Sunday, June 22, 2014

Martial Art in Arizona

Train hard and sweat  now -
for sometime later, you will likely be attacked on the street.
The origin of martial arts colored pencil sketch
It was about 1989 or 1990. I was finishing a five-year research project related to gold at South Pass Wyoming and submitted a group of eight 1:24,000 scale geological maps for publication including a compilation map at 1:48,000 scale for the entire greenstone belt and its gold districts. Our draftswoman, Fiddy, who was a very good artist suggested I would be a very good artist based on my maps. Huh? Me?

I laughed at her comment and indicated I was challenged by 'stick figures'. She followed up with a comment that seemed to have kick-started an unused part of my brain - "You should try sketching like you map, focus on details in small areas and let it grow into a larger picture."

That seemed to make sense - so I tried and was shocked that hidden in my brain, were the tools for sketching. Thank you Fiddy! So, I decided to do a variety of sketches of things that interested me. And of course, some were related to martial arts and in particular to Shorin-Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Samurai arts and self-defense.

So, while growing up, going to college and working as a professional musician, astronomer, geologist, author, martial arts instructor and professor, I had no idea that this talent lay hidden within me.

Okinawan sunrise sketch
In 2013, I was presented a special award at the Juko Kai National Clinic in Texas. I was presented the honorary title of Meijin Wajutsu. And in my opinion, Juko Kai International is the most prestigious martial arts association in the world, so this was a great honor. 

At first I was taken back by this title. Me a genius? I never received very good grades in school, but the more I thought about it, the more I started to feel comfortable. Yes, I was creative in music, geology, art, writing and martial arts - so isn't this what genius is about? It was clear many martial arts groups and associations as well as geological groups had also recognized this characteristic in me. Over the years, I had been inducted into several Halls-of-Fame for martial arts and geological research. In the martial arts, I can visualize techniques before anyone tries a new technique and I can vocalize how to do these techniques. So for me, a person who is engineering-challenged, martial arts have been perfect because of its artistic overtones. But I think, at least for genius, when applied to me it relates to interest and how I pursue that interest - it has little to do with IQ.

Stop in our dojo and say 'konnichi wa' . You can check out our martial arts and some of our martial art in the dojo. We are located on Baseline Road between Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona. Just click on

Hi Seas pencil sketch

What I hope to see in my backyard sketch 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Traditional Martial Arts

In 2014, I was contacted by nearly two dozen producers and associates searching for another hit reality TV program. They contacted me because of my expertise in rocks, minerals, gemstones and martial arts. Because of the great successes of some shows related to gold and gemstones - nearly all of the contacts have been interested in this part of my background. But I tried to create interest in traditional martial arts with the latest producer who was unfortunately more interested in another gemstone program. But this is what I proposed.

Summary. Traditional martial artists speak of ‘the Way’ or ‘path’. It is so embedded in traditional martial arts that the Japanese term for ‘way’ (do) shows up everywhere - in judo, iaido, aikido, kendo, kobudo and even karatedo. It is this ‘path’ (as well as other characteristics) that makes martial arts (budo) different from sport martial arts and MMA.

Traditional martial arts have redeeming and esoteric values. Thus, a trip to a Zen Buddhist temple and Shinto temple would be appropriate for a program or two.

Location. The Way would be a reality program centered in Arizona, and include periodic trips to the mountains of Utah and Wyoming, to international martial arts clinics in New Braunfels, Texas and include a trip to Okinawa and mainland Japan to educate the TV audience about martial arts and Zen. The program would follow select students and instructors as they train to become proficient in martial arts and include history, philosophy, martial arts training, and backgrounds of the martial artists in their chosen professional fields.

