Friday, August 16, 2013

Arizona Karate Instructor Celebrates 50 Years of Martial Arts

The Arizona Hombu, also known as the Arizona School of Traditional Karate, located on the border of Gilbert with Mesa, is home to World Martial Arts Black Belt Hall-of-Fame and North American Black Belt Hall-of-Fame inductee - Soke Hausel. Soke taught karate, martial arts weapons, self-defense, samurai arts, jujutsu and martial arts history for 30 years at the University of Wyoming prior to moving to Mesa Arizona in 2006.

Considered a teacher of teachers and awarded Instructor of the Year, International Instructor of the Year and Grandmaster Instructor of the Year by international martial arts associations and once even inducted into two Halls of Fame in the same year: one for martial arts and the other for geological sciences. The Grandmaster says he loves to teach martial arts, even after 50 years. 

In 1964, 50 years ago, Soke Hausel stepped into a dojo to learn to defend himself as a teenager who had long hair and found it was not popular to be different in those days. And he has been training and teaching ever since.

There are self-proclaimed grandmasters that have popped up all over the world in recent years who have questionable credibility. Soke Hausel is certified as grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Karate (Seiyo Kai) by Zen Kokusai Soke Budo Bugei Renmei and Juko Kai International.

As a martial arts instructor, he searches for ways to help his students enjoy martial arts and develop as much power as possible. He believes in the Tim the Tool Man Taylor Home Improvement School of More Power. He created several kata, some designed to develop punching and blocking power, some designed to develop kicking power, and others designed to use finesse. He modified many classical kata to make all techniques in the kata practical and usable for self-defense.

When a professor at the University of Wyoming, his karate, kobudo, self-defense and jujutsu classes were some of the more popular on campus and always had waiting lists for students to get in. He periodically taught self-defense clinics in gymnasiums filled with students, staff and faculty. Many self-defense clinics for women included instruction in common weapons: car keys, cell phones, magazines, tablets, computers, purses, pens, coins, books, belts, salt and pepper shakers, shoes, lipstick cases; recently he added duck calls from the Duck Commander as a self-defense weapon (no we are not expecting to be attacked by a flock of angry ducks, we are only trying to stimulate people's imaginations on the variety of weapons available to them).

At one clinic in Mesa, Arizona, a group of girl scouts brought their back packs to a clinic and emptied them on the floor. The girl scouts were in awe at how all of the contents in their backpacks could be used as weapons - and they trained with each content as a weapon of self-defense. He taught several martial arts groups use of hanbo along with kibo, the ASP, or expandable police baton and manrikigusari. The manriki is often thought to be a weapon of jujutsu or ninjutsu martial artists but members in these classes and clinics learned to use key chains, ropes and belts in similar techniques to the manriki and hanbo.

At a self-defense clinic for librarians in the Chandler Public Library, the Chandler employees were shocked to find they had been working in the midst of hundreds of weapons: library cards, staplers, pencils, pens, desk top name signs, books, magazines, world globes, etc.

At a recent clinic for a at the hombu in Mesa (on the border with Gilbert and Chandler) he taught the ladies to use their hands, fingers, elbows, knees and feet for self-defense along with using car keys and purses. The highlight of the clinic was when one of his students volunteered to let the ladies kick him in the groin and punch him in the ribs and stomach. Ryan Nemec, the volunteer, was recently awarded Male Martial Arts Student of the Year at the Juko Kai International Clinic in New Braunfels, Texas, where he learned a unique martial art known as Juko Ryu Kijutsu. Soke Hausel was very proud of his student's dedication and award.

