Shorin-Ryu Karate People
The strength of a martial art is measured in its students - their martial arts abilities and their success in life. Based on this, Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai is one strong martial arts association! We have many successful and wonderful people around the world who are, or have been, part of our martial art. As a martial arts instructor, I have been very blessed. I want to thank all of my students - I love you guys!
Years ago, I was invited to attend the University of Wyoming College of Engineering graduation ceremony to listen to two of my karate students who were elected to speak. Both were black belts who had trained throughout their college career and both were outstanding scholars. Csaba Rozgonyi, 1st dan, was the top graduating student in the college with a 4.0 GPA in chemical engineering, and Sandy Stahl, 5th dan, was selected by the student body to speak on their behalf - she was graduating as a civil engineer. As active members of the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo club, they were both present every week at the university dojo for years. The two karate students spoke about their experiences in college and discussed how martial arts had helped them in school and how it gave them focus in college. At the end, both gave a nice karate bow to the audience - it was great! I could not have been prouder. Not long after this event, our karate dojo had been selected as the top-rated Juko Kai International School of the Year (1999). In the following year, I had been selected as the top Juko Kai International 'Soke of the Year'. This was a great time in my life and I was also able to share my karate with my two kids - Jessica and Eric, whom I love dearly.
Over the years I've taught a few thousand college students, staff and faculty the way of traditional martial arts focusing on traditional karate and kobudo. I pray all of my students are doing extraordinary things with their lives. In traditional martial arts, a 'ryu' is a family and all of my karate students are essentially my adopted karate children. So, yes, I am concerned about them and their lives and love to hear from them. What my karate students have accomplished, I like to feel that I may have had a tiny bit of influence. Here are some comments from my students – consider this my resume.
Lt Col ERIC HENDRICKSON (Menkyo Okuden, Juko Ryu Kempojustu). It's crazy to think that I was 25 when I left the University of Wyoming. I'm 40 now and life is flying by. I was recently promoted to Lt Col and made the command list, so I should take command of a flying squadron next summer if all works out. I'm currently serving as the Inspector General for Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo NM.
I've sustained some injuries to my knees and have a hard time practicing anything right now, but I still follow a martial arts path of sorts. I recently graduated from the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), which is an advanced graduate school that trains field grade officers to be operational planners. It was hands down the most rigorous academic education I've ever been through. We read about 100 pages a day, every day, wrote a thesis, numerous other papers, difficult exercises, and earned a new degree in 11 months.
Now, I'm considered a "Jedi" (that's what they call graduates), but in reality I just know how much more I don't know. On my next assignment, I'll work a staff job where I'll be responsible for helping plan as part of a joint team the comprehensive overall operational plan of war for whatever geographic area I may end up in. It's pretty humbling to be given a responsibility like that and realize everything that may be riding on my due diligence, but I look forward to it.
Thank you for your kindness and gentle humbleness that you always led class with. I do my best to lead with much the same approach. I just wanted to say hello since it's been quite a while since we talked. If you ever need anything, please feel free to ask. Take Care and God Bless,
SCOTT PRITCHETT, 1st dan, Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo
Hope all is well back in Arizona and that the dojo is doing good. I enjoyed reading the newsletter, makes me miss being able to train at the dojo with everyone. Peru has been challenging but good for me. I'm still adjusting to all of the cultural differences here, and learning the language and everything else that comes with living in a foreign country.
As far as my karate practice I have been able to keep up to date and have been practicing the empty hand katas. I'm glad that karate doesn’t require any equipment, it makes it easy to practice wherever I’m at. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to practice any kobudo as I didn’t bring any of my weapons with me. I wasn’t sure how the TSA would feel about a bag full of weapons rolling through airport security. I’m going to try and find a store or something where I can purchase some weapons, or garden implements I can use in the meantime so I can stay up to date on the kobudo. Maybe I will create a machete kata in the future as those seem common enough.
I haven't had much time as I'd like to practice, but I will have more time fairly soon once I get done with my peace corps training and plan on focusing a lot of time on my karate practice. The hardest thing I've discovered about training alone is not having a partner to practice bunkai with.
It turns out my program manager is actually a martial artist that practices southern shaolin kung fu and he would like me to start teaching karate to the community I am going to be living in. I would like to try and start a karate club at one of the schools however I'm a bit nervous to start formal classes with teaching. Do you have any advice or things to keep in mind for this?
Once I'm back in Arizona I'll definitely be returning to the dojo to get some more training in and see everyone. Also, about the tai-chi people moving out of the dojo, have you thought about renting the space out to a yoga class? Seems like yoga is fairly popular and there would be yoga teachers looking to rent space, but not sure.
AMIRA RODRIGUEZ, Sankyu, Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo. My name is Amira Rodriguez. I teach high school biology in Tolleson. I’m the department chair for science and the assistant swim coach. Besides my love of science, I also am an avid reader (huge fan of Harry Potter), love writing fiction, singing, music, traveling and Disney. And of course martial arts.
I first began karate when I was in the third grade. My younger brother had a kid at school picking on him and my mom wanted him to learn how to defend himself. Somehow I got roped into it. I remember when my parents took us to sign up for classes. I hated the idea. Karate was for boys, not girls. I wanted to do girly things and that wasn’t karate. My parents didn’t give me any choice. I was going to do and that was all there was it. So there I was in the first class with my brother . . . and I loved it. It was the best thing I had ever done. From that point on, every Saturday morning I would happily put on my black gi and tie my belt and head to the YMCA and learning kenpo and all the katas and stances and have so much fun doing it. For three years, we trained and went from white to yellow to orange to purple and green. Unfortunately we had to stop. My father retired from the Navy and wanted to move to Arizona. He moved to Phoenix a year before we did and since my mom didn’t know how to drive, we had no way of continuing our classes.
After we moved to Phoenix, my family went through some rocky patches. My dad was laid off several times and I knew that asking to take karate again was out of the question. We didn’t have the money and once I started high school, I was too busy studying and working and doing ROTC and choir. It wasn’t until I started college at Arizona State University that I got a chance to do it again. My friends and I enrolled in a semester class offered at the university as an elective. The style was aikido. It was fun doing what I loved again and having my friends with me. But unfortunately, I never got the chance to do more of it with classes and internships and work.
For a while, martial arts wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. I was a brand new teacher, put in charge of 160 teenagers and figuring out that actual teaching was nothing like your college classes said it would be. My life was literally my job and trying to balance all the aspects of it while somehow maintaining my sanity. It wasn’t until about two years ago that the idea of continuing martial arts entertained my thoughts.
I was feeling burned out and stressed with work and life in general. All I was doing was working and coaching. I didn’t do anything that I enjoyed for fun anymore and I knew that it wasn’t a good thing to keep going this way. I started my eighth year teaching and as the year went on, the need for doing something for myself got stronger and I remembered how much I loved doing martial arts. Plus, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to learn how to defend myself. So I started doing research and looked up different dojos. At first I wanted to resume kenpo. After all, it’s what I had done for three years as a kid and it just seemed like a natural choice. My research however wasn’t turning up much though. I found a few places but nothing struck me as a place I wanted to go. I finally found something that was going to be opening soon near me that did kenpo. The prices were certainly better than most places (though many didn’t even list how much classes cost), the times were decent but I wasn’t too sold on them. Then I stumbled upon the Arizona Hombu. And I started reading and the more I looked at the website the more I wanted to join. It was the one place that wasn’t about competition and trophies and outrageously priced. It was just karate. Plain, simple, traditional karate. And after a few months of going back and forth on whether I was going to do it or not, I finally decided to just go for it.
I almost didn’t come that first night. I didn’t have a lot of confidence and I was hesitant about doing something by myself. A friend and coworker convinced me and told me to just go. And I’m really glad I did. After that first night, I immediately called my friend and told her how awesome it was and how much I enjoyed it and how excited I was to do this again. She laughed at me, said “I told you so”, and told me how happy she was that I decided to go back to something I enjoyed.
I’ve been training at the Arizona Hombu for a year and half now and have enjoyed every moment of it. Everyone there is so kind and friendly. And it’s amazing to train with an instructor that is so knowledgeable and has so much experience and does it because he loves it. I love the tradition of it and learning the history of martial arts and doing something that people have been doing for hundreds of years. It’s simple the best thing ever. And besides, how many high school teachers can say they know how to take down an attacker and oh yeah wield a katana? I know I can.
