Sunday, November 28, 2021

Senior Citizens Kick Butt

We have seniors, college students, junior high students, university faculty, and military-vets in our dojo. We are all friends and our soke adjusts the Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai curriculum to fit body types, good and bad knees, backs, experience, etc. Karate is taught as a powerful self-defense art, but has to be adjusted to the capabilities of the students. A few students are unable to develop full-power because of physical limitations, but they do their best. 

Formally, Soke, taught martial arts at ASU, UNM, U of U, University of Wyoming, Gold's Gym, and the Hombu Dojo. After training and teaching for more than 5 decades, he helps students to get fit, while focusing on safety, and enhancing self-defense capabilities. Soke, a father, grandfather, and even a great-grandfather, has a blood pressure on nearly any given day, that measures 120/78 with blood oxygen at 99. In fact, we tested soke's vital signs this morning (4/22/2022) and they were 122/76, heart rate 71, and blood oxygen 98. And keep in mind, he is nearly the same age as President Trump. How does he do it? 

He trains at Mountainside Fitness 3 to 4 times a week, trains in karate 4 to 6 times a week, and teaches a minimum of four (some weeks six) karate, kobudo, samurai arts and self-defense classes each week, and has had a similar schedule much of his life, but with added duties as a scientist (geologist and astronomer), writer, and public speaker. In addition to good physical health and reflexes, he is a devoted Christian who attends bible classes each week. Typically, he eats once a day, but sticks to the Okinawa adage of 'hara hachi bu' (eat until 80% full). 

During the plandemic, soke ended up in three Phoenix valley hospitals (Chandler, Gilbert & Mesa). Even though the treatment was poor, one hospital (Chandler) apparently tried to kill him. Even so, he survived the gothic treatments probably because of his physical condition. 

In July, 2021, he was admitted to an ER in Gilbert with a concussion from a cut over his right eye from a fall caused by extreme vertigo. With the cut, he had a concussion, vertigo, severe dehydration, extreme weight loss, and covid. At the other two hospitals in Mesa and Chandler, it was determined he also had valley fever, afib, and double pneumonia. Yet, the Gilbert hospital refused to treat soke, until they forced a covid test on him, which he objected to, and then waited 2 hours for test results before they would treat him. He was refused drinking water during this time, even though he had essentially begged for water more than once. 

After the test came back positive, he was finally given ONE, 3-ounce dixie cup of water. Later they initiated an IV for hydration while the gash in his forehead was closed with 19 stitches. After spending nearly 4 hours in the ER, he was released from the hospital. 

Later, the same kind of gothic treatment was available at the Mesa hospital, where they actually tried to poison him with a drug toxic to kidneys and liver (according to a book by Robert Kennedy, Jr). During treatments, soke had intense hallucinations over three nights. The third trip to the hospital (Chandler) was for treatment of afib. 

The greatest problem suffered by soke (besides the questionable hospital treatments), was vertigo, which none of the three hospitals tried to remedy, and resulted in soke collapsing and receiving two to four concussions. He finally cured himself by watching Youtube about the Epley maneuver, while at home. Soke hopes to one day visit the hospital board members and CEOs of the 3 hospitals to find out why he was so poorly treated. Years ago, during the Vietnam war era, soke was admitted to the base hospital at Fort Polk for pneumonia. Even the Army hospital provided better treatment than the Gilbert and Mesa hospitals.

Two outstanding seniors in Seiyo Shorin-Ryu.
Sensei Paula Borea with O'sensei Bill Borea (RIP)
receive hugs at the Hombu in Mesa, Arizona.

Soke keeps track of his students' limitations (i.e., bad knees, back, neck, etc) and works to keep everyone safe. For example, we have one 3rd degree black belt senior who trained many years in the martial arts; but in younger years, was a problem for his parents, neighbors, wife and others. Once, he practiced jumping over speeding cars, fell off his roof while fitted with a leg cast from a previous injury, and self-removed finger tips while operating a circular saw. He was so well versed in injuries, in one year, he was presented a prestigious Christmas card signed by all of the medical personnel employed at his favorite ER. They even gave him a personal name tag since he spent so much time at the ER.

