Sunday, September 2, 2012

KARATE Friends & Family of Shorin-Ryu in Mesa Gilbert, Arizona

How do you tell people in the area about how unique our martial arts school and our martial arts classes are? Its a real challenge that first requires getting a person to read about our classes, then hoping we relate to them. 
Training at the University of Wyoming. Friends for life.
We have several unique qualities at our dojo (school) that is not present in others. First, we are all friends. When a traditional martial artist talks about the ryu in what Westerners call a style or form of martial arts, this literally translates as family. So when you join our school, you become a member of our karate family. You will get to know everyone on first name basis, the students all become close friends through time and they work to help one another. Karate should have a much greater purpose than that of tournaments, etc. In fact, tournaments are a new, or gendai (modern) addition to karate - and never was part of the art in the past. Many part of tournaments are antipathetic to the philosophy and purpose of karate. And as a koryu (old) school, we avoid these.

The purpose of Karate Lies not in defeat or victory, but in the perfection of its participants - Gichin Funakoshi
As the Soke, I have ryu members all over the region. Here is
part of our karate family at the outside training in Utah

We also try to focus on adults and teens in our karate family. When a new family member arrives, he or she will be greeted by the entire family and new friendships will be bonded. As the Soke, or Grandmaster of this family, my title was certified by the Zen Kokusai Soke Budo Bugei Renmei and awarded by Dai Soke Sacharnoski and at that time in 1999, I was awarded the rank of Kudan (9th dan) by Soke Sacharnoski and Soke Toma. Soke translates as Head of Family. So, in one sense, I am the leader of this style, but I am also the father figure of our karate family. And like a father, a Soke cannot get too close to his followers as the purpose of a father is to properly educate his family and try to lead them down the right path (or do). A Soke cannot be objective in testing if he or she is too close to the students - thus it is lonely being at the top for this reason.

Sensei Paula Borea wears her komono at
Birthday party during Christmas.
But how close are well to each other in our family?  Well, we break rocks together. After I teach the students, they encourage each other and provide each other with suggestions and ideas. Around Christmas, we had a family get together at Sensei (Instructor) Borea's home which corresponded to Sensei Paula Borea's birthday. This was celebrated by wearing her traditional kimono and she sliced the birthday cake with her katana (Samurai Sword).

This year, we plan to celebrate Halloween with tameshigiri (test cuts with a samurai sword). Our dojo will purchase some pumpkins and then we will go outside into the parking lot and trim these with the traditional draw and cuts with the traditional sword.

We have recently been training in self-defense techniques using a knife and gun and some students wanted to know if they were really faster than a gun. SO, we hope to find a paint ball facility in the near future and let them try to get to their uke (partner) faster than the uke can pull a trigger. This will be the true test.

We also periodically train in a swimming pool. WHY? The Okinawans, living on the sea also took advantage of the sea in training. It is great as we don't normally sweat in the pool (nice change in Arizona), and we have water resistance. When I taught at the University of Wyoming - this was an important part of our training and once a month, the Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo Club trained in the University's pool.

We learn martial arts, get some great exercise and
do other things differntly also. Here Dr. Neal Adam
(also shihan) demonstrates his Nerd Kata to the
members of the dojo in Mesa.
When we lose a family member - it is a sad time at the dojo. One of our students in September 2012 graduated from high school and moved back to Germany. We provided her with mementos and there was a sad time, as we all knew that it was very unlikely we would see her again. But at the same time, we were all happy for her as she was moving on to college. This is how our family works.

So I hope you see, we are different - but we are also of the old school martial arts and we practice martial arts as it was intended. So, when you sign up for lessons at our school, we will not gouge you and we will welcome you to our family.

Dr. Adam and Dr. Nagmeh at our dojo. Dr. Nagmeh left our dojo for Dallas
where she now drills teeth after graduating from AT Sill Universiy in Mesa
as a dentist. Dr. Adam is a professor of Biology at Grand Canyon University
in Phoenx.
Dr. Teule, a researcher on the strength of  Spider Webs at Utah State University trains in kenjutsu at a clinic in
Gillette, Wyoming.

In addition to being the Soke of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, I am a member of Juko Kai
International. This photo taken a few years ago was at our JKI training. I stand with
Kyoshi Ron Smith (my favorite training partner at JKI because we don't hold
back on each other but have a great time) from Virginia, and two of my black belt students -
Jason Gies from Illinois and Wade Stenger from New Mexico.
Teaching hojojutsu at East Canyon in Utah. The kids love to tie each other
up as Samurai did in the historical past.

And yes, adults enjoy tieing each other up on hojojutsu night. Here Rich Mendolia is restrained
by Dr. Adam.
Hanshi Andy Finley from Casper, Wyoming is
awarded for his contribution to Shorin-Ryu Karate
at the University of Wyoming
Celebrating Halloween Samurai Style.
Dr. Rado and Dr. Nagmeh smile in Mesa Gilbert, Arizona dojo
Breaking Rocks together. Kyle Gewecke from Gillette Wyoming prepares to break his first rock.

Water training at the University of Wyoming.
Sensei Paula and Sensei Bill Borea pose in our dojo in
Mesa Gilbert, Arizona