REVEREND DENNON MINNEY. "I was a karate student of yours in Laramie Wyoming in 1983, 1984 and again in 1988-1993. I want to THANK YOU for being one of the Most Influential People in My Life. Your compassion and Discipline has helped me in ALL areas.
I met you as a shy, insecure, nerdy, out of shape, anti social young boy - your initial lessons taught me about life as well as martial arts. Then my family moved away. I kept practicing. When I moved back, it seemed like the lessons continued right where they left off and put me on the right track to become the man I am today. Much Appreciation Sensei. Thanks for Making a Difference with me".
Dr. SUMEET APHALE, Sensei/3rd dan,Aberdeen, UK. I am attaching my dissertation acknowledgement which also features you!! Thanks for all your patience and all that you have taught me.
Acknowledgment - A PhD is a huge undertaking and cannot be accomplished without inputs of all kinds by a great many people. The work with this dissertation has been extensive and trying, but in the first place exciting, instructive, and fun. Without help, support, and encouragement from several persons, I would never have been able to finish this work...
... I also give a special thanks to Dan Hausel, my martial arts instructor for the past four years, for his instruction and patience. His way of life is an ideal I will always try to follow. I thank Amit, my roommate and friend who patiently put up with me and all my whims throughout the years. I also thank my friends Gaurav, Senthil, Chinmay, Jignesh, Kevin, George, Kris, Katie, Cyrena, Brian and Sondra for giving me the much needed moments of joy without which I would never have finished this gigantic task. There definitely are more people who deserve my gratitude and I ask for their forgiveness for not being able to name every one of them. Please note that I haven’t forgotten you. Finally, I thank my parents who were a constant source of inspiration and optimism through these trying years ...
My interest in martial arts began after watching a series of “old school” Shaw brothers and Jackie Chan movies, way back in 1990. In my home town (Pune, India) the several martial art schools in existence, only taught Judo, Karate or Tae Kwon Do (no Kung Fu). After about a month each in many of these schools, I made up my mind to pursue Karate. I began with Wado-Ryu and soon moved to Isshin Ryu in 1992. For about three and a half years, all I remember is knuckle push-ups, kata, body hardening and getting beaten up by other, more skilled martial artists!
My vagabond life (due to the study options I picked) started in 1996 and I was unable to continue as a full-time student of any single school. Sporadic training and discussion sessions with other martial artists (from different martial arts and styles), books and movies were my training aids for quite some time. It is during this period, that I began understanding martial arts as a Way of Life, rather than just being kata, sparring and knuckle push-ups.
My academic pursuits brought me to Laramie in 2000. It was a time when I was fed up by the stagnant nature of my martial arts training and I took about a year off from it all. I visited the Seiyo Shorin Ryu Karate dojo on the UW campus in 2001 and was quite impressed by the instructor (Soke Dan Hausel) and his senior students. The quality and zeal they all possessed in their technique was surprising to me, knowing that they hardly ever had sparring sessions and I just had to learn from them. The five years that I spent with this talented group of people were full of poignant learning experiences, a lot of self evaluation and fun. From here, I took lasting, fond memories and strong friendships with me, when I moved to Australia in the fall of 2005.
I continue to be a student of martial arts, though currently I can only practice what I have already learned rather than learn something new. Soke would have gone through millions of lower blocks (Gedan Barai) in his 40+ year martial arts career and I have yet failed to spot his focus or force waver by an iota. That is my motivation as well as my goal. To me, that is martial arts in its complete perfection.
Dr. Sumeet graduated in 2005 and moved to Australia. He was awarded a B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Pune University, India in 1999, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from the University of Wyoming. He is currently a research professor at ARC Center for Complex Dynamic Systems and Control School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia with interests in smart structures, nano-positioning and control systems.
Dr. NEAL ADAM, Dai-Shihan/6th dan, Phoenix, Arizona (Professor of Biology, Grand Canyon University) (Neal is now 7th dan). I began karate practice in 1982 in Wheeling, Illinois in Shotokan. After several years of trying to find a dojo in the Nebraska/Kansas area, I finally met Soke Hausel while working at the University of Wyoming in about 1989. During PhD work at Kansas State University and subsequent post-doc research positions in Phoenix, my karate practice continued on a solo basis. Now that Soke has moved to Phoenix, I have the opportunity once again to have good instruction and coaching, and have really been enjoying the weapons training. I am now an Asst. Prof. of Biology at Grand Canyon University, and am trying to make sure that teaching duties do not prevent me from training. My daughters and I live across Phoenix from Soke Hausel, and Emily, my 9-yr-old, likes to follow along in karate practice.
PATRICK SCOFIELD, 1st dan/Sensei, Mesa, Arizona (Patrick is now a 4th dan). On many hot evenings in Arizona, you can hear the distinct sound of a Harley roaring down Baseline turning onto MacDonald and continuing into the parking lot in front of the Arizona Hombu. This Harley carries a load with a big stick (and katana, and bo, and sai, and tonfa, and etc) strapped to his back. Climbing off the Harley with a backpack filled with kobudo and samurai weapons that are impressive and all oversized to match his size.
Patrick is an Arizona native and was introduced to Shorin-Ryu karate at 7 years of age. His late father Craig was a Marine and while stationed in Okinawa with his father, Patrick was regularly left at a Judo dojo while Craig studied Shorin-Ryu. Patrick didn’t care too much for Judo, as each judo kumite (randori) devolved into a scuffle on the ground with one individual sucking tatame mat until he had to tap-out from inability to breathe. To this day Patrick contends that judo is solely about suffocation. Craig achieved 2nd Dan at a traditional dojo in Okinawa; he attained 3rd Dan while serving a tour in Viet Nam.
Four generations of Scofields have lived in Arizona since even before it was a state. Related to confederate gunrunners and Mary Queen of Scotts, Scotch-Irish Scofields have always had a taste for a challenge.
An ASU grad, Patrick worked as an industrial designer, designing products for companies such as Rubbermaid, Whirlpool, Coke and FedEx. Patrick eventually launched his own firm employing 8 people at its peak and ran it for 17 years working with national and international clients. Patrick leveraged his life-long interest in flying and has become active in flying ‘warbirds’ - aircraft with military heritage and histories. He currently flies a Chinese ‘yak’, a restored Nanchang CJ-6, and for a period of time owned and operated imported military L-39 jets from Ukraine and Romania: he learned to fly them and performed in many airshows. Patrick is currently employed by Boeing as an Advanced Concepts Designer. Patrick says “Who knows what is next?”
Sharing a memory of his father’s strength Patrick relates a story from when he was 13 years of age: “My father had returned from Vietnam and had taken a job at Empire Machinery Company (near the Arizona Hombu) and wanted to put a side gate in the cinder block wall fence at our house. I watched him one morning walk out with a 16lb sledge hammer over his shoulder wearing sandals and short pants and his newly grown (post-military) beard. He was making ready to create an opening by bludgeoning some of the blocks in to powder with the sledge. He lifted the sledge and prepared to take a mighty swing, but then reconsidered; he had another idea. I watched as he formed a mokuso for calming, then took a stance, without further preamble he produced a kiai and the finest reverse thrust kick I have seen. His sandaled foot crashed through the cinder blocks and beyond, exploding 4 or five blocks out of the wall in various states of destruction! As he retracted his extended leg, one of the blocks cut his leg a bit. This didn’t phase him, he simply picked out the remainder of the weakened wall section with his sledge like you and I would pick our teeth with a toothpick. A satisfied Kareteka sat at the dinner table that evening, having vanquished his stony foe! I grew up with many examples of his strength”.
Patrick had two brief flirtations in karate many years ago, looking into Shotokan and Shito-Ryu dojo as there were no Shorin-Ryu dojo in the vicinity. About two years ago, Patrick went looking again for a Shorin-Ryu dojo, he wanted to study Karate and also honor his father by studying an Okinawan style. The fortuitous find of the Seiyo-Shorin Ryu Hombu had him on the phone that evening, within a week he started training and has re-launched his journey into a life that includes martial arts studies.
At 52 years of age Patrick says he has noted marked improvements in his musculature and his body tone and posture. ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ remarks attest to the fact that these improvements have yet to reach his mid-section. Patrick has most recently achieved rank of sankyu at the Arizona Hombu; he notes that it takes a whole dojo and all of the Sempai’s and Sensei’s there to grow a student. Patrick’s ultimate goal is to become a Shihan; he wants to frame his certificate in a shared frame with his father’s Karate Certificate.
Prem Dubey, Kyoshi/8th dan, India. Thanks for being my (Teacher) Guru! Walked through with the guidance of you, Succeeded my life with the teachings of you, You are the inspiration, Made me win with a spirit, It wouldn’t have been possible without you, Everyone in their life will have a Guru to lead them, I had you in my life as my Guru, You made me come out of my ignorance, I learnt to handle the problems all because of you, I always pay my tribute to you, You were a light for me in the dark, You were an inspiration and an aspiration, Support me always, I will succeed in all ways, Happy Guru Purnima! Bless me with all your heart, Let me become a successful person, I wish to be your disciple always, Let all your blessings comes to me, On this special occasion of Guru Purnima, Peace and prosperity be mine when your are wishes are with me, Happy Guru Purnima! (Happy Teacher Day)
Sensei Paula Borea, 2nd dan (Shorin-Ryu), 1st dan (Taekwondo) (Of Samurai Lineage & now ranked as 3rd dan)
I started studying martial arts 30+ years ago after my daughter Julie was born in Kansas City, Missouri. It all started as a whim. I had gained so much weight during my pregnancy, and even after Julie was born, my weight had not gone down like I hoped it would. I decided I could not go to a jazzercise class and wear leotards and tights! I remembered seeing a martial arts class at a local shopping mall and they were wearing those white uniforms which I felt could hide my overweight body very nicely!!
The style of martial arts at this particular school was Moo Duk Kwan Su Bak Do. I was the only female in the classes for a very long time. The harder they pushed, the more determined I became to be the very best I could be. I wanted to prove to myself and the other students I could keep up with the rest of the class. The weight came off, my stamina and strength increased, and I gained a lot of self-confidence. I achieved the level of Red Belt and was to test for my first degree black belt when my husband got orders to move (he was in the U.S. Air Force at the time).
While my husband (Sensei Bill Borea) was stationed in Japan, I studied Shudokan (traditional Okinawan style). Studying martial arts had become a part of my life. I continued to study Shudokan when we returned to New Jersey and achieved the level of advanced brown belt. Again, I prepared myself to test for black belt however, this time my Sensei left our school. Since I was working full time, being a full time wife and mom and going to night school for my Bachelor’s Degree, there were not enough hours in the day to also continue my martial arts training. So I reestablished my goals to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree first and then go back to my martial arts training. I graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in May of 1990.
One of the main benefits I’ve found as a result of practicing martial arts is the constant self challenging aspect of the sport. Each level pushes you to a higher level of learning both physically and mentally. It also taught me discipline, total concentration and total focus which I used while going to night school. The ability of total concentration and focus on a subject helped me while my kids would be blasting stereos in their bedrooms, while I was sitting at my desk studying for exams or writing another paper. The discipline, the total concentration, and focus as a result of my training also helped me to achieve the honor of Summa Cum Laude when I graduated.
I went on to study Taekwondo after graduating and eventually achieved my black belt in 1995. However, the training was nothing like the traditional training I received when I studied Shudokan over in Japan and the Sensei I studied under in New Jersey. Now that we’ve moved to Arizona, I’ve tried a couple of different schools in search of my “Mr. Miyagi” and I finally found him in Soke Dan Hausel!! I feel very privileged to be studying under Soke and going back to the traditional way of learning. Granted it takes a little longer to warm up the body and the flexibility is not like it used to be, but if one has the fighting spirit and heart, practicing martial arts becomes a part of you and a way of life. Besides the fact it helps me keep up with my 4 grandchildren!!!
Kyoshi Prem Dubey is our Seiyo Shorin-Ryu representative for India. Prem has studied martial arts for many years and has a very successful track record as an instructor. He was born on August 9th, 1959 in Jamshedpur, India. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ranchi University in 1980. Prem Dubey began karate training in 1975 and was one of the founding members of Judo & Karate-do in Eastern India. He competed in all India Karate-do Federation Championships for the first five years and in Bihar from 1977 to 1981. Due to his successes in karate, he was invited to Malaysia to train under the Late Master C.S. Chew where he received his Shodan certified by Karate Budokan International.
After leaving Malaysia, Kyoshi Dubey returned to India to teach karate India and in the first year of competition, his students ran a clean sweep in the Bihar State Karate Championship. Prem was awarded Nidan in 1984 and continued to show greatness as an instructor. All of his students have won several major tournaments. In 1992, Master Chew awarded Dubey a Yondan. Two years later (1994) the governor of Bihar, recognized his passion in the martial arts with a special award on behalf of his association. Because of his successes, he was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Karate-do Association of Jharkhand in 2001 and in 2003 appointed as the Technical Director and Senior Vice President of Jharkhand Wushu Association.
In 2005, Prem was awarded Godan (5th dan) by Hanshi Chin Mok Sung, World Chief of Shorin-Ryu Seibukan Karate Association of Malaysia and was appointed as the Chief of Shorin-Ryu Seibukan Karate Association of India. In 2006, he was awarded a Shichidan (7th dan) by Soke Hausel and a short time later elected President of All Style Karate Association of Jharkhand State., Prem Dubey, Kyoshi, India
ANDY FINLEY, 7th dan/Hanshi (Shorin-Ryu), 2nd dan (Okinawa Kenpo), Casper, Wyoming (Andy is now 8th dan). “I’ve been studying Okinawan and Japanese martial arts for the past 13 years. I originally studied Okinawa Kenpo with Shihan Dorian Fox for several years in Casper. When Shihan Fox’s activities took him away from active teaching, I inherited a number of his students. I wanted to continue to learn, so I asked Soke Hausel to train me. Soke Hausel has been an excellent teacher and has given to me more time and knowledge than I could have hoped for. The Kenpo style I studied is very similar to Seiyo Shorin-Ryu, so instead of learning a completely new martial art, I have been able to modify my Kenpo to Soke’s style of Shorin-Ryu. In addition, I have traveled to Okinawa twice to study with Sensei Tadashi Yamashita and I studied the Tabosa style of Kali-Escrima. Ever since I started training with Soke, my primary focus has and will continue to be Seiyo Shorin-Ryu.
Outside of martial arts, I make my living as a petroleum geologist. I have a partner in Casper and we employ 3 to 4 geologists in the office and 8 to 12 geologists in the field. Wyoming is one of the best places in the world for petroleum geology due to the magnificent mountains and basins within the state. I received my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1990 (I grew up in Joliet, Illinois) and my Master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in 1992. After my Master’s, I moved to Casper to work with Conoco. When Conoco left in 1994, they requested that I move to Houston or Midland, Texas. I could not bring myself to leave Wyoming and I am very happy I stayed. I became I consultant, and subsequently met Soke Hausel through both of our associations with the Wyoming Geological Association. Staying in Wyoming has been one of the best decisions I have made in almost every way.
When I am not working or studying/teaching martial arts, I spend time with my wife Sandra and three children, Elena, Aidan and Caemon. Elena and Aidan study Seiyo Shorin-Ryu but I have not yet started to teach Caemon.
Outside of these activities, I play a lot of highly competitive softball. I usually play between 12 and 17 tournaments a year and a total of approximately 80 games/year. We play all over the Northern Rocky Mountains including Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. We also play national tournaments in places like Texas, Nevada or Florida.
I teach Seiyo Shorin-Ryu on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 and the Wyoming Athletic Club in Casper and have 10 to 15 students. We usually take the summers off because everyone is so busy. If you are in town, please stop by the class. Soke, thank you for all of your time and guidance, and I hope to continue training with you for many years to come”.
KYLE J. GEWECKE; 4th dan/Shihan-Dai, Gillette, Wyoming. Favorite Quote: “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” - Bruce Lee
When people ask me about what I did in college, I like to tell them that I double majored at the University of Wyoming. One was in Physical Education with Coaching and Health endorsements, and the other was in Karate. But the truth is, if it wasn’t for all of the positive experiences with the karate program in Laramie and its members, I never would have finished my degree in education. Fighting the endless politics and bowing to every tedious demand put forth by professors and administrators at a large university is something in which someone like me has a hard time finding their place. The funny thing is, if it wasn’t for a political quirk that forced me to change my class schedule, I probably never would have taken karate for my college P.E. credit, which means I never would have met Soke nor joined Seiyo Shorin-Ryu in Laramie.
Before I started karate, I grew up in Gillette, Wyoming and was a state champion swimmer from about the age of 11 through high school and spent my summers playing baseball and working various odd jobs such as life guarding and construction. My true passion though, was, and still is, music. I got my first guitar when I was 9 and began playing the violin at 10. When I got to Jr. High, I started singing and performing in choirs, plays, and musicals. In high school, I decided that I would also start teaching myself how to play the piano. I still love to play and have been spending a lot of time recently working on recording and creating original music.
