a post-doc.  Dr. Adam and Soke Hausel hooked up again in Arizona. Dr. Adam is an outstanding martial artist and instructor, and also a Biology Professor at Grand Canyon University.

Group photo with Sensei Paula Borea, 2nd dan and Sensei Bill Borea, 2nd
dan at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate. Sensei Paula is located
3rd from the right (standing) and Sensei Bill is located at the far right
(standing). 2011 photo.
The classes at Arizona School of Traditional Karate are not sport martial arts. Few people understand there is traditional karate, sport karate and MMA. The differences between these are dramatic. Karate was created by Okinawan royalty and body guards from their training in Kung Fu in China. The combat form (karate) was kept secret, but introduced to some Okinawan peasants and blended with kobudo (Okinawan farming and fishing tools used as weapons). Karate and Kobudo was for self-defense and for protection of the royal family. It was pragmatic and designed to take down an aggressor with one or two strikes. Much of the training involved a living Encyclopedia known as kata. But in order for kata to be completely effective, it must be practiced often and the practitioner must understand what every single move is used for, otherwise, much of the effectiveness of this Eastern training method is lost to the practitioner. In addition, karate and kobudo were always part of this system.

It wasn't until the early 20th century, that anyone outside of Okinawa learned of karate's existence. When it was introduced to mainland Japan, a watered-down version was taught to the Japanese and did not include kobudo. The Japanese modified karate and made it into a sport focusing on free sparring. To make it into a sport, many powerful and vital point strikes were eliminated to keep contestants alive. Contests and tournaments in karate became a common feature of Japanese martial arts, but not on Okinawa. Most Okinawans kept their karate pure. In recent years, MMA was developed as a side show of street-fighters who added some kicks and promoters of MMA unfortunately termed this a martial art, which it is not as it lacks the important features of martial art.

Because of Soke Hausel’s background, one will learn a variety of martial arts that are all part of the Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai system. Much training is devoted to Shorin-Ryu Karate. If you ever watched the original KARATE KID, this is the same art taught by Mr. Miyagi to Daniel-san. Most classes are devoted to kata (forms) and bunkai (applications of kata). Members also train in kobudo (Okinawan weapons) kata and bunkai, Japanese samurai weapons and tools (samurai sword, jujutsu, etc), and street self-defense.
Our Samurai from Japan, Sensei Paula
attacks Sensei Bill with Okinawa Kuwa (garden
hoe) during kobudo classes at the Arizona School of
Traditional Karate. Kobudo is the art of martial arts
Another characteristic that makes this school unique is that Soke Hausel teaches all of his students to develop the classical Okinawan one-punch knockdowns so that if they ever are confronted with a situation requiring self-defense, they do not have to strike a person multiple times as taught in most other schools. He teaches tameshiwara to adults (rock breaking). Being he is a renowned geologist, his students first learn to identify what kind of rock they plan to break and places to collect rocks for breaking (over the years, only one student failed to break a rock). For a few adult martial artists, he teaches Okinawan shitai kori (extreme body hardening).

The mix of students at the school includes about 30% female. Most members are professionals in the local community and many students worldwide have advanced degrees due to Soke’s past association of teaching at four universities. The school does not have contracts and students pay by the month. One low fee allows one to train at all of the Shorin-Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Samurai Arts and Self-defense classes

Dr. Teule demonstrates use of Okinawan tonfa at the
Arizona School of Traditional Karate
“The purpose of Karate Lies not in defeat or victory, but in the perfection of its participants” – Gichin Funakoshi, Okinawa, Japan

Location Map of the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts
To join the classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate you must be and adult or teenager. Otherwise, children older than 12 years of age must attend with family and train with other family members during the adult classes.

And about those Angry White Pajamas!  No you do not need to have a karate gi (uniform) when you first start. Just wear something comfortable for your first lessons and when you are ready, feel free to order a karate uniform from a martial arts outlet. We highly recommend traditional karate gi (all white or black jacket with white pants). These are not sold at the dojo, so we provide a list of companies where you can buy a gi on our website's Link Page.
Dr Florence Teule (1st dan) from France
(currently at Utah State University) practices
back fist strike with Dan Graffius (2nd dan)

from Mesa

The Tuesday class focuses on basics of karate - making sure that you have the correct stance and are kicking, punching and blocking correctly. We spend a lot of time learning kata (the classical forms). Katas are important in karate as these are living encyclopedias of martial arts self-defense applications that were the favorite of past Okinawan masters of karate. They are an unique way of learning self-defense, perfect stances, kicks, punches, blocks, acceleration in technique and power with focus.

Sarah, one of many school teachers who has trained at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate
 attacks Sensei Borea with bokken (samurai sword).
While you are learning the kata, you will also learn all of the bunkai (applications) of the kata. These are the self-defense techniques found in the kata.

Wednesdays at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate are a time when you focus on how to escape from someone who grabs your wrist, jacket or bear hugs you as you learn self-defense. You will also learn how to defend against knife attacks, a revolver, a rifle and more. We also show our students how to use not only their God-given martial arts weapons, but also how to use their car keys, pens, cell phones, books and anything with an edge for a self-defense weapon. Our grandmaster has been teaching self-defense to groups for 40 years including sororities, scouts, women's groups, church groups, political groups, military, EMT, faculty, etc.

This class is followed by samurai arts training. You can learn to use the favorite weapon of the samurai (katana or sword), the hanbo (short stick), naginata (halberd), yari (spear), tanto (knife) and even learn the empty hand art of the samurai - jujutsu.

Members of the University of Wyoming student body learn self-defense during a 2010
clinic taught by Hall-of-Fame Grandmaster Hausel from the Arizona School of
Traditional Karate in Mesa

Thursday evenings at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa, we train as the Okinawan peasant did as we learn about martial arts weapons. In this class, you might train with a 6-foot staff (bo), an oar (eku), nunchuks (nunchaku), sai, kama (sickles), garden hoe (kuwa), batons (tonfa, nitanbo, kobuton, kebo, hanbo) and other weapons. This is nothing more than an extension of karate using the same blocks, punches, kicks, etc, but with a weapon.

As a final note - you will become an important member of our Ryu. So, if you ever move on, please keep in touch with us.

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1 comment:

  1. Martial arts is almost liked by many people but due to a great busy day not everyone able to go or send their children there. Still there are numerous great strength of students in martial arts schools in Arizona.
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