Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Practical Self-Defense

Imagine, someone walks up to you with a knife; or the hood has a gun and threatens you and your family; or you are out for a walk and are threaten by a bunch of thugs who don't like the color of your skin or your religion; or you are elderly and selected as a target by teens for their knockout game. How do you defend yourself? Do you just give up? Personally, I don't believe any good person should ever give in to aggression. I believe that a person needs to learn good self-defense

You could buy a gun and hope you remember to take it with you, or that you can get to it in time,  you can buy pepper spray and hope you remember to take it to the shower; or you can buy a big Bowie knife and never go out on another date. But constant practice of traditional karate and kobudo will help you prepare for that day when you are attacked and it will also mean that your weapons are always with you.

The best way to prepare for that awful day when you are attacked is to join a karate club and train weekly. But not all karate (and martial arts) clubs are equal. There are (1) McDojos, (2) Sport martial arts clubs and (3) traditional martial arts clubs. 

I recommend to stay away from McDojos. McDojos are only interested in your money and most instructors at these schools have questionable qualifications - we've even heard about some that actually learned karate from a book and a video. From such an instructor, you will never learn how to properly defend yourself.  So how do you avoid a McDojo if you are not already trained in martial arts? There are some sites on the internet that provide you with general guidelines on what to look for.

Some suggest McDojos began to arise in the 1970s. But from my experience, these didn't start to pop up until about the beginning of the 21st century. And now they are as common as used car lots and used car salesmen.  

Some of the characteristics of a McDojo are contracts (contracts that guarantee black belt ranks), sloppy training, music played while doing kata (forms), brightly colored uniforms covered with patches, many colored belts with a variety of stripes such that the practitioner looks more like a strand of buddhist prayer flags than a martial artist, kobudo techniques that would look good in a girls pep club or used by cheer leaders.

A recent and alarming fad has been the development of superhuman feats using star wars martial arts or martial arts magic to stop opponents. This is becoming all too common and results in martial arts cults and abandoning all martial arts abilities (if they ever had any). These martial arts cults likely arose from Star Wars and Marvel comic books. They are easy to spot as they use the force and the force (farce) only works on their students and has no effect on outsiders. McDojos (and most sport martial arts) have large picture windows and many are located in malls. We even saw one that was actually located within a Walmart in Gilbert, Arizona.

Sport martial arts were invented by the Japanese sometime after 1922. Gichin Funakoshi, a Shorin-Ryu karate master moved from his home in Okinawa to mainland Japan where he introduced karate (an Okinawan art) to the Japanese at some Japanese universities. Funakoshi modified Shorin-Ryu Karate which later was called Shotokan karate by some of his students against his wishes. The invention of sport karate occurred around 1949 with the creation of the Japanese Karate Federation. Prior to this time, karate was considered to be a weapon, not a sport, and many techniques that were taught in Okinawan karate were taught to injure or kill another person. In some cases, there is nothing wrong with sport martial arts as it does tend to build good reflexes, particularly martial arts styles like kyokushinkai karate and shotokan karate. But the objective is sport and most training focuses on gaining points rather than knocking out the opponent. After training in kyokushin kai karate, wado-ryu karate and shotokan karate for several years, I found my reflexes were very good, but my technique was sloppy. You can see what I mean by watching most kumite (sparring) videos.

I really didn't learn about proper self-defense until I began training in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo and, in particular, training under Dai-Soke Sacharnoski with Juko Kai International. Juko Kai is one of the larger US-Okinawa martial arts associations in the world who practice traditional martial arts.

Traditional martial arts focus on self-defense and self-improvement and traditional martial artists do no compete. This is one of the major differences between sport and traditional martial arts. In my definition of traditional martial arts, I see these arts as self-defense weapons as taught for centuries on Okinawa.

So, free-sparring is uncommon in traditional martial arts because it tends to breed sloppy technique. Instead in traditional martial arts, people are taught to train with one step to three step sparring and ALL techniques must be taught with full power and full focus. In order not to cripple or injure another person, these focused techniques are taught in a particular way to protect all members.  And rarely is anyone every injured. Students also must never use protective gloves as these teach improper technique, but they must learn to strike with power, focus and acceleration. By doing so, one can learn good self-defense techniques designed to take another person down with one strike, or one combination.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Traditional Martial Arts & Self-Defense

The sun sets on another day - don't delay - its time to take that self-defense class you've been thinking about.

Arizona and Hawaii are the martial arts capitals of North America. Everywhere one looks, there are martial arts schools.  How do you choose a school? At the Arizona School of Traditional Karate, we teach traditional martial arts - the way it has been taught for hundreds of years, and we teach pragmatic self-defense.

Our martial arts school caters to adults and families, and we have the highest expertise in our instructors which includes a grandmaster with five decades of experience, a master instructor with more than 30 years experience, and three sensei (teachers) with several decades of total experience.

