Friday, June 21, 2013

Costco Kobudo & Karate

Me in a couple of more decades (sketch by Soke
"Many years ago" turned into "decades ago" and my study of martial arts will reach the half-century point in 2014. I look forward to teaching traditional karate, kobudo and samurai arts for many more decades, as traditional martial arts have provided me with a unique path and good health. My path led me to the position of Soke (grandmaster) of a Shorin-Ryu (style or family) karate - something I never expected. But as the head of this martial arts house, I am concerned for my martial arts students who are part of what I am - part of our martial arts family and heritage.

Sometimes I feel like a Shaolin monk and wish my joss (luck) was favorable so I could win the next lottery. No, I'm not into fancy cars or other material things, I would just like to have the perfect dojo (martial arts school). Whenever I visit the Japanese Friendship Gardens, I often wonder if they will sell to me, when I win the lottery?

While I was training at the Juko Kai International Clinic in New Braunfels, Texas in 2013, one of my favorite people and a good friend, Hanshi Ron Smith, 10th dan, declared we were shaolin monks because of our lineage. I never thought of it that way, but he's right. 'Shorin-Ryu' translates as 'Shaolin Style' and we are bringing a message of enlightenment to our students with the training of traditional karate and kobudo (for those who lack enlightenment, 'traditional' implies martial arts that have been taught for centuries and is not like sport martial arts which leads to a different martial artist personality altogether - remember the Karate Kid and Cobra Kai vs Miyagi Dojo?).

The only thing missing in my martial arts life is living in a Shaolin temple so I can be influence by these surroundings 24-hours a day - even though I have practiced karate and kobudo nearly every day for the past 52 years. Guess this is why the Japanese Friendship Gardens are so attractive. As a dojo, the Friendship Gardens would provide a sanctuary to those who would like to escape the rat race and begin a life of peace and lifelong study of martial arts. But don't worry Phoenix, I never buy lottery tickets - so the Friendship Gardens are safe and unfortunately, will remain in your domain.

Japanese Friendship Gardens. Imagine re-locating the Arizona Hombu here. Talk about a perfect setting to study
martial arts!
When I think of In/Yo (yin/yang to some of you), I am amazed that traditional karate and kobudo can lead to such peace of mind. These may be opposites - i.e., learning to fight  vs. peace of mind, but I feel they are complimentary. Thus to be in a state of Peace of Mind, we need a complimentary filler to complete the state of mind, whether it is traditional martial arts, a gun, a sword, a castle, or God. I'm not sure how this works, but maybe we need things that are seemingly opposite to put our minds at ease.

Hanshi Ron Smith from Virginia and Soke Dan
Hausel  from Arizona at the Juko Kai International
Clinic in Texas, 2013.

Soke Hausel operates the Arizona
Hombu on the border of Mesa with Gilbert and Chandler
where people can train in the traditional martial arts and
search for enlightenment. Politicians need not apply.
I get a little out of sorts whenever I make a trip to Costco or Walmart with my wife where people act as if those grocery carts are bumper cars and threaten all who come near.

At one moment, when I'm in the dojo and practicing kata, I'm at peace with the world. The next, I'm in Costco, and ready to introduce impressions of a grocery cart mesh on many  aggressive and obnoxious people in the store. If only I had such a serene place to retreat to as the Japanese Friendship Gardens, maybe I could periodically peacefully approach Costco and keep myself from practicing grocery cart kobudo on the next guy or house wife who tries to run me down, or acts like a complete politician (note. This phase at one time was 'complete moron', but the term politician is more descriptive). 

Ah, back to the serenity of my dojo that allows my mind to fall into mushin and forget about all those people who need to learn a little respect for others. So this is what martial arts is all about.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Web Award for Martial Arts

Ahhhh, what a lovely day. I woke to another warm day in Gilbert Arizona to find this Blog had won the Award for 'Martial Arts'. Domo Arigoto (どうもありがとう). It is our goal to educate the public about 'Traditional Martial Arts' whether pragmatic or esoteric.

Like Us on Facebook to learn more about classes, styles and people in Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo in Arizona.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thoughts on Martial Arts

Martial arts are considered a lifelong path for some of us to follow. If you have found your path, we would like to share some thoughts with you to help you along your way.

  • "Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win." - O Sensei Ueshiba
  • You don’t quit karate because of age, You age because you quit karate -Soke Hausel
  • Karate and Kobudo can be likened to tires of a bicycle. Both are needed to make the bike move. 
  • You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."  Abraham Lincoln
  • A quick temper makes a quick fool
  • Through time, a white belt turns black with age. As time continues, black wears to white - Now the journey has begun.
  • Do not worship great men of the past – seek instead to follow in their accomplishment
  • Nunchaku is like a snake - mistreat it & it will bite - Soke Hausel
  • “With kama, you can cut weeds or cut those who plant weeds” – Soke Hausel.
  • You have a chance to train tonight and learn to be a better person – this is what should motivate us to train in karate.