We have three black belt senior citizens who had knee replacements who train with us. One, Japanese-American woman, had both knees replaced due to lack of control by her former Taekwondo instructor.  Another, a cowboy from Casper, Wyoming (now in Arizona), had one knee replaced due to a tumble over a Mesa sidewalk; and the third person, our friendly ER user from Mesa, wore out his original knees because of the many incidents in the past, such as falling off his roof twice.

Congratulations Jeff! Senior citizen and military
veteran from Mesa, receives certification for 1st
degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate and
kobudo. Presented by Soke Hausel in
November, 2021. 
Then we have students with bad backs. These include our ER-representative, a professor from Grand Canyon University who injured his spine in a car accident years ago; and a cowgirl-retired school teacher from Jackson Wyoming who fell off a horse and tripped over an apparatus while teaching self-defense to a senior group in the Phoenix valley. Then we have another female black belt from Mesa who has a bad back, knees and neck, but Soke watches over her like a hawk.

So, you may get the impression that members of this hombu dojo are all seniors who can barely get out of bed. Not so, all purportedly jump out of bed and keep in relatively good shape through karate and kobudo training a few nights each week. But, for those who have children and grand-children, soke allows them to sign up their offspring at no extra charge, and train with their parent or grandparent. He believes that karate families stay together.

Some of our more outstanding seniors include a sensei (3rd degree black belt) who passed away at the age of 72 a few years ago from cancer. Until that day, he was at the dojo as often as he could make it, but had physical problems acquired as a pilot in the Air Force. Some years ago, had took a month off of training to have open-heart surgery. Typically, it would take months before such a person could return to karate; but sensei was back in the dojo a month later. So, if anything, karate makes people more health and more tough than the average person!

Dr. Sigalov (shodan) at UW karate.
At this point, Dr. Sigalov was in his
late 70s, and believe it or not, he was
by far the fastest karate ka in the 
UW group, and also had tremendous
strength!
Another outstanding member was professor of linguistics at the University of Wyoming. He trained under soke for years, earned a 1st degree black belt, and trained while in his late 70s and early 80s. He originally was a professor at an Estonia university behind the Iron Curtain, but left the USSR after applying to immigrate. He was put under house arrest simply for his application, taken to court 6 years later, and then told by the judges to leave the USSR and never return. We were very happy to get him at the University of Wyoming.

Then there is soke: now a senior citizen who trained in Okinawa and Japanese martial arts his entire life, trained under a few of the best martial arts instructors in the world, and began his martial arts path in kyokushinkai karate (full contact). Today, he continues training in shorin-ryu karate as well as other arts. Soke is so well-versed in the martial arts that he is certified as 10th degree black belt/grandmaster (judan/sokeshodai) in shorin-ryu karate, has four 5th degree/master instructor (godan/shihan) black belts in Japanese samurai arts, as well as black belts in other arts including shotokan karatekyokushin karate, Juko-Ryu kijutsu, along with other arts. A member of a number of martial arts Halls-of-Fame, he keeps training in martial arts daily and did pretty much in the past when he had a full-schedule of geological research and consulting at the Wyoming Geological Survey, University of Wyoming as well as private consulting projects around the country. How can one person do so much? According to soke, he has been blessed by God.

University of Wyoming Shorin-Ryu Karate, 1999

Soke Hausel with hanshi Watson and kyoshi
Stoneking from the Utah Shoran-Kai. Hanshi 
Watson (left) began training in karate at about 
the same time as soke. I am so thankful to have
these people in Utah. May God bless them!
So, if you want to stay healthy, take up traditional martial arts and keep practicing (don't ever stop). But, most martial artists who have trained for many years will tell you: be careful which school you attend and who you pick for an instructor - otherwise you can end up training with 5-year olds, learn from a teenager, have your knees replaced, and then find out the headmaster of the school has no proper certifications. There are many McDojos out there - many more than legitimate schools.

Seiyo no Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai hombu photo, 2019, just before the pandemic.






