Saturday, August 21, 2010

Arizona Karate Demonstrations

Karate instructors and Karate  Students at the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo Club put on many popular half-time karate, kobudo, self-defense and samurai arts demonstrations for the Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska communities during the University of Wyoming's men’s and women’s basketball games. From 1977 to 2007, the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Club put on dozens of demonstrations and clinics for sororities, church groups, women's groups, international groups, etc, who were interested in learning about traditional Karate arts.

Breaking (tameshiwari) Mexican roofing tiles for demo
in Las Cruces New Mexico, 1976
At one karate demo, club members lined up with partners (uke) to demonstrate self-defense applications. We had two rolls of 40 martial artists facing one another. As it turned out, the tallest and one of the oldest male members, Sensei Jensen, who is probably 6’3” to 6’4’, was matched with the youngest female member, a 5’2” teenager named Michelle - her mother, Karate Instructor Gillespie, was a very important part of the karate club. Michelle may have been about 14 at the time and just about came up to Sensei Jensen's chest who towered over her.

Knife defense demo with Sensei Wade Stenger 
at the University of Wyoming in the early 1990s.
The demonstration began with each pair of students demonstrating different sets of self-defense and karate applications in sequence. Beginning with the first pair in line, a self-defense application was demonstrated followed immediately by the next pair, then the next, and the next, etc. Then the line would begin all over again with another group of applications.

Because of the size, age, and gender differential between our odd karate couple, the audience loved it and got involved loudly ‘booing’ Sensei Jensen whenever he defended himself. Then the crowd followed with a cheer of approval whenever Michelle defended herself against Sensei Jensen. 

At another demonstration, the karate club finished with tameshiwari (rock breaking). This is a very minor part of karate, but over the years, people have developed the impression it is a significant part of the art. The karate club ended this demo at the University of Wyoming basketball game with one Japanese yudansha (Junichi) breaking boards. After Junichi broke boards, Soke Hausel turned to a large pile of cinder block slabs with teisho uchi (palm strike) and broke the pile.

University of Wyoming Students train with bo - a traditional Okinawan farming tool and weapon.
At another University of Wyoming karate demonstration, the traditional karate and kobudo group lined up and one pair followed another to demonstrate self-defense applications as they went down the line, just like in the previous demonstration.

At a different location on the basketball court, we had a second group demonstrating self-defense against multiple attackers, and in another corner of the court, Soke Hausel and Shihan Stahl demonstrated a two-man kobudo kata with bo (6-foot staff) and tonfa (baton). 
The infamous photo. As Soke Hausel is kicked in the groin,
Ted from the University of Wyoming photo service
captured him smiling (UW photo). Soke was not
wearing any protection - not that it would have helped.

There was another demonstration where Sensei Donette Gillespie and Soke Hausel demonstrated Shitai Kori (Juko-Ryu Kijutsu), a form of body hardening. This was the last technique demonstrated at the University of Wyoming basketball half time. The two took the center of the court, and were surprised at what a great crowd pleaser this was. Sensei Gillespie first kicked Soke in the ribs with a very hard maewashi geri (round house kick) - the thud of the kick echoed throughout the gym and many ooooohhhs and awhhhhhhs echoed from the crowd. Then Sensei Gillespie took her stance to ready herself to kick Soke in the groin with mae geri (front kick). She took aim and the crowd went 'nuts' with laughter, whistles, cat calls, etc. They probably didn't think they were going to go through with this. Soke then whispered to  Donette, to kick him as hard as she could and try to lift him off the floor. At that point, the expression on her face was ferocious as if she wanted to take all of her life’s frustrations out in one kick. Soke couldn’t help himself and started to smile at her expression, and then she kicked him with all of her power. The crowd went crazy.

The next day, Ted from the University of Wyoming photo service called Soke (Ted was one of the club's jujutsu students) and indicated that Soke needed to get over to his office right away to see the photo he took of the demo. He said to Soke, "you're crazy! You're getting kicked in the groin by a 3rd degree black belt and you're smiling as if you enjoyed it". 

Photo captured by the University of Wyoming
photographer of Soke Hausel accepting
kick in ribs (University of Wyoming
photo).

In addition to having a good time, the karate club focused on learning traditions, history, and developing power in self-defense. The University of Wyoming's karate club also taught clinics for the karate students and self-defense clinics for the University of Wyoming faculty, staff and student body and even brought in two of the top martial artists in the world to teach clinics - Dai-Soke Sacharnoski, 12th dan, and O'Sensei Tadashi Yamashita, 9th dan. 

Soke Hausel moved to Gilbert, Arizona and his students at the Arizona Hombu have taught some clinics in Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa. The Hall-of-Fame martial artist has been contacted to give karate demonstrations for the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes, but these organizations ask for the karate practitioners to pay to give demonstrations - this is backwards and archaic and the group has refused to do business with them. Can you imagine - pay to give a karate demonstration to organization that pay their athletic $millions. 

Last Fall the group did a demonstration for the Phoenix Arizona FOX 10 News crew, and were told by the crew it was the best karate demo they had ever seen and the students showed considerable focus and power. 

Learn more about karate, kobudo and kobujutsu at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa and also at the UW Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club in Laramie. If you are interested in watching the Arizona karate students - stop by the dojo in Mesa. If you are interested in having the group perform a karate demonstration, they look forward to hearing from you, but remember - they DO NOT PAY to break rocks for your entertainment.

1976 photo of Soke breaking tiles with head. At some of the
University demonstrations, Soke has been known to break 
slabs of rock with his head.
by Seiyo Kai International


MAP to our DOJO





Teaching students at the University of Wyoming to break limestone with their bare hands.




Halloween demonstration of tameshigiri (sword cutting) in Gilbert, Arizona.

Outside karate demonstration at the University of Utah in 1970. Soke Hausel (then Sensei Hausel) demonstrates yoko tobi geri (Flying side kick) assisted by Tim Smith.
International Student's Association karate
demonstration.
Kobudo demonstration at International Student's
Association. Photo includes Soke Hausel, Shihan
Froidevaux, Shihan Gewecke and Senpai Philbrick.
Soke Hausel explains use of
pressure points during jujutsu demonstration
at the University of Wyoming, while assisted by
Sensei Jason Gies.
White Crane Shorin-Ryu demonstration for Chinese
 New Year celebration.

This was a unique demonstration at Saratoga, Wyoming.
This was a demonstration that we titled the "History of
Martial Arts" in which we went through martial arts history and 
included a number of demonstrations to help the audience 
visualize characteristics of various arts. Here, Soke Hausel asked 
for volunteer from the Audience (Dr. Jimmy Goolsby
from Casper, Wyoming) and used him in a demo of hojojutsu.
Soke moderates and introduces students as the conduct a
 traditional martial arts demonstration at an International 
Student Association Conference in Laramie, Wyoming.




Looking a little stoic as Soke Hausel is inducted into an unprecedented 15th
Hall of Fame.