Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mesa Martial Arts Schools

Just before we joined classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate on Baseline at the border of Mesa and Gilbert, my friend and I called to see if it would be OK to observe a class. Many Okinawan martial arts schools have a policy that does not allow visitors to watch training because of secrets taught to students. We were cheerfully invited to stop by Tuesday evening to watch a session and there were no salesmen trying to pressure us to join.

Driving east on baseline from Country Club, we spotted a sign 'Karate' over a doorway at the northeastern corner of Baseline and MacDonald. It was an unassuming sign, so we expected only the typical mall-type martial arts school, but we were surprised and impressed when walking into the karate school. We were met in the foyer by Sensei Borea. He looked like my grandfather and was extremely friendly and talkative. Mr. Borea told us that he had spent several years in Japan with his Japanese-American wife in the air force as a pilot and indicated the martial arts taught in this karate school on border of Mesa and Gilbert was the real thing. Comparable to anything in Japan. So we were excited to learn more.

Wednesday evening samurai arts class with Sensei Kathy
Sensei Borea took us into the training center after passing through a hall with diplomas and awards for Grandmaster Hausel, a former University of Wyoming professor of martial arts and internationally renown geologist. Grandmaster Hausel was also the world head of their martial arts organization. This was my first time seeing certifications written in Japanese with English translations displayed so anyone could inspect them. We entered the training hall and were greeted by all of the students who had great things to say about the class, training, and their grandmaster. I was surprised by the education level of everyone I met: PhDs, engineers, scientists, accountants, lawyers, teachers, health care technicians, dancers - it was much different than I had expected.

The training center was a real surprise. I was expecting a tiny room like most of the schools, but the facility opened up to a large training center with a wooden floor and matted floor. It looked traditional. We watched the class and were very impressed by the power that emanated from the students and grandmaster. This was the place! We signed up the next day and have now been training for a couple of years. If you are interested in mixed martial arts and tournaments, this is not the place for you. If you are interested in learning real, traditional, martial arts - this is your dojo!

Practicing kata on Tuesday nights led by Soke Hausel

Dr. Neal Adam and Dr. Naghmeh pose for photo.

Sensei Paula Borea and Sensei Bill Borea train with Okinawan weapons (kobudo) on Thursday evenings.

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