Monday, July 20, 2020

Traditional Karate and Explosive Power produce better and healthier Martial Artists

Training in martial arts like Tai Chi, or Tai Ki, are good for some aspects of traditional martial arts, such as stretching to produce more limber individuals. But when it comes to explosive power, such as seen in some karate demonstrations where martial arts masters destroy large blocks of ice, piles of roofing tiles, bricks, rocks, etc., or the power that oozes from focused kata, bunkai, self-defense demonstrations, etc., one must use the proper tools - learn to punch, kick, block with focus and concentrated power - the type that is necessary to put down an adversary with a single punch! In martial arts, we have a saying - "hitotsuki hitogeri" (one punch, one kick, one knockout). 

This is possible by taking advantage of every ounce of physics. Sir Isaac Newton came up with the three basic laws of physics that included F=ma (Force equals mass time acceleration). Thus to develop a one punch strike, one needs to take advantage of acceleration and also their mass. This is done by training with focus and learning to use your body mass to help increase the force of a strike. You need to be very fast to achieve maximum acceleration along with developing focus, which can best be done while training in karate kata.  But, if one trains as in tai chi, they will have a tough time punching their way out of a wet paper bag, so to speak. So punch fast, hard and with authority and some additional body hardening, weight training, targeting vital points, etc., will improve your chances of defending yourself with one, quick punch.

This also has benefits in health (for you, not the person who receives the punch). By training properly in karate, about 3 to 6 times a week, you will dramatically improve your physical fitness. This concept pretty well matches suggestions by Dr. Joseph Mercola in his 2016 book. Dr. Mercola suggests that we should exercise as fast as we can for 30 seconds and follow with about 90 seconds of recovery while exercising at a much slower rate - pretty much what one sees in good kata practice. It is suggested to continue this regimen for about 20 minutes. This form of exercise should focus on the super fast with muscle fibers. And, it is important to vary your forms so you should practice different kata.

For me, I typically train for about an hour in explosive karate and kobudo kata and finish my training regimen with weight and resistance exercises. I've done this for most of my life and even continued to so so when working as a geologist in the middle of no where in places like Donlin Creek, Alaska surrounded by three trillion, starving mosquitos, Ellendale, Australia surrounded by flies and crocks, and while searching for gold in Lewiston, Wyoming, where I was surrounded by coyotes. So, to keep healthy try learning 'TRADITIONAL' karate as opposed to Sport Karate and practice your kata.




Saturday, February 1, 2020

Karate and Health

Personally, I look forward to a day, when we see more research studies about the benefits of martial arts to personal health. For example, why is it that the Okinawa people (the birthplace of karate) have the lowest frequency of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer in the world; and why is it that Okinawans are less likely than Westerners to get dementia?

Part of Okinawa longevity is likely related to hara hachi bu, eat until 80% full (ever see a Okinawa Walmart shopper?), but other factors related to Okinawan longevity likely include diet, happiness, family values, lifelong meaningful activities. They keep their brains active, eat healthy, and exercise daily. Thus, any research needs to focus on all of these factors and others we have yet to think of.

On average, the Okinawa people spend 97% of their lives free of disabilities. I've also heard Okinawa has a high percentage of centenarians per capita - now remember, this is Okinawa, which is only a tiny island that developed separately from Japan for much of its history, and later was invaded by Japan.

In search for Okinawa health answers, researchers need to include studies on exercise. Personally, I feel that the Okinawan martial arts (karate, kobudo, toide) are part of the centennian equation, but I admit, I'm biased. But keep in mind, karate was created on Okinawa and has some very important distinguishing characteristics than the karate practiced on mainland Japan, much of Europe, the West and even taekwondo from Korea. 