Now that I am out of college, when I am not teaching karate, I am working as a Building Fitness Coordinator at the Rozet Elementary School in Rozet, Wyoming. Mostly my job involves creating and organizing physical activities for elementary school kids. During the summer, I work for the behavior health department in dealing with at risk and emotionally disturbed youth. Hopefully, I will be able to get hired into a full time teaching position within the next year.
Karate has not only opened many doors for me, it has empowered me to seek out and open doors for myself. It has given me the opportunity to practice the skills of patients and self control, which are two very important tools for all teachers. I could go on and on about all of the things that karate has done for me. But of all of these things, the one I am most thankful for is that karate has introduced me to a family of some of the most fascinating, unique, and respectable individuals that one could ever hope to be a part of.
ANNE CECILIE HAUG, 1st dan, Oslo, Norway. Hello fellow karate friends all over the world. My name is Anne Cecilie, and I am a 31 year old Norwegian girl who had the pleasure of learning karate from Soke Dan for 4 years while studying at the University of Wyoming 1997-2001. I decided to study in Wyoming because of easy access to great skiing. As well as a lot of great skiing in fabulous snow around Colorado, Wyoming and Utah and a good education in architectural engineering, I also achieved a black belt (1st dan) in karate.
Practicing karate gave me positive energy to help focusing on the studies, kept my body in good shape and I made several good friends. Karate was one of the best experiences I brought home with me and one of the things I miss the most.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up my karate skills but I haven't given it up yet. After finishing school I moved back to Oslo, Norway, where I work for an architectural firm called Snøhetta designing a new Opera house in Oslo. I love my job, it is challenging and rewarding. After work I spend my days mountain biking, skiing, hiking and hanging out with my five weeks old daughter.
Dr. JOHN HILL, 2nd dan, Gilbert, Arizona. Like many martial artists, John joined a karate school immediately after watching the movie "Enter The Dragon" in 1979 while attend college at Virginia Tech. He wanted to be just like Bruce Lee! John joined a local school at Virginia Tech called "Blacksburg School of Martial Arts" which was a Korean, Moo Duk Kwan style, school. John took to martial arts very well and within two years had achieved his 1st Black Belt with the school, taught by Mr. Ed Hampton. The Blacksburg school attended NCAA College tournaments and private tournaments all through the south, and John competed very well.
However, graduation in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry meant that John had to return home to Delaware, his home state. John refused to give up martial arts just because of a geographic move, and soon joined a brand new Shorin Ryu school that opened up in Newport, Delaware. The school was the Chintokan School, taught by a recent immigrant from Japan, Sensei Masaharu Sakimukai and his family. John considers himself lucky to find a school such as this where you must learn the heart and soul of martial arts before you learn any martial arts moves. Scrubbing the dojo floor on your hands and knees was the very first technique that you learned. John was not allowed to carry his Black Belt over from the Moo Duk Kwan school into the Shorin Ryu system, so he began fresh as a white belt once again. John was student number 58 in this brand new branch school.
Since Sensei Sakimukai spoke very little English, all of the students had to learn Japanese which was excellent. Sensei Sakimukai is very well known in Shorin-Ryu karate and still teaches in the main school in Jacksonville Florida. More information on this school is found at the following website: http://www.chintokan/com/index.php?option=com frontpage&Itemid+1.
John trained under Sensei Sakimukai all through the '80s, and this was incredibly influential training. Sensei Sakimukei enveloped his students in every aspect of the martial arts, and the martial way of living. John learned his techniques and the Japanese language well, and soon gained both his 1st and 2nd degree Black Belt through the Chintokan School.
In the late '80s, John began to teach privately at his home to clients that felt more comfortable in a one on one training situation. This would not be the last time John would teach! In October of 1989 he was recruited by the TRW Company to come to Arizona to help them build an automotive airbag production facility. John accepted and was soon moving again. When he arrived in Arizona he immediately began to look for a new martial arts school to attend. But, to his dismay he found mostly what he would call "Americanized Schools" that were all about fancy uniforms, flashy but ineffective techniques, and hardly any real Budo training. So instead of joining them, John began to teach Shorin Ryu in a series of gyms through the 1990s. Soon the gyms began to find that more people were signing up for John's Shorin Ryu classes than for the gym itself. This lead John to become a member of another great Shorin Ryu instructor's school-Sensei Tadashi Yamashita's Shorin Ryu School and began to teach at World Gym in Gilbert, Arizona. Tadashi Yamashita is a world renouned martial artist, movie star, and movie fight stunt coordinator. When he visited John at World Gym, the classes were outstanding. Never had John been through such grueling classes as the one's taught by Sensei Tadashi Yamashita. Full contact at all times was the norm.
Unfortunately, World Gym in Gilbert went out of business in the early 2000s, and John was left again without a school to train in. So at age 42 John began to concentrate fully on competitive bodybuilding. John had competed in bodybuilding since 1996 but had not given it full effort because to him, martial arts was always number one. But after the gym karate school closed, John competed and did as well as 2nd place in the bodybuilding shows he attended in Arizona.
John never gave up on the martial arts during this time. He trained at home and taught his wife Sandy to keep his teaching skills up to par. Then, John met Soke Dan Hausel when Gold's Gym in Gilbert began Shorin Ryu classes there. Once again, John feels very lucky to have met Soke Hausel. John can feel that this is a true form of the martial art and that Soke Dan Hausel is an excellent instructor and one in which he can learn from and grow. With his 50th birthday coming up soon, John plans to continue as a student with Soke Hausel for as long as possible. "There is always room to grow, and learn new techniques" according to John. "Martial Arts have kept me young in body, mind and spirit, and I will continue to practice for the rest of my life, without fail". "To strive for the perfection of character is one of the most honorable tasks that you can ever take on in your lifetime".
Dr. WAYNE JENSEN, 3rd dan/Sensei, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. I look forward to reading your newsletter each month. My department (Construction Management) at UNL is doing extremely well, with almost three hundred undergraduates but only seven faculty members. We will probably be forced to institute some type of enrollment limits next year, as UNL is now aggressively pursuing research in lieu of classroom instruction. Earlier this month I was promoted to associate professor and received tenure, so I am now attempting to realign my life’s priorities after accomplishing those goals.
There is an Okinawan martial arts dojo here but I have issues with some of their instructors and their instruction methods. I continue to work out one to three times each week on a regular basis but mostly alone. I try to leave one or two days between successive karate training sessions for my joints and muscles to recover. On my days without martial arts, I run, do yoga exercises, or work on strength training.
For me, the keys to successful and enjoyable karate have become balance and persistence. I attempt to follow a program I can maintain and train using a variety of techniques. Training times, places and techniques vary with the seasons. During the warmer months, I attempt to complete a significant percentage of my karate workouts outside, although that sometimes entails working out near dawn or twilight. I strive to maintain a beginner’s mind as I continue to practice the techniques and philosophy of karate.
I fondly remember training in Laramie and still remain in contact with some of the people I trained with there (Ernst Arnold in particular). I sincerely hope that your continuing practice of the martial arts allows you to express your individuality and creativity in a way that is uniquely yours.
Dr. ERNST ARNOLD, Sensei/1st dan, Hagerstown, Maryland. I can remember my first day of training with Soke. I had been training in Kempo karate for nearly 2 years and was looking for something different. I heard about Soke’s class on the UW campus and decided to look into it. I introduced myself and observed a class. I was very impressed and invited to participate in the next class. I was full of nervousness and apprehension at the next class. After bowing in and stretching, the class began floor exercises. In one exercise, each person faced a partner. One person would step forward with an oi-zuki and the other person would step back with a block. This would proceed the length of the gymnasium and then back. As chance would have it, Soke was my partner. This event had a large impact on my philosophy towards training. As I punched at Soke, he would strike my wrists with great force. He explained that he liked to use full power in his training. Soke would strike and hit pressure points in my wrist and this caused a loss of feeling in my hands, which was a blessing in disguise. Although the pain was real, I was determined not to shy away and I survived. The lesson learned was an important one; train as you would fight. Lack of focus and intensity is a waste of time. Although battered and bruised I was eager for the next class.