One of the martial arts instructors at the dojo,  Dr. Neal Adam, Professor of Biology at Grand Canyon University, recently tested for Dai-Shihan and Rokudan (6th dan). Professor Adam has been a student of Soke Hausel's for more than 2 decades and trained under him at the University of Wyoming in the early 1990s and now at the Arizona Hombu in Mesa. To demonstrate his expertise and knowledge of martial arts, Dr. Adam developed kata for Nerdy Professors and also for Nebraska Corn Huskers. In these kata, Dr. Adam used his tools of trade - eye glasses taped together, pens, protractor, belt, shoes for self-defense. In another kata, he showed us how to use a corn cob pipe, corn cobs, suspenders, straw hat, etc. for self-defense weapons. This is the Okinawan way. In 1480 AD, King Sho Shin of Okinawa outlawed all weapons in his country, leaving his peasants totally open to invasion by Japanese samurai (sounds familiar), so the peasants developed kobudo using their tools of trade - oars, fishing poles, hooks, farming implements, etc for weapons.

Dai-Shihan Neal Adam with Corn Husker
Hausel is one of the highest ranked Shorin-Ryu instructors in the world resides and teaches martial arts in the East Valley of Phoenix. In December 2012, he was promoted and certified as junidan. This rank certification has only happened a few times since the modern martial arts ranking system was adopted by Jigoro Kano, the head-founder (grandmaster) of Judo in the 19th century. Hausel was also awarded Meijin () Wa-jutsu this past June 2013, a title awarded to few martial artists.

Along with these recognitions, he has been inducted into more than a dozen halls-of-fame around the world and was recently honored as a member of Marquis Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. And this year is the 10th anniversary of his initial induction into Who’s Who in the World and the 20th anniversary since inducted into Who’s Who in the West and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering for research and scientific contributions to geology while at the Wyoming Geological Survey at the University of Wyoming, and also as a geological consultant. Just a few years ago, he was presented one of the highest honors in geology when he and six of his colleagues were presented the 2009 Thayer Lindsey Award at the PDAC convention in Canada.

So, 2014, is the Golden anniversary of Soke Hausel’s martial arts and his 40th year anniversary since he became a geologist.

Soke Hausel poses with katana in traditional hakima

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Karate Experts Train at Traditional Martial Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona

We welcomed yudansha (black belts) and senpai (senior students) from the Utah Shorin-Kai from Murray, Utah to the Arizona Hombu in Mesa. The Utah martial artists flew to Phoenix to train in advanced martial arts techniques and hanbo on May 3rd and May 4th, 2013. The Utah martial artists arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor from Salt Lake International airport on Friday morning and checked into a motel in Chandler near the Arizona martial arts training center at the border of Gilbert and Mesa (Baseline and MacDonald). Friday evening, the group led by Kyoshi Rob Watson, 8th dan, arrived at the martial arts facility and exchanged hugs, handshakes and greetings with members of the Arizona School of Traditional Karate and Soke Hausel, grandmaster of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu.

Jeff Schroeder uses hanbo to block strike by Kim Schroeder at the Arizona Hombu (NemecPhotos).
With greetings exchanged, the martial artists bowed in and began training with hanbo. The hanbo is essentially a 3-foot bo (stick) often seen carried by ninja or jujutsuka. Weapons similar to hanbo include tonfa, nitanbo and kioga. The kioga, also referred to as kibo, is a common tool of law enforcement agents referred to as ASP or expandable baton. The difference between use of the hanbo and kioga is that the hanbo is always of the same length. The difference between training between law enforcement officials and martial artists is that law enforcement training is very limited. But martial artists never end training of the tool and use it to activate pressure points and use it for blocks, strikes, restraints and throws. Following two hours of training with hanbo, the group retired until the next morning.

On Saturday morning, training began in advanced empty hand (karate) techniques. These included blocks, strikes, chokes, throws and restraints. The group trained for five hours before the clinic ended. At the end, Kyoshi Rob Watson, 8th dan and Renshi Todd Stoneking, 6th dan, presented gifts to Soke Hausel. Members of Arizona and Utah said their goodbyes and it was the consensus that time went by too fast. Soke Hausel will travel to Utah in the fall for the Utah gassuku (adverse training) at the East Canyon resort near Park City.

Professional photographs of the martial artists and martial arts at the Hombu clinic were provided by NemecPhotos. We are very thankful and appreciated by the excellent quality of the photography at this year’s clinic.