Saturday, August 16, 2014

Things Women Can Do To Defend Themselves

Group of Wyoming martial artists include Hanshi Finley (Casper) in back.
 L to R in front are Uchi Deshi Heather From (Nebraska), Elena Finley
 (soon to be from Mars), and Dr. Florence Teule (France).

There are two things women can do to defend themselves against an attack - carry a gun and learn to use it, or take traditional karate at a karate school and practice martial arts every week.

A problem with the run of the mill self-defense clinics at your local civic center or college is that learning self-defense in one evening leaves a person vulnerable. Centuries ago, Okinawan martial artists recognized the power of muscle memory to teach automatic reaction to attacks. And this is inherited only by constant and correct methods of training.

In traditional karate, women train weekly to acquire focus, power, muscle memory and instinct. During training, they also have the added benefit of making new friends, get some good exercise, muscle tone, lose weight, learn some Japanese language while keeping fit.

Outdoor training (Gassuku) attendees learn to use a
hanbo (3-foot stick) for self-defense.
Last week was 'WOMEN's WEEK' at the Arizona Hombu (aka Arizona School of Traditional Karate). Over the years, the instructors at the Arizona Hombu Dojo, who are referred to as sensei, taught many self-defense clinics for women at various universities, sororities, girl scout organizations, political groups, libraries, professional associations, and businesses. These end up being a great time for all, but one thing that always is lacking in these 2 to 4 hour clinics is the martial arts concept known as mushin! 'Mushin' is a karate mind concept that martial artists achieve in order to be able to automatically defend themselves. The karate mind is mostly muscle memory, but that muscle memory must be properly tweaked so the individual can react to an attack without thinking while focusing power to quickly end an attack. This cannot be done in a seminar or short course, so we try to get those who sign up for such seminars to continue training in 'Traditional' Karate so they can learn proper muscle memory. Otherwise, we highly recommend that if they take a self-defense seminar, that they write down the various techniques and practice (through shadow boxing) every week at home. Such seminars are also used to introduce common household weapons such as car keys, books, magazines, pens, pencils, kuboton (also known as a stick, pen or pencil), elbows and knees.

Another student trains with throwing stars
Women's week began on Saturday, August 2nd (2014), when one of the Shorin-Ryu Students from Utah was promoted to Yudansha Sho. Jasmina has been a long time student of Hanshi Rob Watson, 9th dan, who operates the Shorin-Ryu Karate dojo in Murray Utah. Jasmina successfully tested for black belt and was honored by presentation of her certificate by Grandmaster Hausel at the Utah Gassuku (outdoor training clinic) at the East Canyon Resort to the east of Salt Lake City. This promotion was celebrated by a Bosnian dinner at her family's home Sunday evening.

Soke Hausel returned to Phoenix on Monday and was greeted the next day by the return of one of the karate club's favorite martial artists: Sensei Paula Borea. Sensei had a knee injury that progressively got worse after training years ago in taekwondo, and finally had to be corrected. All were all excited to see her return to the dojo. Sensei Paula is a Japanese-America who wanted to return to her roots by training in traditional karate - Shorin-Ryu. Sensei Paula is also a real samurai of samurai lineage! As a result, she is a real tiger in the Samurai Arts and Okinawan martial arts weapons classes known as Kubodo. Few other people have such an extraordinary martial arts spirit and everyone in the dojo loves her! She is the heart of our martial arts school.

Sensei became a student at the Arizona School of Traditional karate in 2008 after Soke Hausel moved the world headquarters of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu known as a Hombu from the University of Wyoming to Chandler, Arizona. During this time, Soke taught classes in Tempe at Arizona State University, but decided to open a private training center on the border of Gilbert and Mesa rather than stay at ASU.

Last week, the karate club also received three new female students including Debora, Suzette and Rihanna. In addition, Megan returned from Japan after spending the summer with her grandparents and two of our students were promoted on Tuesday and Thursday of last week - both school teachers. Janet was promoted to 9th kyu and Alexi was promoted to 3rd kyu. The kyu levels in karate are known as colored belt ranks below black belt. Then we had another student from Idaho sign up - another Megan, who is training to be a bush pilot.

Sensei Paula Borea trains with husband, O'Sensei Bill Borea at the Arizona School of
Traditional Karate in Mesa, Arizona
Our martial arts association (Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai) featured one of our female martial artists in the 'Bushido' newsletter. Sensei Elena Finley from Casper, Wyoming finished graduate school at the Colorado Schoolof Mines in Golden Colorado and is in the final group for consideration by NASA for colonization on Mars! Wow, wouldn't that be a 'Kick' if she opened the first dojo on Mars! I'd bet there would be some serious jumping kicks!

As an update (12/2017) to Women in Martial Arts in Mesa, Arizona, the Arizona Hombu dojo welcomed Sensei Alexandra (3rd degree black belt & PhD) from Arizona State University (ASU) saw the return of Sensei Victoria (3rd degree black belt) after her visit to the Vatican in Italy, and promoted Amira, Harmony, Rihanna, Suzette to 1st degree black belt, and Janel to 2nd degree black belt, while Nancy was promoted to brown belt. At the Utah dojo, Kris was promoted to 1st degree black belt. We are all proud of the accomplishments and achievements of the women in our school.
At the Arizona Hombu Dojo - 2017
2017 photo taken at the Arizona Hombu Dojo 

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