After Japanese martial artists were introduced to Okinawa Shorin-Ryu karate by Gichin Funakoshi in 1922, they went on to develop a different brand of karate which they labeled Shotokan karate a brand of sport karate that is more regimented and is competitive, unlike much of the Okinawa karate which is traditional focusing on self-improvement, self-defense and the individual. Sport karate contests, until recently, were not part of Okinawa karate. Over the decades, I personally have trained in both types of karate, and I'll take traditional Okinawa Shorin-Ryu karate training over Japanese Shotokan any day. Shotokan is a good form of karate, but there are things that I personally don't like about it - one is that it reminds me of military boot camp (as do the other styles of Japanese karate I trained in during the past). There is little creativity, and all karateka train by the numbers - the best analogy I can think of is the Cobra Kai method we saw emphasized on the Karate Kid. Then there is the Miyagi-Ryu Karate-do that was emphasized by Miyagi san - more typical of the training methods of Shorin-Ryu karate.

The research published in the recent past on Okinawa longevity, mostly focuses on diet. So, why doesn't the research focus on physical activity, and in particular, the type of physical activity that is part of Okinawa - its karate, kobudo and toide? There are some hints that exercise is important in keeping humans healthy. 

For example, in a book about cancer treatments by Connie Strasheim (2011), she quotes Dr. Finn Skott Andersen from Humlebaek, Denmark - 

“Several studies on cancer and exercise have proven that exercise is of utmost importance when fighting cancer”. 

“Cancer patients should do three things to improve their chances for recovery. First they should seek to attain a good quality of life that has purpose and meaning, Secondly, they should adhere to a cancer-fighting diet, and thirdly, they should exercise”.

"In a major study done in Heidelberg in 1992, researchers tracked 2000 vegetarians for 10 years and found they had 50% less cancer and cardiac conditions than the general population”. 

and Dr. Andersen also provides a very interesting argument in support of physical therapy and battling cancer that people with this disease should keep in mind.

“Exercise is the most important therapy for cancer in my opinion. Cancer patients don’t die from cancer of from the size of their tumors. I all of the patient’s tumor tissue were placed on a table, it would weight perhaps on a kilogram (2.23 pounds) or less, and might amount to the size of a fist. So how is it possible for a person to die from something so small the answer is: because cancer is an energy vampire! It steals energy from people, so that they become increasingly tired, and finally end up bedridden. They die from fatigue which is the most common cancer symptom".


Additionally, Dr. Mecola (2016) reports: (1) "Your health, mobility, and freedom from pain in older age depend on your dedication to moving frequently and wisely; (2) Addressing poor posture is a useful strategy to optimize you health;  (3) Traditional cardio exercises are highly inefficient and can be radically improved; (4) Shorten busts of high-intensity interval exercise several times a week offer powerful rewards that conventional cardio doesn't; and (5) Strength training and stretching round out a compressive fitness plan".

What is suggested in number 3 and 4 directly apply to traditional karate. Traditional karate is a very powerful form of cardio exercise using focus and power with periodic lows in energy seen in forms known as kata, as well as bunkai (self-defense applications). Few other forms of exercise produce such dramatic energy bursts!
  • Connie Strasheim, 2011, Defeat Cancer: 15 Doctors of Integrative and Naturopathic Medicine Tell You How, by Connie Strasheim, 2011
  • Mercola, Joesph, 2016, Effortless healing: 9 simple ways to sidestep illness, shed excess weight, and hope your body fix itself: Harmony Books, NY, 308 p.

Friday, January 10, 2020

No More Nightmares - Another Benefit of Martial Arts.

Sketch by the author (copyright), 'The Big Game'.
There are many benefits to training in traditional martial arts besides just learning to defend oneself. Some of the many benefits include self-control, self-defense, dexterity, increased strength, dramatic reflex increase, flexibility, improved body and brain health, weight loss, favorable body mass index, calming confidence, focus, self-confidence, and likely much more.

Periodically new benefits are discovered. For example Perfect Mind describes 10 benefits of martial arts training as does Health Fitness Revolution. Some bloggers report traditional martial arts training is beneficial to all people and emphasize benefits to women. Another site describes 10 best martial arts, while another blogger mentions 7 benefits of martial arts training. Then there are other reports described at Easy Health Options which focuses on brain health and martial arts. In a recent pilot study, Batcheller (2019) reports benefits to those inflicted with Parkinson’s disease including depression and anxiety.

