|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), dedication and expertise that is necessary to reach the level of black belt in traditional Okinawan martial arts. Anyone would feel safe walking through a park in Phoenix with these families nearby.
The three family members were awarded 1st degree black belt (shodan) on October 3rd, 2017, by (Grandmaster) Soke Hausel at a ceremony at the Arizona Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona. The Denvirs from Mesa include father, wife & daughter (John, Suzette & Rihanna). John was born in Ireland and his wife Suzette in Barbados. The three kneel in a 2016 photo (below). Congratulations to this very dedicated family!
The only other time this has happened occurred when the Durfee family from Mesa, another very dedicated family that 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, and one of their daughters (Harmony), was recently promoted to 1st dan black belt - making this a family affair. The family members have been training for some years. The four black belts of the Durfee family are in the 2015 photo below.
Families of black belts at the Arizona Hombu is not uncommon. 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 liscences). 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 Soke 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 "A Family that does Karate together, Stays together".
Grandmaster Hausel, a world renown martial artist, instructor and geologist, has been a martial artist his entire life. He began training in 1964, and in 1999 was awarded grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Karate, and both his son and daughter, and two of his grandsons all have black belts in Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo! According to Soke Hausel, "karate is a family tradition" in both Okinawa and the US.