CHRIS KING, 2nd dan/sensei, Laramie, Wyoming. Chris King started studying martial arts 21 years ago at the age of 6 while his mother completed college. Since that time Chris lived in many places and in most of them he continued his studies in different martial arts styles. He has ranks in Tae Kwon Do, Shimokawara, Hapkido, Okinawan Kenpo, Muay Thai, and Black Dragon Kempo. “I also boxed and wrestled in high school”. Chris attended some tournaments, however, “I don't really care to compete in kata or weapons. My preference has been full contact and I have won two tournaments. Besides my studies in Shorin-Ryu I am currently studying Muay Thai and Black Dragon Kempo and hope to receive black belts in both”.
Chris is currently a law student and after graduation, he hopes to practice as a prosecutor and at that time plans to open his own dojo. “While I really enjoy law my first love would have to be martial arts and I hope that one day I am in a position that I can devote myself full-time. Besides martial arts I used to ski and rock climb but my two knee injuries these past two years has limited that. My other career interest is international relations and ethnic conflicts. My most recent studies in this took me to Serbia and Croatia where I wrote a thesis on the religiosity of the Serbians in the Bosnian war and the effects that had on other religions. I was able to conduct interviews in both countries and it also provided good practice for my language skills from my time as a linguist in the army.
KATE LEHMAN, 2nd dan/sensei, Colorado Springs, CO. My martial arts training began about 3.5 years ago. At the time, I was a lonely, frightened, freshman of 18 tender years. I was not in the best place of my life; I was questioning my path in life and my decision to attend the University of Wyoming. I joined the UW Campus Shorin-Ryu Club mostly for something to do and for some exercise.
Instead, I found a support group, friends to share my time and structure in my new life as a college student. I hadn’t had any experience with martial arts, but quickly found that I had a certain aptitude for it. I spent more and more time training, and karate quickly became a very powerful force in my life. The dojo kun became personal codes of conduct with which I still struggle sometimes. For the past three and a half years I have been here, with Shorin-Ryu as my home away from home.
I will leave this place for a position in law enforcement, federal law enforcement with some luck. I’ll take with me two bachelor’s degrees; Criminal Justice and Anthropology. And while I also take with me a rank of 2nd dan that is nowhere near the extent of what Shorin-Ryu has given me.
Since I began my training, I have become more confident and personally stronger than I ever was before. The knowledge I gained will stay with me for the rest of my life, not to mention the physical and mental discipline instilled in me.
KYLE LINTON, 3rd dan/Sensei, Wellington, Colorado. My father was a high-school chemistry, physics and history teacher from Canada and my mother a homemaker and secretary from Wyoming. As I grew up we lived in a few places such as Canada, Rhode Island and Colorado but I spent my junior and senior high school days in Cheyenne. I loved sports and my favorite was football - that was going to be my sport. However, I never could get over the feeling that no matter how well I played the outcome was never based solely on my performance. So during the summer of my junior year in high school, I took up golf (more so to waste time before baseball games).
I attended the University of Wyoming on a golf scholarship and graduated in 1988 with a degree in nutrition and exercise physiology. I would highly recommend it as a way to go to college.
After school I spent 3 years as a golf pro in Florida and 6 years as a college golf coach at UW. The past 10 years have been great as I have been running my own business as a financial advisor working with individuals and businesses.
I am married to a wonderful woman, Marcia. We have been together since we were juniors in high school, yes, that’s 25 years! We love spending time together and traveling. We have been fortunate enough over the last few years to travel to South America, France, Cayman Islands, England, Wales, and Ireland. We are also looking forward to a trip to Italy in the fall.
My first introduction to martial arts came in college when I enrolled in a semester karate class taught by a local instructor. I enjoyed it but it was not yet my time, however, it did plant the seed. During my golf career in Florida I joined a tae kwon do club mainly to enhance, (ok, acquire) some flexibility. My master in Florida had recently moved from Korea and was a great influence on my development as a martial artist. The physical aspect of martial arts has always been enjoyable for me, however, he was very traditional and sparked my interest in martial arts philosophy.
We returned to Laramie and I tried to continue my TKD training and did for a couple of years, however, I missed the traditions I had grown to respect. A couple of years later and still missing something in my life, Marcia and I ran across a course called History in the Martial Arts taught by Soke Dan Hausel. I loved the class and after it was over Soke asked if I had any interest in training and invited me to a class. I have been with the club for approximately 7 years, and have enjoyed my time with the club and look forward to continuing to learn and train. I am grateful for all the wonderful people who choose to associate and share this wonderful experience.
RALEIGH LOVE, Sensei (3rd Dan), Buffalo, NY. When I joined Shorin-Ryu, I was on prescription Ritalin. My study habits weren’t the best, and I was having a serious falling out with what I thought was my path in life. It gave me an anchor of discipline, philosophy, and companionship. Indeed, my first semester at UW my attendance at Shorin-Ryu was better than my attendance at my actual tuition classes. Even had that not been the case, previous to that I had significant interest in martial disciplines and philosophies. At Shorin-Ryu I found something I hadn’t expected. I found a home.
Within that home, I found proclivity. I found a passion for learning that I had lost in my academics. I poured my heart and soul into the martial arts, and in return, martial arts poured heart and soul into my life outside the dojo. I found an academic major I enjoyed and advanced rapidly both in school and Shorin-Ryu. I did my best to confer my enthusiasm to others, and began helping other karateka in and outside of the dojo by the time I was a green belt.
Though I picked up something of a reputation in the Laramie dojo, I am still only human. Despite my devotion to Shorin-Ryu, I was given a permanent reminder of the importance of upholding the dojo-kun in everyday life.
While I worked on Easter Island in 2005-06, I practiced my kata down on the beach every few days. Over time, a crowd of children began watching me. Eventually they found the courage to come up and start asking questions.
One of them asked the question as to whether or not I could break a stick of driftwood. I could remember how to break a rock, I could remember how to break a board, but, I forgot that Karate is for self improvement, and not for showing off. I broke my hand that day, and fed my humility well. One lesson that I am still trying to hammer into myself is that no matter what pride or shame may tell you, you can still recover from mistakes.
Despite the broken hand, I still had the focus to earn my Sandan rank in September of ’06. Since that time, my life has taken a number of twists and turns, and I haven’t been as diligent with keeping up my training as I would have liked. But, as I said, it’s never too late to remember the lessons you’ve learned and adapt accordingly. The lessons I learned still help me avoid life’s pitfalls, so long as I listen to what those lessons taught me.
I hope to have the opportunity and focus to keep advancing, and one day perhaps open my own dojo to spread the wisdom, strength, compassion, and courage that I learned
LENNY MARTIN, 1st dan/Sensei, Laramie, Wyoming. I am a Laramie native, born but not raised here. This is my home and after 20+ years its likely I'll always have ties to the community. My interests are one of the main reasons I've stayed around for so long. I have horses and love to take them to the mountains and ride for a few days without crossing a fence, camping along the way. I'm an avid fisherman and hunter but have come to love stalking my quarry much more than bagging it. I'll tell ya it gets pretty darn exciting to be within a dozen yards of a Bull Elk in rut with just a sharp stick and a bow in hand. One of my goals is to hunt Alaskan Brown Bears with my bow...I may not even have to go that far away since I hear they plan to delist the Wyoming Grizz...not that would be a hunt!!! I love to fly airplanes and jump out of them if there is someone who can land it safely after I jump. I snow ski and in part that is one reason I decided it was time to get involved in karate.
When I first came to the Dojo I had been seeking an opportunity to make Karate an integral part of my physical fitness. I've seen all the hyped up DVD kick box your way to a sexy body stuff, and none of that works for me. Many other Dojo's litter their windows and shelves with trophies proclaiming superior performance in this competition or that tournament. To me Karate isn't about dominating an opponent, it’s all about mastery of self. Karate is to be used only when all else has failed to avoid a conflict. I view martial arts from a religious prospective. It involves the integration of mind, body and spirit into a flow of energy that can be called upon at any time for outer strength from within. The source of inner strength is infinite, it is the same source of strength or power that gives life to everything on the earth and my Ki is a river that flows from that source. I also use daily meditation, visualizing those things that cannot be seen. I know I am making progress in my pursuit of self mastery when after a good workout, I feel the flow of chi deep within, coursing through every part of my body. Often this feeling lasts for many hours.
I have been involved with the University of Wyoming Dojo for a little over two years now and have enjoyed the fellowship with many people from many countries who find themselves in Laramie and share my love for and interests in martial arts. I'm anxious to get out and visit other Dojo's as I travel to other states & countries. One of my goals is to train for a month or so in Okinawa or Japan and learn a few other styles while I'm at it.
...I think I mentioned once that when I started down this path of martial arts it wasn't to "be a black belt." I started down this path to make martial arts an major part of my life and "health." I look at my progress toward the black belt as being similar to climbing a mountain, if there were no other plateaus to reach, my progress would be over. Honestly I have no idea what is involved in reaching the peak of my mountain but I am here to do just that and running a Dojo would be an honor. I could not have been more fortunate than to have found a home in your DoJo and I am very grateful for your guidance, instruction and this opportunity to fulfill one of the things I have wanted to do since I was old enough to knock over a vase on my moms end table. ....we really miss your style of teaching which I would like to model my teaching style after.
GLENN POLK, 4th dan/Shihan Dai, Cheyenne, Wyoming
To jump right into this, I will qualify by saying I will only mention things that had an impact on my life as there is not enough memory in this computer to cover it all. So, here are some highlights.
My father was a career military man. We moved to Italy when I was eight years old. This was directly after WW II. We lived in Cortina in the Alps for about a year then moved to Trieste. During this time I was associated with kids from other cultures and became very comfortable and actually enjoyed interfacing with people from other countries.
Not long after moving back to the US, the Korean War broke out and it was off to Japan for us. We lived in Kure for about 6 months then moved to Beppu, Kyushu, where we stayed for the remainder of my father's tour. It was a wonderful experience. We were there for about 2.5 years. We came back to the States in time for me to start high school, and I was bored to death. The Dependent schools I had been attending my entire school career were far advanced over the public schools.
After Graduating from High School, I had a number of jobs, and ended up working on a fishing boat off the coast of Texas. I finally went into the Army. I was very comfortable there since the Army had virtually reared me. My various qualifications in service included aviation electronics, electronic warfare, small arms expert, communications (yes, I still know Morse code), parachutist. I served in Korea, Dominican Republic, and southeastern Asia, and naturally the U. S.
When I got out of service I applied for a position with Xerox Corp and was hired. I spent 36 years with them. During that time, I ran the gauntlet of positions, to include anything technical, i.e.: instructor, product specialist, management. I attended college at University of South Carolina at night while raising a family and working full time for Xerox. I received a B.A. in business and continued on studying Psychology until I was transferred to Texas. At some point, about the latter part of 1977, I acquired a private pilot’s license.
Time and money prevented me from pursuing flying after moving to College Station, Texas. I have Three Children, David, Deborah & Jon, and three Grandchildren, Zachery, Alicia & Austin, and I retired from Xerox in September 2002.
I had tried to get involved in various martial arts over many years, but nothing held my interest and in some cases actually tended to douse further interest. Donette Gillespie (Sandan) with whom I worked with in Laramie, suggested I join her to see how I would like Shorin -Ryu Karate. The rest is, as they say, history. It turned out to be exactly what I had been looking for. I have been involved in Shorin-Ryu and later Seiyo Shorin-Ryu for about eight years. I wish I had been introduced earlier.
BRETT PHILBRICK, 2nd dan, Laramie, Wyoming. I have been interested in martial arts since I was a very little kid watching martial arts movies. When I was in third grade my parents enrolled my in a Taekwondo class. I stayed with Taekwondo for a few years until another martial art caught my eye. I saw some Steven Seagal movies where he was throwing his opponents around with ease. That made me decide to take Aikido. I enjoyed the art of Aikido very much, and I was very disappointed when my instructor ended up moving. After that I took a break from martial arts training for quite a while. I moved to Fort Collins after I graduated high school and while I was there, I took a mixed martial art class that focused mainly on Combat Hapkido. After two years I decided to move to Laramie (where school was much cheaper!), and I started to look for a martial arts school to join. This is when I found the Seiyo No Shorin Ryu Karate Club. I was amazed at the power and focus that Soke Hausel showed the students in his techniques. This power and focus is what drew me into the club. The club has provided me with so much over the years. I have learned great self defense techniques, discipline, self-control, and respect for all things. I also made some wonderful friendships in the club....
JUSTIN ROADIFER, 1st dan/Sensei, Cheyenne, Wyoming. I live in Evanston WY with my wife of nearly five years, Karla. We have a son named Jaden who is 18 months old and are expecting our second child, a daughter, in late April. I really value being a good husband and a good father so I make sure I give lots of time to my family.
I earned a BA in psychology from Chadron State College and a MS in Counselor Education from the University of Wyoming, which is where I met Kevin Vance in some classes, who is an awesome karate-ka! Right now, I am lucky enough to get paid being the 9th grade counselor at Evanston High School. It is a really fun job working with the 9th grade students as they get used to high school life and learn about becoming an adult. But it does have its challenging moments of students choosing poor behaviors and not really wanting to change their behaviors, plus the tasks that prevent me working with students.
I enjoy video games, trying to watch a movie or having a conversation uninterrupted with my wife (parents will understand this undertaking), weight lifting, watching quality shows or movies that have martial arts in it, spending time with my friends at work and learning more about different topics that interest me.
I would have to say my martial arts training began with junior high wrestling. I wrestled for two years in junior high and four years in high school. I really enjoyed all the different techniques that could be used to take an attacker to the ground and subdue them with minimal effort. Near the end of my senior year, I tried Tae Kwon Do. I enjoyed practicing the variety of kicks and learning kata was very fulfilling but I really did not like the free sparring because all I did was kick at my uke and vice versa.
In college, I did some “sword fighting” with a group of friends who were in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). In short, some members of the SCA like to re-create medieval sword combat. I loved the combat and enjoyed improving myself against my friends who had been fighting for 4+ years. Before I left for Laramie to earn my Masters, one of my SCA friends urged me to find some formalized martial art to learn because he thought I could really do well in it. After being in Laramie for four months, I felt lonely and wanted to do something other than school work. I remembered what my friend said and that’s when I found a flyer for the Shorin-Ryu karate club and decided to attend. After the first practice, I was hooked. I was really impressed with the great technique and incredible focus of Dan. I thought to myself that this was different than anything else I had seen. The skill of Dan and the black belts were head and shoulders above other black belts I had seen do demos. Plus the environment was friendly and welcoming. People were there to learn and help each other become better karate-ka.
As for what karate has given me, it would be many things. The first thing would be a great sense of accomplishment and a strong goal to earn my black belt and then sharing this art with other people. I also really like activities that I can work to improve upon and karate fits this quite naturally for me. Karate also gives me a great feeling of power and confidence, especially after I finish a practice! I practice alone every day, except when I work on bunkai with my friend, Bret. Right now, I have a particular affinity for the dojo kun Doryoku no seishin o yashinau koto: Cultivate a spirit of effort and perseverance. Plus, it is great exercise and something that I am passionate about in my life.
JESSICA RICKS, 2nd dan/Sensei, Stockton, California.
I was born in Stockton, California (near San Francisco) in 1980 and grew up all over Los Angeles. I am the quintessential Californian in that I have lived at the beach (Manhattan Beach); my favorite smell is sunscreen, I surf, I scuba dive, and I don’t even know what shoes are. I also love camping… at the beach (and anywhere else).
I lettered in track and cross-country at Upland High School (go Scots!) and graduated in 1999. After high school, I did a brief stint at Pasadena City College before going crazy and moving to Wyoming to finish my degree in history. I am currently finishing a second degree in sociology and applying to grad school for history. What do I do in history? Everything.
My big interest has always been aircraft (I’m also a licensed pilot) and military history, but I mostly study… everything. I do hope someday I can do an in-depth study of the history of the martial arts.
Martial arts have always been an interest of mine and I never really had the opportunity to study long-term, so the club has been a huge privilege to me. I think I’ve found my life-long addiction. Maybe someday I’ll know enough to teach, but I always intend to be a student.
INDISHE SENANAYAKE, 4th dan/Shihan-Dai, Sri Lanka. Chief Instructor, Sri Lanka Dojo. My Nidan is dated July 2002. That was sent to me with the representation certificate. So, I've been with you since July 2002, keeping in regular contact. It's about 5 years now. And I received Sandan from you on March 2004. So, we have kept a good relationship in Karate-do. It's nice to have a good teacher like you and to have a nice friend like you and to know a warm hearted person like you. I pormise to keep contact with you in the future also.
SANDRA SINICKI, 1st kyu & BRIAN SINICKI, 1st dan, Nâves-Parmelan, France. Sandra is a native of the Haute Savoie region of France (not too far from Geneva, Switzerland), and Brian is from Riverton, Wyoming. They met as exchange students at the University of Wales, Swansea in 1997 and have been married for almost 8 years. After living in Laramie for six years Sandra and Brian moved back to France and are now situated in a small village in the French Alps very close to Sandra's home town.
Sandra currently works for the accounting firm DeLoitte and Touche in Geneva, Switzerland and Brian is an independent computer consultant and software developer (Brian was one of the original webmasters who helped develop our website). The Sinicki’s are expecting their first baby in the middle of July.
“The martial arts have played a very significant role in our lives and personal development since we started training with the UW Karate Club. I began in 1995 when I was a sophomore at the University of Wyoming, and Sandra started several years later after moving to Laramie to be with me while I finished school. For now, the distractions of moving overseas, finding jobs and getting settled into life in a new country have left us with little or no time to train. However, with a little one on the way who will need training, there is no doubt we will be back at it soon.
Outside of the martial arts, we are both very active in mountain sports and love skiing, rock climbing and alpinism, and Sandra is also a very dedicated runner. Sandra finished her second marathon last summer in Stockholm, and the winter before we found ourselves climbing to altitudes over 22,000 feet on Aconcagua in Argentina.
We are also sending all of our friends at the UW dojo a big round of hellos and lots of congratulations at all of your accomplishments since we have left. We miss you guys!”
Dr. ERNST ARNOLD, Sensei/Shodan, Hagerstown, MD. Back in the later 90s, I remember watching Soke (and please correct me if I am mistaken) do heavy partial repetition squats with around 800 lbs on the bar in the University of Wyoming gym (note from Soke – this was correct, and I was at a body weight of 180 lbs). After a couple of years, I remember Soke lamenting that he had to back off to around 600 lbs because his back was getting older. I thought to myself: I wish I could squat 600 lbs let alone ‘back off to’ 600 lbs! Perhaps my numbers are off but nevertheless the impression it made upon me was inspiring.
Soke has always preached power in your technique such that each strike has knock-down power. With that in mind, a strong chest should equal powerful strikes because the major muscle group that controls thrusting the arms in front of your body are the pectoral muscles. We all know the benefits of any of the myriad number of variations of doing pushups and dips as well as the standard gymnasium incline, flat and decline bench presses. However, if you wish to break through a plateau and gain even more strength then here are two exercises that can help you if you have access to a gym.
The first exercise is heavy partial repetitions using a squat cage. Pull a bench into the cage and lie down and push an imaginary bar up for a full rep and note where ½ the distance of that repetition is on the cage. Now lower the safety bars until they are at the ½ rep distance. For example, my full range of motion is about 20 inches and my half rep distance is about 10 inches. Thus, when the bar is resting on the safety bars it will be half the distance to a full rep. Now add your normal flat bench workout weight. It should be easier to lift because you are only using this upper range of motion. Consequently, you can add more weight and handle it safely. The extra weight provides extra stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments that you ordinarily would not have. This is essentially the same thing Soke was doing with heavy squats.
The second exercise is a flat bench 1 arm negative using the Smith machine which is a cage with a sliding bar and safety catches. The exercise is to push the weight up with both arms but let it down slowly with only one. Then up with both arms and down with the other arm. Continue for 3 or 4 repetitions on each arm. This exercise is very difficult to do with good form. So, start off first with a light weight first and progress upward. Be sure to rest for several days before doing any further chest exercises and allow yourself to recover.
In fact, if you like to challenge yourself and have a goal of benching X lbs, you could start with the bar already at a ¾ rep height (range of motion is about 5 inches) with that X weight and as you get stronger lower the bar to ½ rep height and ¼ rep height and finally it will be a full rep. Using these techniques, I increased my flat bench to the 415-425 range, which isn’t bad for a 46 yr old, and I’m now considering entering a Maryland State Power lifting competition.
These techniques are safe, do not require a spotter and work. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer as best as I can.
KIM SCHROEDER, 4th dan/Shihan-Dai, Utah Shorin-Kai Chief Instructor, Murray, Utah. My first introduction to martial arts began when I was attending the University of Utah. I had been a high school wrestler and had originally decided to go to Utah to be part of their NCAA wrestling program. In my freshman year, I began studying Wado-Ryu karate under Master Toshio Osaka. I studied Wado-Ryu for the next several years, with occasional interruptions for time that I spent living in England while serving as a missionary for my church.
After my return from England, I spent the next few years working hard on Wado-Ryu. I am grateful for the sound basics that I learned under Sensei Osaka. I learned the value of good stances, strong technique and working to perfect each Kata.
Following my graduation from Utah with a degree in Computer Science, and with obligations of family and job travel, I was not able to continue with my martial arts studies in a formal setting. It would be several years before I could free up the time needed to seriously pursue Karate.
When my family moved to our current location in Utah, I decided to return to the practice of martial arts in a proper dojo. After looking into several dojos, I liked what I saw in Utah Shorin-Kai and decided to resume my studies there. I greatly enjoyed the sound fundamentals taught by Sensei's Watson and Stoneking, and found that it complemented the foundation that I already had in Wado Ryu. Since that time I have been affiliated with Utah Shorin-Kai for the past 12 years.
I have learned a lot about Karate, and about myself through my studies in martial arts. Additionally, through my studies I have been able to work on other related traits such as discipline, humility and self-mastery.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Karate, is that I've been able to share it with others, and I'm pleased that two of my sons, Jeff and Matthew are both studying in our dojo. It gives me great satisfaction to see their progress.
The study of martial arts is a great way for people of all ages to strengthen mind, body and spirit.
TODD W. STONEKING, 6th dan/Renshi, Senior Chief Instructor-Utah Shorin-Kai, Murray, Utah. Martial Arts Objectives. To train, train, train as long as I am physically and mentally capable of doing so and in doing so, continue to gain knowledge of the martial arts (Okinawan Karate & Kobudo along with other arts), and to assist in the training of others, to pass on this knowledge.
Lineage. Robert Watson, Kyoju/Kyoshi - 7th dan, Director oth the Utah Shorin-Kai; Jesse Warburton, 3rd dan, Okinawa Kenpo Karate (student of Akira Kina); Frank and Ernie Baca, 2nd dans, Okinawan Kenpo Karate.
Education. University of Utah, Dixie Junior College (my course studies were in theatre graduating from Dixie in 1989 - studying at teh University of Utah for 2 years - still endeavoring to return and complete the degree - currently employed by the University of Utah as facility maintenance supervisor.
TOVE LINN TJERSLAND, 1st dan, Oslo, Norway. Life is treating me nice. I am getting married June next year and I am 4 months pregnant with my first child. I work as an architect in a company called L2 architects and live in Oslo. I have not been practicing karate since I got back to Norway, but I am thinking of starting again after birth. I really miss it.
I work as an architect at a company called L2 Architects, which is a small architectural firm with about 15 employees. We work mostly on projects such as schools, recreational centers, community and cultural centers and libraries, all over Norway.
Me and my boyfriend Charles also have a tiny company together called Salto Formale in which we do smaller interior and architectural favors mostly for family and friends. We are getting married June next year in Lucca, Italy and expect our first child in the beginning of November. So, we keep ourselves pretty busy.
When we are not working we try to travel, ski and snowboard or sail as much as possible.
I started studying Architectural Engineering at the University of Wyoming spring 98. I got to know another Norwegian student called AC (Anne Cecilie) and we soon decided to try out the martial arts program at the university. I had never tried karate or any form of martial arts before I came to Laramie but had always liked doing sports like skiing, mountain biking and soccer, but karate was something totally different, so I was very excited the first day of class. It didn’t take long before both me and AC found karate very interesting and fun. Not only was it good exercise, but we met allot of nice people too.
Karate meant allot to me while I was a student, because it gave me a break from life as a student to think of something totally different. It gave me more energy both physically and mentally which was a good benefit for further studies.
What I liked most about karate was the variation of practicing katas, techniques, weapons, strength, kicks, throws, even Japanese and meditation. It never got boring because it was so much to learn. You could always be better, always learn another kata, and always practice your technique. And of course, last but not least, feeling the safety of knowing self defense, especially when you are a girl crossing campus late evenings.
I have not practiced karate since I lived in the US, but me and AC have been talking to start over again many times. (Me and AC are still keeping in touch, actually we are almost neighbors in Oslo.) Even though I have forgotten some of what I learned in class in Laramie, I believe that the techniques will come back quickly as soon as I start practicing.
When I look back at the 4 years that I trained karate at the Laramie Dojo, I remember allot of fun and enjoyment. The hours I spent in and outside the Dojo practicing and socializing with the members, and of course Soke Dan Housel, enriched the time I spent as student at the University of Wyoming! It would not be the same without it.
