Monday, April 5, 2010

Traditional Seiyo Kai Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo

Black Belt Magazine (1999) writes, "W. Dan Hausel, Professor of Martial Arts at the University of Wyoming, was appointed Soke Shodai (grandmaster)/kudan (9th degree black belt) of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate/Kobudo by the Zen Kokusai Soke Budo/Bugei Renmei commission at the Juko Kai International headquarters in North Carolina on September 26th, 1999. Soke Hausel was also recently honored in 1998 by induction into two hall of fames, honored as instructor of the year by two international associations, and highlighted in several Marquis, American Biographical Institute, and International Biographical Center Who's Who documents for accomplishments in martial arts, geological sciences, public speaking, writing and art."

It has been more than a decade since Black Belt wrote that statement about Soke Hausel and Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate. In 2007, Soke Hausel retired from the University and opened a Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona and his accomplishments are so numerous, one needs to roll out a scroll to mention everything. But suffice to say that this polymath has accomplished more in one lifetime than a thousand people. A member of fifteen Halls of Fame, Who’s Who in the World, a noteworthy scientist, writer, extraordinary teacher and more. Promoted to judan (10th dan) (2004) and appointed to soke commissions, developed a martial art that focuses on development of one-punch knockouts by teaching students proper hip rotation and emphasizing that every and ALL techniques are to be practiced with full intensity and power. As stated by Soke “you defend yourself as you practice” meaning that if you practice with weak strikes and kicks, you will naturally defend with weak strikes and kicks. Soke Hausel has also taught classes in Gilbert, Chandler, and Tempe.

In Shorin-Ryu Karate (Seiyo Kai), kata are very important. Along with kata, the applications of every movement in every kata is taught and used in self-defense applications known as bunkai. Several of the traditional kata have been modified for this style of Shorin-Ryu karate so that all movements in kata now have powerful applications. In addition, Soke Hausel developed new kata to include his favorite combative techniques. This system of Shorin-Ryu includes Kobudo, jujutsu, body hardening, and most important – the practice of respect for others.

The practitioners of this Shorin-Ryu system include many PhD’s, ministers, laypersons, professional engineers, scientists, faculty, law enforcement agents and a high percentage of female martial artists and the art has been taught at Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, University of Utah and the University of Wyoming.

So what makes Seiyo Shorin-Ryu different from other forms of karate?  First it is very traditional. Deshi (students) must learn about the history & philosophy of martial arts & there is no support of competition, sport or tournaments as these are considered detrimental to the art. The art is for those who are interested in learning a way of life.

Some other notable differences and characteristics of this art includes: (1) it has several new kata designed to help inexperienced martial artists develop power, punching speed, focus and kicking power; (2) It focuses on the philosophy of hitouki hitotsuki hitogeri (one block, one punch, one kick). In other words, the deshi of this system are trained to develop maximum focus to enable them to knock down an opponent with one strike or one kick following a devastating block; (3) Only advanced students are taught tein hsueh (vital point strikes) from the Soke of this system; (4) Students are urged to learn kokekitae, (body hardening) but this is not required as it can be intense for some; (5) Kata are considered to be the most important part of karate. Everything one needs is in kata, thus every single movement in all kata are taught as bunkai in self-defense applications. During this bunkai training, all students are taught to block and strike with full focus; and (6) Anyone who trains in this art must be ethical, honest & moral.

After training in this art for more than a decade with prior training in other forms of Shorin-Ryu, Shotokan, Kempo, Wado-Ryu, KyokushinKai, and Goju, I found this Shorin-Ryu to be superior to all other arts and very suitable for me. I particularly appreciate philosophy of the arts and find Soke Hausel to be a real life Karate Kid Mr. Miyagi.