We offer training in Karate, Kobudo, self-defense, samurai arts. Just check out our schedule, check us out, and follow our location map to our martial arts school. If you need more information, just contact us.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Self-defense clinic for faculty, staff & students at
the University of Wyoming
Personal Self-Defense Clinics - We offer personal self-defense clinics for groups and keep prices reasonable. If you have a family, social group or club of six or more individuals, we can schedule a self-defense clinic for you. All you need to do is collect $25 from each person and sign up for a two-hour, hands-on clinic by Hall-of-Fame martial artist and professor of martial arts Soke Hausel. Soke has been presented several awards for public speaking and martial arts instruction, so you are guaranteed to have an excellent clinic.

You will learn the basics of stances, how to use your feet, knees, elbows, hands, car keys, books, etc. for self-defense. Soke has been teaching self-defense clinics for nearly 4 decades to various groups including university faculty and staff, nurses, EMT, military, women's groups, church groups, girl scouts, etc.

Arizona School of Traditional Karate Schedule

All for one low price

Students train in gun defense at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in
Gilbert and Mesa.
Martial artists from Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah and Wyoming train in knife defense at the University of Wyoming
Self-defense clinic at the University of Wyoming - a great time for everyone
Self-defense clinic in Wyoming

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Airline Traveler Self-Defense (Defend yourself at 32,000 feet)

Removing a knife using te-waza
You are relaxing in your seat at 32,000 feet while flying across the country. You just started drinking coffee when the person in the seat in front of you jumps up and threatens another passenger. The airline attendants cower. You are the closest person but you can’t remember what to do. What do you do? Do you hide? Do you hope someone else jumps in? What do you do when the conflict expands? If only you had paid attention to that martial artist who demonstrated how he used his hands, fingers, belts, pens, car keys in restraining an airline passenger in close quarters. What was that about the belt? How was that choke applied? Now you remember, you take off your belt and quickly restrain the passenger.

 In karate, we have a profound understanding of our training – it is known as Kara te or empty hand. 'Empty' used in this sense is related to a Buddhist term mushin that implies nothingness or emptiness. It simply indicates that to use martial arts effectively, one must be able to react to any circumstance without thinking. Thinking just clouds the mind. How does one do this? Simply by training constantly for the rest of their lives – sounds a little extreme! Not really, many people go to a gym 3 or 4 times a week or run a few days a week: think of karate as your weekly physical fitness training to burn calories with the added benefit of learning how to defend yourself! Getting muscle bound doesn't help much when a skinny guy kicks sand in your face on the beach.
Wrist restraint. applied to Shihan-Dai Kyle Gewecke.
Choking an assailant in close quarters (Soke Hausel
is assisted by Sensei Raleigh Love.

I remember when I was in high school – a friend snuck up behind me and lightly struck me in the face from behind – not hard, but enough that it got my attention. Without thinking, I automatically struck this person with a back elbow strike to the head – a knockout – this was embarrassing, but my friend learned about mushin first hand. Months later, I found myself in the vice principal’s office (1966) trying to explain to him about mushin. He was not a Buddhist or martial artist and had no understanding. I was put on probation for another knock out. Another kid thought it would be fun to test me. He struck at me in the hall in fun only to later wake up on the hall floor. When I was later attacked on the UNM campus in Albuquerque, I called on mushin again, to send one of the two assailants to the hospital..
You may be thinking – if only I would have continued to train in martial arts – I could deal with this attack on the plane. Quit thinking! It is time to act.

If you were properly trained in traditional martial arts, you would have been prepared. You could have choked the person, one quick punch to his throat, nose, or liver would have ended the confrontation, a kick to the knee, or if you had your cell-phone, you could have struck the side of his neck, his groin, his upper lip. Or if he came at you with a knife or sharpened pen, you could use your belt, the demo belt from the airline attendant, your magazine and your book. But only if you had taken that class in traditional karate or the clinic in airline traveler self-defense or special clinic taught to the Airline Attendants’ Association taught in the East Valley of Phoenix.
Using a kuboton (stick, pencil, keychain, pen or Duck Commander
duck call) to restrain an assailant.
At the Arizona Hombu, or known as the School of Traditional Martial Arts, we train members, groups and associations in self-defense, karate, jujutsu, weapons and much more. We have scheduled classes, or your association can schedule a time each week or month to train in self-defense or martial arts. Airline attendants should all be trained in martial arts as should all teachers. If we taught our children martial arts, there would be fewer problems worldwide, because of the required discipline of traditional Okinawan karate.

Armbar restraint applied to Officer Brett Philbrick,
2nd dan
Lenny Martin sensei, applies thumb throw to Kyle Gewecke,Shihan-Dai
at University of Wyoming jujutsu clinic taught by Soke Hausel.
Soke Hausel demonstrates use of belt
assisted by Dr. Doug Keinath.


Our center is open to the public - we focus on Adults and Families.
Learn the traditions of Okinawan Karate & Kobudo & how we are trying to make this world a better place, one person at a time.

We introduce meditation, philosophy, Japanese and martial arts history in our karate & kobudo classes. Our schedule is as follows:

FEES We have some of the lowest rates in the East Valley.
We also offer special clinics at our school (or your location) in self-defense training for your school, club, social group, or business.
Training with manrikigusari at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa