Friday, April 1, 2022

Magazine Anyone?

You're on a flight from Chicago to LA, and the airline's CEO decides she/he
wants your $0.05 (pre-Biden price) peanut snack you just paid $3,000 for. The
CEO grabs a cutting knife left in the kitchen (an old artifact from past days when 
airlines served meals and provided real service to costumers) and demands your
peanuts. Since you haven't eaten anything for a week because of all of the shortages
created by Biden and friends, you decide you are going to defend your rights. So
you take that cheap airline magazine, roll it up, and now you have one heck of a
self-defense weapon. So, you block the thrust of the CEO's knife and then snap 
that magazine into her/his nose. Then you eat your snack and get some other
passagers to help you stuff the CEO in the overhead luggage carrier. 

What is kobudo? Kobudo is a martial art that is more or less, an extension of karate (or vise versa) and trains martial artists (as well as members of the general public) how to use their professional, on the job tools for self-defense. Or use basically anything around you for self-defense. When such tools are acquired, they can be used for any self-defense technique taught in karate - block, strike, thrust, slap, snap, etc, etc. 

Over the past decades, I've taught hundreds of people karate, kobudo, jujutsu, self-defense and samurai arts and taught numerous self-defense clinics at a number of universities and colleges, professional groups, women's groups, couples, and church groups. With a little knowledge, a person can learn to defend themselves. And if they are not very strong, tools, used for weapons, can greatly improved their chances of survival.

The author, with the help of assistant, teaching self-defense 
to air force ROTC at the University of Wyoming.
So, next time you board a plane, look for anything around you that can be used as a tool of self-defense, or anything you are carrying in your wallet, purse, etc, and think how they can be used against CEO terrorists from America's banks, airlines, hospitals, etc. - you know, those scum who put more value in money than in human life. Now think, yep you have a magazine, maybe a book, a belt, pen, computer, cell phone, comb, seat belt used by the airline hostess(?) for demonstration, glasses, hot coffee (opps, forgot we were on a plane), coins, credit card, etc., etc. 

Wow, those car keys are sharp, and even make great Okinawa

Even a little rope, chain, belt, or shoe string can be used in self-defense.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Practical Self-Defense

Self defense using a rising elbow strike to an attackers chin (photo
courtesy of the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
(updated, 4/1/2022)
You're in Phoenix when someone walks up to you and pulls out a knife demanding your wallet; or a thug with a gun threatens you and your family if you don't hand over your car keys; or you are out for a walk in Phoenix valley and threaten by a group of thugs who don't like your 'Make America Great Again' t-shirt; or you are elderly and selected as a target by teens for their entertainment. How do you defend yourself against these kinds of low lives? Our first instinct, unless you are a member of one of the recent anti-American thug gangs, is to call the police - but we don't always have time to call.

Do you just give up? If you have the opportunity, it is best to try to talk your way out of these situations, but if you don't have such an opportunity, you'll be wishing you had listened to your friend and had signed up for that karate or self-defense class. We have a saying in the traditional martial arts - "sweating blood in the dojo is a lot easier than bleeding in the street".

You could buy a gun and hope you remember to take it with you, and hope you can get to it in time,  you can buy pepper spray and hope you remember to take it to the shower in the locker room or remember which direction to aim; you can buy a big Bowie knife and carry it on your belt and never go out on another date. But constant practice of traditional karate and kobudo will help you not only stay in good physical shape and provide you with a unique education, but it may also prepare for that day when you are attacked and your weapons (feet, hands, knees, elbows, forehead) are always with you. And the kobudo will provide an added advantage teaching you how to use your car keys for self-defense along with your cell phone, rings, coins, etc.

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. 

McDojos are interested in your money and most instructors at such schools have questionable (if any) qualifications - we've even heard about some instructors who learned karate and self-defense from  videos.

So how do you defend against a McDojo? McDojos don't have golden arches displayed on their windows, but there are sites on the internet that provide you with general guidelines on what to look for. It is not easy for a beginner to determine what is real and what is a McDojo; but, just know, there are some really good instructors and schools in the Phoenix valley of Arizona in the mix with the many McDojos.

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 with their salesmen. In the 1960s, it was easy to identify who were the martial arts used car salesmen because nearly all used the same line - "my hands are registered!" Registered for what? Picking your nose? But nowadays, most forgot this classic line, but today, McDojos use all kinds of other lines and contracts and promise you a black belt in a contract after so many months of training. One of our students who helps her husband run the Utah Shorin-Ryu Kai karate club told me that one of their young students asked if it was possible just to buy a black belt? She replied it was, but then he would have to fight Hanshi Watson, 9th dan.  That's when it really sunk in.

Yes, anyone can dress the part of a black belt, but what good is it if the black belt comes only with argyle socks and with no, poor, or ineffective training? Sure, money will buy you many things, but it can't buy experience, happiness, or a way to heaven. These have to be earned.

Yep, even that magazine you picked up on the bus
can be used as a very effective self-defense tool
in the hands of a trained martial artist.

always have contracts (contracts that guarantee black belt ranks), sloppy training, music played during classes and 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 look great at high school pep rally, but have no use on the street.

In addition to the McDojo, a recent and alarming fad has been the development of so-called superhuman feats with people using star wars or martial arts magic to stop opponents. These martial arts cults abandon martial arts abilities (if they ever had any) and likely arose from Star Wars and Marvel comic books and Hollywood. They are easy to spot as they use the force  (farce) which only works on their students and has no effect on outsiders. Another thing to watch for is that most McDojos (and sport martial arts) have large picture windows. Some are located in malls and we even saw one that was actually located in 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 since it does tend to build good reflexes, particularly in 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 many 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 hubs for martial arts schools. Nearly everywhere one looks in Arizona, there is a martial arts school. In Hawaii, the large Japanese-American community brought a variety of Japanese and Okinawan martial arts to that state. But looking at the different schools, how does one choose a school? There are websites that provide guides to finding a good school and not getting ripped off. This is very important to consider, particularly in Arizona, where it seems there are just as many rip off artists as there are legitimate schools.  

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.

Students train in gun defense at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in
Gilbert and Mesa.
Self-defense clinic at the University of Wyoming - a great time for everyone

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to 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 to use hands, fingers, belts, pens, car keys to restrain 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, quickly throw the hot coffee in his face and then quickly restrain the passenger with that belt - just one of many techniques taught in the traditional martial arts of hojojutsu and kusari -fundo.

In karate, we have a profound understanding of our training 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 - even at 32,000 feet. Thinking just clouds the mind. 

How does one do this? Simply by training nearly every day for the rest of your life – 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.

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! How embarrassing, but my friend learned about mushin first hand. Not long after, I found myself once again in the vice principal’s office trying to explain to him about mushin. He was not a Buddhist or martial artist and had no idea of what I was talking about - and this was back in 1966 when few people had any concept of martial arts in the US. I was put on probation for striking another student. All this poor guy did was walk by me between classes and quickly raised his hand to brush his hair - my mushin mind apparently interpreted this movement as an act of aggression and I promptly hit him with a back fist.  This was all in high school and I was started to develop a reputation - at least with Dr. Blackhurst, our vise principal.

When I was attacked on the UNM campus in Albuquerque some years later while in graduate school, my non-thinking brain (mushin) came to my rescue sending 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 kind of attack on the plane. Caught you! Quit thinking! 

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, groin, 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 or even your book. But only if you had taken that class in traditional karate or the clinic in airline traveler self-defense.

Using a kuboton (stick, pencil, keychain, pen or Duck Commander
duck call) to restrain an assailant.
At the Hombu, in Arizona, members constantly train in self-defense, karate, jujutsu, weapons and much more. Airline attendants should all train in martial arts. And if we taught our children martial arts, there would be fewer problems worldwide, because traditional martial arts, unlike most sport martial arts or MMA, require the students to learn discipline and respect of the traditional Okinawan karate way.

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.
To be honest, you couldn't get me to fly on an airplane today. There is no way 
I support those thug CEOs and Airline boards after the way they all 
harassed American citizens during the pandemic. But, if you ride one of their
planes, and are attacked by one of their CEOs, remember, that airline and
gift magazine works well for self-defense! Roll it up and remember, it use to 
be a tree.