The people. Adult traditional martial artists would be the focus of this program and include a group of highly educated professionals. Some of the more interesting characters could include Neal (a PhD biologist, university faculty member, and 6th degree black belt), Patrick (engineer for Boeing, pilot, and 2nd degree black belt), Paula (2nd degree black belt Japanese American of samurai lineage with a very interesting life story that alone could be made into a book or movie), Bill (3rd degree black belt and retired air force pilot), Ryan (2nd degree black belt and nutritionist at a local hospital), Alexi (brown belt and school teacher), Dave and Megan (Dave is a  blue belt and chemist. His daughter Megan is a yellow belt and Japanese who attends public and Japanese schools in the Phoenix valley) and myself (grandmaster and geologist). 
Members of the Utah Shorin-Kai train at the Arizona Hombu in 2014 with

Guests. Some possible guests - my instructor (Grandmaster and world head of Juko Kai International), Kirby (10th degree black belt), Ron (10th degree black belt, friend, retired lawyer), my son Eric (5th degree black belt, geologist, astrophysicist, physicist, astronomer and mathematician), my daughter Jessica (business manager and brown belt). 

Details. In the original Karate Kid movie, two types of karate were depicted: Miyagi-Ryu karate (traditional) and Cobra Kai Karate (sport). The movie best portrayed these differences in the personalities of instructors and their students, but was also subtly expressed in discussions by Mr. Miyagi concerning use and lethal potential of traditional karate vs. fighting for a trophy.

I visualize a traditional martial arts school (dojo) as a backdrop (I propose my school). The theme of the show would be about my students (a group of scientists, university faculty, teachers, librarians, engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc), their trial and tribulations in learning traditional martial arts and watching their progress over time.

Sensei Ryan defends attack by Dennis
The 'Way' would include history and philosophy of traditional martial arts. New students would learn how to put on their angry white pajamas (known as gi in Japanese), tie obi (belt), bow, speak Japanese, and walk, kick, punch and block the Okinawa way and include many moments of the lighter-side.

Students would learn and demonstrate karate, kobudo (weapons), jujutsu, samurai arts, and self-defense. Programs would focus on kata and bunkai (katas are forms in martial arts and bunkai are their practical applications), shitai kori, tameshiwari (breaking rocks), tamishigari (test cuts with samurai sword - around Halloween, I like to recycle pumpkins by teaching my students to cut with a sword), kobudo (the traditional martial arts weapons) and the successes as our new students learn to control their focus, lose weight, gain self-confidence and are promoted in rank.

Professor Billie Bob visits Arizona Hombu to
demonstrate how a farmer in Nebraska would
manufacture a kobudo weapon using corn cobs
We would include demonstrations of weapons, first as farming and fishing tools, and then convert them to combat weapons - nunchaku, bo, hanbo, kama, sai, tonfa, kuwa (garden hoe) and modern equivalents such as ropes and key chains we carry every day. Kobudo was created hundreds of years ago on Okinawa after bladed weapons were outlawed by Okinawa King Shoshin. The Okinawan people were not sold on this policy, so they began developing farming and fishing tools as weapons of self-defense. In past self-defense clinics that I taught to groups including college students, faculty and librarians, I’ve introduced them to their tools of self-defense including books, magazines, coins, purses, staplers, etc.

Some episodes, the audience would be introduced to common Samurai weapons such as naginata (pole arm), yari (spear), jujutsu (throws), katana (samurai sword), tanto (knife) and include cutting pumpkins and cactus with samurai swords. Because of my background, gemstone, gold and diamond prospecting could be introduced. When I taught martial arts at the University of Wyoming, each spring I would teach the martial artists what I called ‘Geology 101’, a class in breaking rocks.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Arizona Grandfather Breaks Rocks for Golden Anniversary

Can your grandfather break rocks with his hands and head? Ours can!

After training in traditional martial arts for 50 years, Grandmaster Hausel of Gilbert still practices 5 to 6 days a week and teaches 10 classes 3 days a week with periodic weekend clinics. The former professor of martial arts taught many hundreds of students karate, kobudo, jujutsu, samurai arts, self-defense, martial arts history, and women’s self-defense classes while at the University of Wyoming from 1977 to 2007. After retiring from the university, he moved to Gilbert and opened a martial arts school on the border of Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa and has students who travel from as far as Phoenix, Scottsdale, Queen Creek and Tempe three times a week and others who periodically travel from as far as Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, India and Vietnam to train at the Arizona Martial Arts center. He kicks and punches most every day except when he is searching for gemstones and gold and writing books.
In 1976, Soke Hausel broke roofing tiles with
his head for karate demos. While at the University of Wyoming, he actually
broke slabs of rock quarried north of Laramie at half-time demonstrations at
University of Wyoming basketball games.
Fifty years ago, Grandmaster Hausel played guitar in a rock n’ roll band when the band decided to take classes at a local karate school because long hair was not popular. In 1964, if one had long hair, people actually restrained the person to cut their hair. So the band learned self defense. Even his high school administration bullied and discriminated against kids with long hair, so he took matters in his own hands, so to speak.

