Thursday, January 28, 2016

Traditional Martial Arts - A Path of Peace

Training in traditional martial arts can provide individuals with self-confidence when taught correctly. In this photo,
school teachers train in traditional martial arts while taking turns practicing technique. In this particular technique,
known as empi-uchi (elbow strike) found in some kata (forms), teaches the defender to block an attack, and follow
with a grab to the back of the head with the blocking hand and finishing with an elbow strike to the chin of the attacker. 
Students are also taught that this is used only for extreme self-defense when a person's life is in danger, and that they 
should avoid conflicts at all costs, if possible.
When training students (senpai and kohai) in traditional martial arts, most instructors (sensei) hope they learn humility, self-respect, respect for others, along with powerful self-defense techniques (wazawhile benefiting from muscle memory known as mushin, meditation, and physical and mental exercises that traditional martial arts provide. A good sensei of a traditional martial arts school becomes a head of a family of the martial arts students, has concerns about each student, and prays each will carry their lessons in a positive and respectful manner for the rest of their lives. And the sensei hopes each student will keep in contact and update their sensei in their life endeavors. 

Disappointment (just like an aunt or uncle) fills the mind of a sensei, when students move on and are are not heard from again. But those that keep in touch, a traditional sensei rejoices in their life accomplishments. This relationship is not as profound in the sport martial arts, where students and teachers do not form close bonds. It is more like relationships well-portrayed between Miyagi-san and Daniel san vs the Cobra Kai thugs in the 1984 Karate Kid. In traditional martial arts schools, it is expected students keep in touch with their sensei, no matter where they move to, or what they do. In sport martial arts, often the student is ostracized when they move on to another place or another dojo.

Traditional martial arts provide a path for its students. But which path the
student takes, is ultimately up to them.
Much like a church, traditional martial arts schools teach students to be ethical, honest and have concern for others, as they walk the path of the 'way'. This is why many traditional martial arts end with the suffix 'do', which in Japanese implies 'path', such as Aikido, Kyudo, Kobudo, Judo, Kendo, Iaido, Budo, and even Karatedo. Some may ponder judo - judo was originally practiced like most traditional martial arts similar to traditional jujutsu, before most schools focused on Olympic sport. Then, of course, there are many martial arts that end in the suffix 'jutsu'. Many of these are combat arts, and many do not practice kata in their art, but the very traditional jutsu arts do not compete.

It is competition that mainly sets traditional martial arts apart from sport arts, but as with anything that is similar, there are no definite boundaries to easily define "traditional" vs. "sport" martial arts anymore. A gradation began to blur the difference in about 1964, when most judo became an olympic sport. Today, one can differentiate the extreme end-point martial arts from one another, but there is now everything in between.

The 1984 Karate Kid
Martial arts are not associated with any particular religion, although one can see influence of Buddhism and even Shinto in a dojo (karate school). And in some areas of North and South America and Europe, one can now see evidence of the influence of Christianity on martial arts or vise versa, particularly where churches include martial arts as a unique ministry to attract members. But, just like any type of discipline, there are those who argue against teaching martial arts to church members, because they feel mediation, or imagined mystic qualities, make martial arts antipathetic to Christianity. Personally, I feel most of these people have little understanding of traditional martial arts, and it is likely they once observed or trained in sport martial art, watched too many movies, or have little to no expertise in traditional martial arts and speak with lack of understanding. But, each individual must decide for themselves. And so, what is the difference between teaching martial arts to church members, or teaching tennis to church members - in most situations, there is no difference - it depends on the individual and the teacher.
Our daughters and sons should have an ability
to defend themselves if necessary. There are too
many trials in life to leave them unprotected.

In parts of the Middle East, Christian, Jewish and Muslim influence can be seen in martial arts groups - but I suspect those who train in martial arts can more easily resolve differences in their religion by having common ground of the traditional martial arts bond. In India, the original source of martial art, there is influence of religion on martial arts. But this may be because many of the goals in traditional martial arts match many goals in non-violent religions. But no matter what we think, there is evil everywhere in this world, just as there is good. So, it is the individual who brings good or bad to religion, or to martial arts. In the end, we are all judged by what we have done or accomplished.There are aspects of traditional martial arts that one can continue to learn their entire life.

