|Posted by Dan Hausel, Soke on October 26, 2017 at 3:50 PM|
Only the third time in history of Seiyo Kai Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo, three members of the same family received black belt ranks in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo. This is extremely rare in any martial art because of the amount of time (measured in years) and dedication necessary to reach the level of black belt in traditional Okinawan martial arts schools. Anyone would feel safe walking through a park in Phoenix with these families.
The three family members were awarded 1st degree black belt (shodan) on October 3rd, 2017, by Grandmaster Soke Hausel (12th dan) at a ceremony at the Arizona Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona. The Denvirs from Mesa, Arizona include father, wife & daughter (John, Suzette & Rihanna). Although US citizens, John was born in Ireland and his wife Suzette was born in Barbados. The three kneel in a 2016 photo (below). Congratulations to this very dedicated family!
The only other time this happened is when the Durfees, another very dedicated family (who still trains at the Arizona Hombu Dojo), had three family members promoted to black belt in August and October of last year (2016). In addition to the family black belts (Rick, Janel, and Tyler), three other family members trained at the Arizona Hombu dojo. One of their daughters (Harmony) is a 1st kyu brown belt & likely will test for black belt in the near future, and a fifth family member reached the rank of yellow belt. The family members have been training for some years and are extremely dedicated and are present at the Hombu Dojo nearly every week. We are so very proud of them. Four of the family members are in the 2015 photo below.
But black belt families at the Arizona Hombu is a common phenomenon. Two grandparents were featured on Phoenix Fox 10 news some years ago after being promoted to 1st degree black belt. Both were later promoted to 2nd and then to 3rd degree (sandan) black belt and provided sensei certification (teacher's liscence). The two, Sensei Paula and O'Sensei Bill Borea have been active members of the Arizona Hombu dojo since 2006. Both had previously studied in Japan. Sensei Bill and Sensei Paula stand in the back at the far right of the above photo. Unfortunately, we all lost a great sensei and a wonderful friend when O'Sensei Bill passed away in 2016 after battling cancer - (we pray he is now with God).
And family training does not end there. According to Grandmaster Hausel, some couples were awarded black belts when he was Professor of Budo (martial arts) at the University of Wyoming in Laramie over 3 decades, prior to moving to Mesa, Arizona. After awhile, we began to joke about running a karate dating class because of the family activities. We had at least two couples receive black belt promotions together, as well as other couples with lower rank color belts date for some time prior to getting married. A slogan we've thought about using is "The Family that does Karate together, Stays together".
And, Grandmaster Hausel, who is a world renown martial artist, instructor and geologist, has been a martial artist nearly his entire life. He began training in 1964, and in 1999 was awarded grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Karate. Parts of his family also took up martial arts including his son and daughter. And a few years ago, two of his grandsons were awarded black belt ranks after training for many years. So, there are four black belt members in his family.