It was a different time. In 1964, bullying was encouraged. “But I highly recommend it. One had to learn to stand for what they believed in; unlike today, where adults cry over anything that doesn’t go their way. Our society has really wimped out over the past few decades”.  The Hall-of-Fame martial artist began when karate training was brutal. Even so, he elected to continue martial arts for the rest of his life. Martial arts should be a lifelong commitment - not a fling.
Soke Hausel taught rock breaking to UW students every spring.
Traditional arts provide opportunities for people to earn rank and learn to defend themselves. Unfortunately, there are many schools in Arizona that require 6-month, very expensive contracts in order to receive a black belt at what is known as a McDojo or a diploma mill, whether you can defend yourself or not. Traditional martial arts are about earning everything and are inexpensive!

“I feel like a 30-year-old in a 60-year-old body. I have more power and acceleration in my punches, kicks and blocks than at any other time in my life. Martial arts have kept me healthy even though I have a few back problems – but those were all related to younger times when I tried to lift too much weight for a skinny guy.”

Soke Hausel teaches martial arts at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate (aka Arizona Hombu) on the border of Gilbert and Mesa. He has a few thousand students scattered worldwide: many are university professors, teachers, engineers, scientists, doctors, lawyers, social scientists, law enforcement agents and artists. His son, daughter and grandsons are proficient in martial arts.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Arizona Martial Artists Learn Traditional Samurai Weapons

Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai students have the opportunity to learn the traditional Okinawan Shorin-Ryu karate and kobudo arts, as well as many other martial arts. For instance, not too long ago, several members of the Arizona Hombu tested in Tonfa and some tested in Sai. At these exams, I often see some extraordinary achievements in our students abilities.

It is only after a student has trained in a specific martial art weapon for several months and in some cases a few years before they can test. When it gets to the point I feel they have reached a level where they have become proficient in the art, I let them take the exam. If they pass, they are granted menkyo in that martial weapon art.

During the exam, a student must demonstrate basics (kihon) of handling a weapon, as well as learn forms (kata) that might be associated with the weapon, they must also learn all of the applications (bunkai) in the kata and then also perform one step sparring (ippon kumite) and free sparring (jiyu kumite). In short, they must become experts before I provide them with an opportunity to test for certification. In most cases, the certification is equivalent to Menkyu Okuden in the Koryu schools (old combat schools).

Arizona students learn traditional hanbo and certify in the martial art in March, 2014.

Defending against a hay maker using hanbo. Ryan with hanbo
defends against punch from Patrick.

Arizona Hombu members certify in naginata in February 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Lighter Side of Martial Arts - Arizona Karate and Kobudo

'Bruce', pencil sketch by Soke Hausel
When we think of traditional martial arts, we think of near super humans who carry power in their fingers, hands and feet to break rocks, tear bark from trees, chop horns off bulls, smash blocks of ice, accept full force kicks in the groin with a smile and...  ...well there is another side that is hidden – that of the lighter side of the macho and mystic of martial arts.
 I remember one event that happened many years ago that was material for Hollywood. I was working at a planetarium while attending college and just finished working while I walked out of the door to see two of our female staff members begin accosted by a couple of goons driving down State Street, who saw the two attractive women and made a quick turn into our staff parking lot, jumped out of their car, and would not let the ladies close their car door unless they provided some personal information.
Being a martial artist, I stepped in and challenged them. I told them to get away from the car or else. They refused. Thus, I took a karate stance while facing them. In my mind, I visualized myself as Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon getting ready to do battle to the end. And it worked!