Some additional benefits were recently described by one of my students last week, that I more or less forgot about, simply because these have been part of my life for decades. One is hand-eye coordination described in some of the above links. My student, Jorge, mentioned he dropped something, but quickly snapped it out of the air before it hit the ground, surprising both himself and others at his gym - Jorge is a senior citizen, and his reflexes dramatically improved due to his weekly Shorin-Ryu karate, kobudo, self-defense and samurai arts training at the Hombu dojo in Mesa, Arizona. 

Sketch by the author (copyright), 'Tameshiwari'
I notice this same benefit years ago. In one instant, my wife and I stopped at a International Pancake House on the edge of Grand Junction, Colorado. After we sat down, we were attacked by a pack of rogue flies. We should have just left because of the poor environment, but I was hungry, and besides, I periodically enjoy sparring bouts with flies.

So, as we sat and waited for our breakfast, a group of young adults in the next booth and I had a challenge to see who could take the most flies out of the air. Before breakfast was served, I killed 6 or 7 in mid-flight, and our challengers only got one between the five of them.

 "Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important." 

Mr. Miyagi walks away, still making circular motions with hands



"Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off."

Sketch by the author (copyright), 'Optimism'.
Then there were those old high school and college days playing football, where is used hands and elbows to sneak a blow to the ribs, hands, etc, completely unseen by others, during plays, and easily knocked footballs out of hands.

Jorge also mentioned another benefit that he recently discovered which I completely forgot about. He no longer has nightmares!

Prior to signing up for karate in 1964, I had nightmares of being attacked or bullied by others. The normal stuff we went through as teenagers. After I trained in karate, nightmares were all replaced by successful self-defense against all attackers. I suspect this benefit likely falls under the category of self-confidence.

But this is only the beginning. The more health and kinesiology researchers develop interest in martial arts, the more research studies will be done in the lab or on various groups. I would bet future studies will find tremendous benefit to people training in traditional martial arts from kids to seniors. I would also bet that research on Veterans taking martial arts will prove to be greatly beneficial in more than one way and could potentially help those Vets and Law Enforcement officers with bouts of PTSD.
 
Traditional karate Sketch by the author (copyright)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Karate - the Fountain of Youth

Grandmaster Hausel, former budo no kyoju (professor of martial arts) at the University of
Wyoming demonstrates that he has a leg up on most everyone his age. This photo at Half-Acre
Gym shows him doing his daily stretches (photo courtesy of UW Photo Service).
WEIGHT LOSS 
Staying fit and losing weight is much easier if you love to train in traditional karate. According to the Journal of Exercise Physiology, martial arts groups burn a significantly more calories and have greater overall fitness than groups that do not partake in traditional martial arts. The Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal also reports karate practitioners lie near the top of all other exercise groups for calories burned per body weight. And Fitness for Weight Loss reports a 150-pound karate practitioner will burn 712 calories, and a 400-pound karate practitioner potentially could burn up to 1,910-calories per hour during karate training. But keep in mind, each type of martial art (as well as exercise) will burn different amounts of calories. For instance, Tai Chi (slow kung fu) will burn less than half the calories as karate!

AGING & MARTIAL ARTS - the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Dove Press reports that a test group of 50-year old men enrolled in 1-year traditional karate course for 3 nights a week at 90-minutes each night showed "favorable effects on mood, physical health and improved performance on objective physical training" compared to the non-martial arts group. 

The Okinawan saying "hara hachi bu" (eat until 80% full) provides a guideline to limit daily calorie intake. And because karate and kobudo has been part of their culture for centuries, a significant percentage train each week in martial arts. Another benefit: murder and robbery is less common on Okinawa since everyone is armed (with feet and hands)!

Dr. Majid Fotuhi & Christina Antoniades (2013) in their book Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance, state there are "known brain shrinkers - obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol...".  They further write, "The more you increase your fitness, the more you will build a bigger memory muscle in your hippocampus. For optimal brain growth, I recommend 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, plus 15-minutes of resistance training five days a week"

EXAMPLES of SHORIN-RYU KARATE
Soke Seikichi Uyehara, a karate grandmaster, demonstrated kata at the age of 88 in 1992. Seikichi Uyehara was quite agile and ended up living to be 100! Another Shorin-Ryu karate practitioner, Sensei Teru Hendrey, 5th dan, was born to an Okinawa family in 1927. She was exposed to martial arts in 1941 and began a study of Shorin-Ryu Karate in the late 1980s while in her 60s.