There is no end to learning in the martial arts. Thus, the more one trains in martial art, the more one begins to see various applications of kata and technique. Karate employs forms know as kata. The more a person trains in kata, the more they begin to understand the hidden techniques that were unknown to them during their previous year of training. Kata also teaches proper breathing, movement, balance and with the assistance of a qualified instructor, it will teach speed, power and focus. After the movements in a kata are mastered, each part can be broken down into bunkai (self-defense applications) and each part can have many different applications that include the obvious, the not so obvious, and then the hidden. It takes understanding and creativity to truly master bunkai, because one must learn to react without thinking, react with lightning fast speed, learn to react with maximum power, remain in balance, have proper distance, and understand the many different modifications.
Training in kobudo is nothing more than an extension of karate. This art
uses the same stances, same hand movements, and kicks as karate - but
teaches the student to use a weapon, whether it is a traditional martial
arts weapon, or a modern tool. For example, one can use bo (6-foot stick)
as shown here, or than can use a different modern tool - shovel, rake, hoe.

As students progress and understand kata imi (the meaning of kata) they progressively are taught other kuden (secrets) of martial arts that include hitotsuki hitogeri (one strike knock downs), kote kitae (extreme body hardening) and trusted students may be taught okurasu goroshi (dim mak). Thus one of the primary differences in traditional vs. sport martial arts is the focus on the understanding of kata and how to use this understanding in self-defense.

But, when it comes down to employing traditional karate in a self-defense situation - whether it is the defense of oneself, or of another, women can defend as effectively as any man - but they must train hard in a dojo. Traditional martial arts can lead one to peace of mind and even to a path of peace.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Women In Traditional Okinawa Karate In Arizona

Women's Karate at the Arizona Hombu Karate Dojo
Should women train in Karate and other Martial Arts? What kind of question is this?

According to Grandmaster Hausel, world head of Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate, many of his toughest karate and jujutsu students over the decades have been women. Take for instance Katie (see photo near bottom entitled 'Katie works over Kris'). Katie enjoyed choking & applying joint locks to all of the macho guys in jujutsu classes at the University of Wyoming. According to Professor Hausel, she gave them a feminine smile before taking her partner to a tolerance limit in pain. We even had a few burly guys quit jujutsu to avoid her.

But there was a fairly tale ending for this black belt martial artist. Katie ended up marrying Kris (the guy she was beating up in the photo at the University of Wyoming). After graduating from college and both earning black belts in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo, the two moved to Cody, and later to Casper Wyoming where they are now raising a family. Over the years, we had many students end up marrying one another - and no, we were not running a dating service - it was just a great way for students to socialize and learn to defend themselves.  

Training in bunkai (self-defense applications), should provide lifelong friendships.
Then there was Sensei Gillespie. Donette loved to punch. In one demonstration she kicked Soke Hausel in the ribs with a karate kick at half time at a university basketball game with a thump that echoed throughout the arena. Few people could believe the power she had in her kick. Then she kicked him in the groin (unprotected) and lifted him up onto his toes with another loud whomp! It brought the crowd to their feet with cheers!

In addition to power & focus of karate, there is also beauty in karate. In karate, there are kata (forms) that contain history, tradition, training technique, self-defense, jujutsu throws, timing, balance, strength, power, Zen and more. Kata are like traditional Okinawan dances and require balance, timing, strength and more.

So, should women be in Karate Classes? The answer is a definite YES! In fact, no woman (or school teacher) should be without karate or self-defense training in this day and age. It will not only help maintain body weight, but it is also healthy and provides people with the best tools for self-defense.

Dr. Teule from Utah State University defends attack.