 These guys obviously saw the killing instinct in my eyes! All of a sudden, I saw the fear in their eyes explode with the diameter of their eyes suddenly growing to nearly twice their normal size as fear raged through their primitive minds. This was followed by a quick about face as they ran as fast as they could to their car. As I was mentally patting myself on my back for projecting my ki and scaring the daylights out of them, Louis, one of our other staff members who moved to SLC from Detroit, ran past me swinging a 2x4 over his head chasing the thugs out of our parking lot.  Well, maybe I projected my ki to Louis?

Kubi ashi waza - ankle lift defense using expandable police baton (ASP or kibo) performed by
Shihan-Dai Kyle Gewecke (4th dan) from Gillette against Sempai Brett Philbrick from
Laramie (2nd dan). The same technique can also be performed without a weapon must by
grabbing the attacker's ankle.
During my jujutsu classes at the University of Wyoming, two of my more entertaining students were often reinventing techniques (not on purpose, but by accident) and if only video cameras were as common then as they are today, maybe I could have caught this husband and wife team and made a few $hundred thousand on America's Funnies Home Videos.

During one class, I demonstrated a technique I will refer to as kubi ashi waza in which an attacker bear hugs his intended victim from behind. The defender quickly thrusts his or hers buttocks into the attacker while reaching down to grab one ankle of the attacker and lifts his leg to drop him on his back.  Sounds pretty straight forward - but not for my favorite married couple.  Imagine this, an attacker comes up from behind and grabs you in a bear hug. You reach down, thrusting your buttocks into him while reaching down for an ankle. You lift up the ankle and, surprise, you have your own ankle. Yes, my student Glenn actually did this.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Health and Arizona Martial Arts

People are surprised at how healthy many martial artists appear. One of my student sensei (instructors) from Mesa, Arizona, who practices karate in mesa, is a retired pilot in his late 60s who has suffered through many physical ailments. We are surprised to hear about his many past problems. Nowadays, when he visits the doctor for a checkup, his physician asks, "How old are you?" apparently impressed by his overall physical condition expressed by favorable blood pressure and heart rate that this Sensei directly attributes to his training in martial arts since retirement.

Another student was a professor of linguistics when I taught martial arts at the University of Wyoming. This student began training while in his 70s and told me that he looked forward to learning martial arts much of his life. However, when he was younger, he was a professor at a university ruled by communists in Estonia, who would not allow him to train in martial arts. This is something people should think about before they again elect a person with ties to a communist and socialist past. This was a common phenomenon behind the Iron Curtain where the government first took away all civilian guns, then eliminated perceived political opponents through mass genocide (as many as 100 million people have been murdered by communists), and restricted all freedom at every level. At least three of my students and one co-author suffered through communists regimes, and they still suffer though nightmares of those times. I suspect that many of my Vietnamese students also suffered. But back to this student. When he was in his 80s, he was in excellent health and had excellent memory and was actually the fastest of any of my students.

Sketch of Funakoshi by Soke Hausel
This is a common phenomenon in martial arts. The father of modern karate and a Shorin-Ryu Karate Master, Gichin Funakoshi, wrote in his book - Karate-Do - My Way of Life about health and martial arts training. He wrote, while in his 90s, "Thanks to my devotion to Karate-do that I have never once had to consult a physician. I have never in my life taken any medicine, no pills, no elixirs, not even a single injection. Karate-do is not merely an art that teaches how to strike and kick, it is also a defense against illness and disease".

Personally, when I see people who are out of shape, like those folks we see in Walmart who waddle into the store and immediately plop down on an electric scooter to usher themselves around the store, I have to feel for them. All it would take is for them to get out of those chairs and start training in martial arts to see a dramatic change in their health.

A few years ago, I tore a meniscus in my left knee due to a physical defect I was born with. I had to have surgery and they gave me crutches to walk out of the facility, which I did not use - I barely had a limp. I attended physical therapy where the therapist was amazed at my abilities the first day of therapy and progression over the next few weeks. I was told they only had one other person who was as far as long as me after similar surgery, a professional basketball player who was nearly 45 years younger. This was all due to my training in Shorin-Ryu Karate-do.