KEVIN VANCE, 5th dan/Shihan, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kevin Vance first became involved with martial arts at the age of 17 after he came across a small Taekwondo club while working for the school district in Rawlins, Wyoming. “The strange sound of people yelling in unison caught my interest and started me on a road that led through many different challenges and accomplishments”.
Kevin attended the University of Wyoming, earning a degree in Psychology, and a Masters Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with emphasis in Child and Family Studies. “I enjoy learning about and working with families who tend to struggle with the daily grind of family life”. He currently works as a Marriage and Family Therapist for the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming and also received the opportunity to teach at the Laramie County Community College. “ Ultimately, I want to teach full time at the University level”.
Kevin enjoys camping, hiking, working with computers, reading, and many other activities. Of my most rewarding activities, I enjoy working with the Boy Scouts of America as an assistant scoutmaster.
JOBI GEORGE, Hachikyu, Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. I joined the karate class last Spring, the primary reason being to learn some form of self defense. I found Soke's (Dan's) classes very professional and he always emphasized using karate to help develop better focus and also using karate to become better people and developing respect for others. We always practiced karate not as a sport, but always keeping in mind that a person is attacking us; so we really needed to put focus in delivering powerful punches or kicks. And that is something that I have observed while he is teaching; throughout the class, every move of his has the same 'knockout' effort in it. We also spends considerable time understanding and practicing the 'bunkai' (application) of the 'katas' ( combination of techniques of strikes, blocks, kicks etc).
Soke is really patient and overall, a nice person to interact with. I really enjoyed these classes and somehow it helped to boost my confidence.
It is a loss to us and to ASU, for someone of his experience. It is rare that we can find any other instructor here who is as qualified as he is. He really brings with him his experience and knowledge of a number of martial arts.
JIA NI 倪佳, Dept of Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe. September 29, 2008. I learned a series of Bunkai of karate which are from some katas. I found them very useful, and speak as a guy who has been practicing karate for 4 years, I felt the Bunkai really led me to a higher understanding level of kata. It's great. Well, first thing is of course karate skill. but the most important thing for me is to get contact and make friends with Americans.
HOUSSAM ABBAS, Electrical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona. Besides the obvious (Karate techniques), we learned a good deal of focus and self-discipline, both important in and outside of academia. We also witnessed how passionate Soke could be about his class, and all the preparation that went into it. The conviviality, exhumed by both instructor and students. The value of what we were learning, knowing it came from someone who is second to none in his discipline (his long record testifies to that). The feeling that you were working out, and at the same time bettering yourself as a person. I think his classes (at ASU) had a great value to students.
HEATHER FROM, UCHI DESHI, Ikkyu, Sidney, Nebraska. What a fun newsletter to read! I loved reading all your past stories in it. It is true that most of us don't know what an honor it is to train directly under a grandmaster - you've spoiled us terribly. It kind of reminds me of a time a dorm acquaintance of mine heard Kate, Ral, and I chatting about karate my freshman year, and the acquaintance asked if you could walk on water. I don't remember if it was Kate or Ral who responded that we didn't know if you had tried, but you had the focus to. Congratulations on all your honors!
RYAN & AMANDA NEMEC, Sankyu, Mesa, Arizona. Ryan and Amanda Nemec met almost 14 years ago when attending Northern Arizona University. Amanda saw Ryan the very first day she moved into her new apartment, and don’t let Ryan convince you that he approached her first, because it’s not true! At that time, Ryan was playing saxophone professionally to pay his way through school, and what girl can resist a musician? They have been married for 11 years and have loved every minute of it.
The Nemecs have been attending the Seiyo Shorin Ryu Hombu since fall of 2012 and really enjoy their training. When they’re not in the dojo, Amanda is an engineer working on the Apache helicopter at Boeing.
Ryan was a professional firefighter and paramedic for 8 years and currently is working towards becoming a certified home inspector. Amanda and Ryan also own Nemec Photography, which keeps them really busy when they’re not in the dojo. Amanda is the photographer and Ryan is the equipment mule. So, just like at home, she bosses him around at ‘work’ too.
Before joining the dojo, Ryan studied Ed Parker’s Kenpo in a college club for a year, and then studied Gosoku Ryu Shotokan for 2 years, also during college. Amanda’s previous experience was from studying Budokan Karate at a work club for about a year. Neither of the Nemecs had trained for several years before finding the Seiyo Hombu.
Besides work and spending time in the dojo, Ryan and Amanda are usually traveling somewhere fun. Their friends like to joke about playing the game “Where in the World are the Nemecs”. They also love camping, cooking, music, hiking and kayaking. They have two furry four-legged kids named Mika and Hachi, who also enjoy hiking and camping! When Ryan is playing his didgeridoo or lost on a mountain bike trail, Amanda can almost always be found with her head in a book. Lately, camping trips also include kata training in the forest.
Ryan had been talking for years about getting into a practice again. He found the dojo and was going solo for about a month before Amanda decided she just didn’t feel like being left at home alone anymore. Even if she did get lots of solo time for reading. Turns out… they really love working together in the dojo! Most nights they can be found laughing so hard they can’t breathe over something silly that happened in the dojo, but don’t be fooled... they’re always working hard. They still do work with all the other students in class, and they love all their fellow classmates. But, when it comes down to it, there’s just nothing more fun than throwing your spouse around on the tatami!
RYAN HARDEN, Sensei/2nd dan, Chandler, Arizona. In mid-2010 as I was searching for a dojo to begin my martial arts training, I was drawn towards the Hombu as I could see that Soke Hausel had a passion for true martial arts. As I began training in the hombu, it was evident that Soke’s attitude towards karate (see the dojo kun) had permeated the minds of all the deshi. It is this attitude of using your strength for self-defense and benevolence toward your fellow man that has kept me coming back to the dojo year after year. I am grateful for everything that I have learned at the dojo and do not want to stop learning when I get the level of “advanced beginner.”
The seed of kobudo was planted early in my life, thanks to one of the greatest shows of the 80’s: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was during these Saturday morning tutorials that I first learned the value of the katana, bo, nunchaku, and sai. I also learned not to trust men who wore capes and had blades all over them, and anyone dressed in purple and black with a big foot stamped on their forehead.
I am recently married and have taught some karate to my wife… which I regret because she is always so quick to try these moves on me, even though I have not attacked her. Nothing makes her happier than to help me with body hardening (strikes to the gut and attempted choking). Eventually we will have children to whom we will teach many of life’s lessons. In these lessons, I will be sure to teach my children not only the physical aspects of karate but also - and equally as important - the values of traditional karate.
ADAM BIALEK, NiKyu, Chandler, Arizona (Adam is now 1st dan). It was during seventh grade that I began training in martial arts in northeastern Pennsylvania. Though there were five dojos in the system, very little qualified this as what you would call traditional martial arts. Our politically incorrect sensei was an open chain smoker who wasn’t afraid to use off color language while teaching mostly kids. What he lacked as a role model, he made up for in toughness while introducing students to kata, self-defense, and the occasional board breaking. I stayed there for around two years before the distractions of ninth grade led me to withdraw.
Nearly twenty years later, I finally decided to return to Karate and found a Shorin Ryu school. This dojo was going through a transitional period with declining membership and increasing emphasis on free sparring. Despite a less than ideal learning environment, I felt a strong desire to continue on the road ahead.
Feeling the need to test our sense of adventure, my wife Kati and I drove cross country less than a year after our wedding. We relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where I discovered Doshinkan. This system was a much better fit and within the dojo I found a real melting pot of students and instructors, quite a contrast from the small town dojo I had trained at. True to our gypsy spirit, we relocated to Phoenix not quite three years later. A new chapter began as I decided to pursue Kung Fu. Having become increasingly restless after two years of instruction, I realized what was really missing: a return to Karate. While expanding my search far outside the daily commute, I at last discovered the Arizona School of Traditional Karate. The long drive would soon prove to be worth it as I finally found a dojo with like-minded individuals who sincerely want each other to succeed.
Training at the Arizona Hombu has taught me so many new things, not the least of which is Kobudo. This has been one of my personal favorite areas since I never had the opportunity before to learn traditional weapons. Whether in weekly group classes or practicing at home solo, Karate provides me the perfect stress release that nothing else delivers. My personal goal is to make a lifetime commitment to training, no matter where our nomadic life ultimately takes us. Wherever that may be, the ability to protect oneself and their loved ones will always be necessary.