Monday, January 28, 2013

A legacy of martial arts at the University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate & Kobudo Club is one of the longest active university-affiliated martial arts clubs in North America. The karate club was established in 1977 by Sensei Hausel & students were introduced to traditional karate, kobudo, self-defense, samurai arts, jujutsu & body hardening (shitai kori) through the karate club activities. Sensei Hausel, assisted by members of the club also provide training for University of Wyoming students in Introduction to Karate, Introduction to Jujutsu, Introduction to Kobudo, Self-Defense, and Women's Self-Defense classes in the Department of Physical Education, Department of Kinesiology & School of Extended Studies. The karate club has been affiliated with two martial arts associations: Juko Kai International and Seiyo Kai International.

For years, the club sponsored free self-defense clinics for University students, staff, faculty and members of the Laramie Community. The club activities included water training in the UW pool, and numerous clinics and seminars on advanced martial arts. Members of the club traveled to martial arts clinics in Casper and Saratoga Wyoming, Murray Utah, Kentucky, Maine, Dallas, Florida Missouri and North Carolina. Due to Hausel's connections in the martial arts, he also brought two world-famous martial artists to the University of Wyoming to teach special clinics - Dai Soke Sacharnoski, 12th dan and O Sensei Tadashi Yamashita, 9th dan.

In 1999, Sensei Hausel reached one of the highest levels in martial arts when he was promoted to grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu karate, which brought prestige to the university karate club.

Grandmaster Hausel uses his expertise in geology and martial arts to teach University of Wyoming students how to break rocks without a rock hammer.
Many students and faculty trained under Soke Hausel at the UW Karate Club and several dozen ended up with degrees in their chosen fields as well as yudansha (black belt) certifications at the University. This could never have happened except for the fact that Hausel had been a Soke (Grandmaster) and one of the highest ranked martial artists in the world. There were many honor students who graduated from UW who high-lighted their time and training at the UW karate club in commencement speeches and provided highlights in the acknowledgements in their thesis and dissertations. Many students chose UW over other universities because of the martial arts program. There were even some students who claimed that the martial arts training was what got them through the university.  One student, who owned and operated a taekwondo school, attended a self-defense clinic by Soke Hausel. Following the clinic, he closed his school and moved to Laramie to train at the UW club. It is hard to know how many people participated in the UW club and Department Martial Arts Classes, but after 35+ years, one estimate suggests the number was 3,000 to 6,000 students. Not bad for a university that had a student body of less than 10,000. In particular, the club attracted large numbers of students each fall, and the 7 am Introduction to Karate classes were so popular, that a waiting list was established each year that it was taught by Sensei Hausel. The cut off was 110 students, making it one of the larger classes on campus and the largest in the PE department.

The Karate students were a favorite and many Mens and Womens basketball half-times and also provided exciting demonstrations at Chinese New Year celebrations and International Week celebrations.

Shihan Hausel demonstrates body hardening techniques at University of Wyoming 
basketball halftime. Here, Sensei Donette Gillespie (3rd dan) kicks Hausel in the groin 
while totally unprotected. The University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club 
was regular entertainment at many of the campus activities (UW photo).

Soke Hausel demonstrates a rare martial art known as white crane
shorin-ryu karate at a Chinese New Year celebration at University
of Wyoming. White crane karate is thought to be 300 to 500 years old.

Karate Club members provide entertainment for International Week at the University of Wyoming. Here the members demonstrate Shorin-Ryu Karate along with Nunchaku.

The Laramie Boomerang

The University of Wyoming Branding Iron noted accomplishments
of the UW Karate club and its head instructor, Soke Hausel.
Soke Hausel, inducted into the American Karate Association Hall of Fame
posed at University of Wyoming - an internationally recognized
martial artist and geologist

The University of Wyoming Faculty news notes Soke
Hausel's induction into the World
Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Malaysia.

Letter from the Governor

The University of Wyoming President wrote
to Soke Hausel noting his inductions for martial arts,
science, and education.

Soke Hausel of Gilbert Arizona receives induction into martial arts Hall of Fame in Puerto Rico