Saturday, July 22, 2017

Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo in Arizona

Traditional Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo is taught year round to adults at the Arizona Hombu Dojo in Mesa. A couple of families train in karate and self-defense  group classes, and children (>8 years of age) in these families are mature, always train with their parents, and do not disturb others in class. Only adults (>16 years of age) train in kobudo at the HombuKyoju Hausel (professor of Budo) taught karate, kobudo, iaido, sojutsu, hojojutsu, hanbojutsunaginata, jujutsu, self-defense,  self-defense for women, self-defense for faculty and teachers, self-defense for ROTC cadets, and martial arts history at the University of Wyoming for more than 30 years. He taught martial arts at three other universities and several commercial gyms, and he is the head instructor at the Arizona Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona in the east valley of Phoenix.

Tuesday evening karate classes focus on basics known as kihon in Japanese. Learning stances, kicks, punches, blocks, and how to fall come in handy not only for self-defense, but also for self-confidence and physical fitness. By far, the most important aspect of karate, besides learning to respect others, is to learn kata. Kata are ingenious forms created centuries ago and are the heart of Okinawan karate and kobudo. When done properly, these teach karate practitioners muscle memory, good stances, balance, movement, power, accretion, and hundreds of self-defense applications. In traditional karate-do, there is nothing that compares to kata. And at the Arizona Hombu dojo, the student is always learning. Soke Hausel, recognized as a martial arts genius, knows more than 90 kata; thus students of Soke Hausel include beginners who don't even know how to tie their obi (karate belt), to the most advanced black belt master instructors.

Soke Hausel teaching black belt clinic at the Arizona Hombu dojo
When one learns kata, they not only learn a martial arts form designed to help them move correctly, but these forms incorporate the favorite self-defense applications from martial arts masters from the past. Its a form of living history. And most applications (bunkai) were tested in combat by various karate masters in Okinawa's martial arts history. And nearly every kata not only incorporates punches, kicks, and blocks, but they also include many throws, chokes, attacks, restraints, arm bars, etc. Many of these are obvious, others are somewhat obscured. Kata provide a means for learning many self-defense applications including many of the chokes and throws one usually relates to Japanese jujutsu. But to be effective, the student must not only practice kata correctly, but must also practice the bunkai often, both by shadow boxing and training with a partner.

While at the University of Wyoming, Soke Hausel's classes ranged from 22 to 110, depending on which department
(i.e., School of Extended Studies, Club Sports, Department of Physical Education, Non-Credit, or Department of Kinesiology) the class was affiliated. Today, he limits classes to a maximum of 25 to provide more individual attention. These classes include the beginner to the most advanced black belts.