Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chandler Arizona Librarians Use Self-Defense

A good book can also be good weapon. Pencil
sketch by Soke Hausel
You are between two bookshelves at the library just before closing – someone sneaks up behind and grabs you. What do you do with that book in your hand?     

Well, you could read your attacker a story, or if you were properly trained in self-defense, you would stomp on the person's toes and follow by striking your would be assailant with the edge of your book! We all think of libraries as being safe houses, but few places are truly safe anymore because of the drug wars, invasion of our homeland by millions of illegals, and an overall degradation in the moral fabric of society.

Librarians and staff of the Chandler Public Library were confronted with this and other imaginary scenarios at a clinic taught by Who's Who in Martial Arts and Hall-of-Fame martial artist and grandmaster, Soke Hausel of the Arizona Hombu Dojo in Mesa and world head of Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai

Grandmaster Hausel taught traditional martial arts for more than 4 decades at four universities prior to opening the Arizona Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona. One of the many arts he teaches is known as kobudoKobudo is a martial art of ancient Okinawan farming, fishing and merchant implements and tools used in self-defense. The techniques and concepts of kobudo can easily be adapted to modern garden and construction tools, as well as to most any movable object around the house or workplace. Soke Hausel admits he has a difficult time walking through any garden and tool shop without visualizing how modern tools can be used for self-defense - as a result, he has many garden tools purchased around the Phoenix valley to use in training and teaching martial arts.
Soke Hausel demonstrates a very simple response to wrist grabs
at the public library. When done properly, this technique causes the attacker
to lean forward into the kick.

During the Chandler Arizona seminar, Soke showed the librarians different methods to escape from wrist grabs, lapel grabs and bear-hugs by using elbows, knees, feet and hands and taught them how to use books, magazines, coins, pens, belts, and car keys as self-defense tools against aggressive attacks. The attendees were surprised to find they were working with self-defense weapons every day and even checking these weapons out to the public. Who would have guessed that the pen could be mightier that the sword for personal self-defense?

The librarians were also surprised at how effective a rolled up magazine could be as a self-defense weapon. Clinic attendees are taught to wrap a magazine tightly as it provides more punching power for a strike to the side of the head, ear or neck, to block a punch or knife thrust, or use the end of the magazine to thrust into the groin, solar plexus, liver, kidneys, neck or nose. In fact, magazines are so effective that he often has some of this students make their own weapons from magazines - such as nitanbo, kubotan, and even nunchaku. The magazine nunchaku are much better than any foam rubber nunchaku sold by martial arts supply outlets. The magazine chuks can be made from light-weight magazines for bunkai (self-defense) practice, or heavy magazines for kata (martial arts forms) practice.

Soke Hausel emphasized to the librarians - they must think about self-defense every day in order to reach a mental state talked about in Zen and in martial artsmushin or no mind! He told them they must learn to react without thinking! 
Striking an attacker with a book.

As an example, he told them stories when he was a teenager after training in Kyokushin karate. "In kyokushin karate", he related, "we trained to fight in the dojo using nothing more than our bare hands and feet and the only protective gear available was an athletic cup which really didn't provide any protection". Years later when he trained in Shorin-Ryu karate and Kempojutsu at Juko Kai International, and learned an art known as Combat Ki which allows martial artists to take full-force strikes to vital points (including the unprotected groin) while smiling. He mentioned a demonstration at the University of Wyoming basketball half-time where is was photographed taking a full force kick in the groin from a 3rd degree black belt while smiling. The next day, the University photographer called him to stop by the university Photo Service to see the incredible photo caught at the moment of impact: Hausel was smiling! But he said, the full contact training in kyokushin karate taught him to react without thinking. In one instance, he hit another student in the hallway without any thought just because as the student walked by and quickly lifted his hand to brush his hair. Apparently, Soke Hausel's mushin mind interpreted this as an attack. 

It's also a way to break up a relationship. While digging through his high-school locker, his girlfriend snuck up behind him and gave him a light love-tap on the side of the face. Without thought, Soke indicated his body responded with a back elbow strike knocking her to the floor. He told the librarians not to worry about developing this kind of mushin mind, as it requires constant full-contact training where you often get hurt allowing your muscle memory to interpret this as negative reinforcement. By constantly training without full contact, you can get close to this kind of empty mind by practicing the same self-defense application over and over, thinking about it and visualizing the application. This will give you muscle memory, but with control over your muscles.
Great defense - note how the attacker (in
blue) leans forward into the kick.

So, the librarians trained in empty hand self-defense techniques, were told to carry car keys to the parking lot in one hand with the keys available for striking similar to a kubotan (short stick), or similar to a tekko. He emphasize that the parking lot terrace in downtown Chandler could provide opportunities for criminals in the area. Let's face it, down town Chandler and the neighboring community is not the safest place in the evening. He joked saying he might be tempted to carry a samurai sword if he worked in the area. If nothing else, it would provide a warning to criminals.

The clinic continued and the librarians were taught simple escapes against varieties of bear hugs, wrist(s) grab, lapel grabs, take downs, chokes, punches. Some commented they were impressed to discover how easily they could defend themselves with just a little knowledge and training. They broke up into groups of two and practiced with each other while Soke and his student (a brown belt librarian from his dojo) came around to help each pair tweak the techniques.


Soke Hausel has taught similar self-defense clinics and seminars to political groups, Christian and Mormon organizations, EMT, university faculty and staff, military, scouts, teachers, women’s clubs, sororities, martial arts instructors, firemen, senior citizens, etc. He was a professor of martial arts and geological researcher at the University of Wyoming from 1977 to 2007 prior to moving to Gilbert, Arizona. He currently teaches karate, kobudo, self-defense and samurai arts at the Arizona Hombu dojo in the East Valley, writes books, and consults on various geological projects around North America.


One of many self-defense clinics taught by Soke Hausel at the University
of Wyoming to students and faculty. Soke indicates he especially likes to
have fun with the attendees and see that they learn and also have fun while
learning how to defend.



Librarians listen to Soke Hausel as he tells them how to use their knees and elbows.