Sensei Borea of Gilbert Arizona trains with Deshi Charles Jean from Chandler Arizona using kama and bo at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa, Arizona

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What is a Martial Art?

Kobudo training at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate
Kobudo Kai Hombu) at the borders of Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa Arizona.
In 2004, I spoke to the Cheyenne Rotary Club about martial arts history, philosophy, and benefits to society. One question that arose was what was martial art? How does it differ from boxing? Actually, this could involve a long and involved answer. It could actually require a book to answer (and I am writing a book about this) but it basically gets down to the fact that boxing is a physical activity and sport with little to no redeeming social value.

Martial art is both physical and spiritual but the true value of traditional (non-sport) martial art is that its main purpose is to develop positive social values in the person while training in martial art. This is one reason why many sport martial arts are no longer true martial arts, as they have reneged on the spiritual side of martial art. 

One very important part of martial arts is Rei, or bowing- this gentle gesture is cultivated in all traditional schools. Participants bow when entering or leaving a school (dojo) or training center, bow to one another at the beginning and ending of classes, and bow at the beginning and ending of all techniques to show respect, compassion, and gratitude to all members. We show respect to our teachers and seniors, compassion for our juniors, and gratitude for our parents and friends, and by all means to God.

Self-defense training in karate
According to the great karate legend and master of Shorin-Ryu karate, Gichin Funakoshi, one who truly understands karate-do is never easily drawn into a fight. Funakoshi placed no emphasis on competitions or tournaments (in fact he and other great Shihan of Okinawa opposed introduction of sport karate), but instead placed emphasis on self perfection & believed common decency & respect for other human beings were the highest precepts taught in karate. The bottom line of karate-do lies the wish for harmony among people. Such harmony is based on courtesy, and it is said that the Okinawan martial ways begin with courtesy and end with courtesy.

These concepts are emphasized in traditional Okinawa dojo kun or dojo precepts. The kun consists of character building, sincerity, effort, etiquette, and self-control. They are attributes one must constantly cultivate in the practice of martial arts. Karate teaches effective self-defense as well as zen, meditation and kata.

Kata - moving zen. White Crane karate kata
demonstrated at Chinese New Year at the
University of Wyoming by Soke Hausel.
To accomplish this there exists one simple vehicle. "That vehicle is kata, and it is the essence of karate. Kata embodies all the secrets, the mystery, the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual concepts of the masters. Kata is the key, the answer, the solution to everything we search for in karate. Kata is Zen. Kata is simple yet difficult. Like the wind, it is motion as in the physical performance, yet motionless. It is attainable yet unattainable. Once grasped it may slip away only to be grasped once again. It is a perfect imperfection. Kata is real yet a dream, a very possible dream. It shows our strength while making us aware of our weakness. It is a passive way to destroy and kill. It is brutal and vicious in a most humane way. Kata transforms destructive power into a flurry of beauty. To teach kata is to learn kata, and from that maxim applied to life an unbroken cultural chain is created and sustained. This is karate-do".

We teach karate as a way of life, a way of peace, but if there is no choice, we teach karate to finish aggression. And here is the paradox. Karate is the art of peace, but it is also an art of peace-keeping. 

We teach people to be respectful, but if all else fails we teach people to defend or defend others. Karate is not a sport, it is a way of non-corruption. One might note there are very few politicians and lawyers involved in daily practice of martial arts - one reason is that martial art teaches them to be ethical and show concern for others, something that has been eliminated by the majority of these people. And if they would practice TRADITIONAL martial arts, they would stand out as positive, honest, and ethical people - something this is very uncommon in politics, lawyers and judges.

This is how we teach karate in our Seiyo Shorin-Ryu style.


Our center is open to the public - we focus on Adults and Families. Come learn the traditions of Okinawan Karate & Kobudo, where much of the class is conducted in Japanese and English to help students learn Japanese. 

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win." - O Sensei Ueshiba

Karate and Kobudo can be likened to tires of a bicycle. Both are needed to make the bike move.

"Nunchaku is like a snake - mistreat it & it will bite" - Soke Hausel

"A traditional karateka is prepared at all times – for self-defense and courtesy!"

“With kama, you can cut weeds or cut those who plant weeds” – Soke Hausel.

"The enemy we train to face are uncertainties in life that confront us on a daily basis"

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).