Katharina from Germany trains with Sarah from Dallas in Arizona
Kathy and Victoria train in bunkai (self-defense applications).
Sensei Paula Borea from Japan practicing Kihon (karate basics). Sensei Borea is of samurai
lineage and a very important part of our organization.
Dr. Neal and Dr. Naghmeh
Lacy trains with Katharina
Amanda trains with Patrick
Yam Ma demonstrates Pinan Godan kata.
Katie works over Kris at the University of Wyoming during jujutsu class.

Heather works with Charles during kobudo class
Some of our favorite martial artists.
Donette kicks Soke Hausel in ribs with full force strike at basketball half-time
karate demonstration (Courtesy of University of Wyoming Photo Service).
Donette Kicks Grandmaster Hausel right in the ... well you know.  (Courtesy
of University of Wyoming Photo Service).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mesa Martial Arts

View of Hombu outside. The inside of the martial arts school exhibits
typical Japanesetradition.

Martial arts taught at the Arizona Hombu are traditional, thus students should expect to learn lots of ceremony & considerable power.

Although the Martial Arts School is relatively new to Arizona, Grandmaster Hausel started training in martial arts in the 1960s and began teaching martial arts in 1970 at the University of Utah. Later he taught karate and other martial arts at the University of New Mexico, the University of Wyoming and recently at Arizona State University. At the University of Wyoming, Soke Hausel was Kyoju no Budo (Professor of Martial Arts) and taught classes and clinics in karate, kobudo (martial arts weapons), samurai arts, jujutsu, self-defense and self-defense for women. He has a long resume for martial arts.

Over the years, he taught karate karate, kobudo, jujutsu, self-defense, women's self-defense and samurai arts. Many martial arts classes at the University of Wyoming filled with more than 100 students with waiting lists of hopefuls. But today, he  has now chosen to limit the number of students in his classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate that is also known as the Arizona Hombu dojo.

Grandmaster Hausel has a diversified background in martial arts and teaches traditional Okinawan and Japanese martial arts. Included in his curriculum are Shorin-Ryu Karate, Shorin-Ryu Kobudo (weapons), Self-Defense and Samurai Arts.

Kobudo (martial arts weapons) classes are part of karate training and include a variety of weapons (tools) such as Bo, Hanbo, Nitanbo, Kubotan, Nunchaku, Sai, Kama, Kuwa, Ra-ke, Surichin, Eku, Tsue, Kioga (expandable police baton) and more. Samurai arts taught at the martial arts school in Mesa include jujutsu, hojojutsu, hanbojutsu, bojutsu, iaido, kenjutsu, naginatajutsu, yarijutsu and manrikigusari.

The style of karate is Okinawan Shorin-Ryu. Basically one of the original forms of karate developed centuries ago on Okinawa. Soke Hausel's love for Karate is seen in the many national & international awards presented by several martial arts associations and martial arts Halls of Fame.

Martial arts training for Adults and Families & members of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai is available each week at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate near the corner of Mesa, Gilbert & Chandler in the East Valley of Phoenix  (60 W. Baseline Road, Mesa). Drive east on baseline from Country Club Road and turn left at the second traffic light. You will see the Arizona Martial Arts school immediately to your right (NE corner of MacDonald).

It happens every time - give a woman an inch and she'll take your tonfa and beat you with it.. Sensei Paula (born in Japan) trains with her husband Sensei Bill at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate.

Advanced karate and kobudo taught to members of the
Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler Arizona and Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai members around the world. Grandmaster Hausel, 12th dan, demonstrates rock breaking to students at the
University of Wyoming. Rocks are traditional for breaking and besides they are free. Professor Hausel is also a renown
geologist and like rocks.
OUCH!!!  Only our most advanced students are taught the secrets of Kote Kitai
(Body Hardening). Here Senesi Donette Gillespie (3rd dan) kicks Professor Hausel
 in the groin while totally unprotected with absolutely NO protection devices at half-time
at a University of Wyoming basketball game - and he is actually smiling. Soke
Hausel teaches this art to his advanced students so they can learn to accept strikes to
vital parts of the body and provide devastating blocks and strikes to attackers
(University of Wyoming Photo).

 Arizona School of Traditional Karate

Dr. Adam from Grand Canyon University
trains with Rich in Kobudo.