Shorin-Ryu practitioner and world champion, Bill Wallace continues to train in karate and teach seminars at the age of 76, yet, few people are as limber as Sensei Wallace.

Then there was Shugoro Nakazato, 10th dan, who began Shorin-Ryu Karate as a student of Chosin Chibana in 1935 at the age of 16. He became the head of the Shorinkan Shorin-Ryu karate at more than 80 years old. A prominent Kendoka on Okinawa: Sensei Moriji Mochida trains daily at an age of more than 90. Another Okinawan, Sensei Keiko Fukuda began studying judo in 1935 under Jigoro Kano (the father of judo). Sensei Keiko, 10th dan, is 100 years old. Shoshin Nagame, 10th dan, taught Shorin-Ryu Karate until he died at 90. So, practice karate and you might live to be an old man or woman and also kick till your last day.

Martial arts are a lifetime adventure and people can train at any age (other than really young). It wasn’t so long ago, that one one had to be at least 16-years old to train in karate, but there was never a limiting upper age. This is not a bad idea, although there are exceptional young people who have unique focus and skills.

So, when is a person too old to train in martial arts? Martial arts are good for training the mind, the body and helping stave off aging, so there isn’t an upper limit to martial arts training as long as a person is in reasonable health. There are reports of martial artists of extreme ages - such as 113-year old and 120 year-old kung fu masters. And then there was Li Ching-Yuen who passed away in 1933, and purportedly was 200+ years old. 

So, what is it about martial arts that helps people to stay active until they die? Studies show that Okinawa (the land of karate) has more centenarians than any other place in the world. Is this because of karate, diet, exercise, environment, genetics? One study indicates it is genetic. Others suggest it is related to food supply and diet. And others suggest it is related to body health. But none of the studies, focus on the one characteristic that makes Okinawans different from other people: traditional karate and kobudo!

There are suggestions that martial arts training provide self-defense against aging, but these suggestions do not provide details and only rely on interviews with martial artists, and seldom differentiate the effects of soft martial arts vs. hard martial arts. One of the few studies that examined a variety of effects was reported by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The benefits of training in a ‘hard’ martial art, according to the Journal, were very positive. According to the Journal, “It was clearly obvious that the martial arts practitioners had better aerobic capacity, balance, flexibility, muscle endurance, and strength” than sedentary middle-aged people. “The only thing they had less of was body fat”.

STRENGTH
Karate gave me strength. While at the University of Wyoming, Soke Hausel commonly performed 600-pound squats at a body weight of 165 pounds and squared a maximum of 800 pounds. At the 24-hour Fitness in Chandler, Arizona, a trainer introduced me to the manager so he could see my kicks, kata and punches. I also had a Taekwondo black belt and personal trainer ask about my karate because they had never seen anyone with such power (I was old enough to be their grandfather): I was told by the trainer his client was on the US Olympic Team. In traditional karate, martial arts are practiced as a weapon rather than for points, so one needs extreme power and focus. I'm periodically questioned about a snap heard when I strike in the air. This is something that comes with focus and karate strike acceleration. It is caused by a sleeve of the karate gi whipping the air.

A few years ago, I tore the meniscus in my knee which had to be repaired by surgery. Its a long story, but it relates to a birth defect I had. After the operation, the medical staff wanted me to sit in a wheel chair and use crutches when I left the facility - but I walked out refusing both. Then I was scheduled for Physical Therapy at DiamondBack in Gilbert. I was told on my first day I was already many weeks ahead of everyone else with the same injury and told by the head therapist they only had one other client who was as advanced as me after that type of surgery - a professional basketball player who was one-third my age. Remember, we are not superhuman, we just learn to use what God gave us. 

Karate and Aging.

Grandmaster Hausel squats 400 pounds at a 170-pound body weight at the
University of Wyoming(photo courtesy of UW Photo Service). Former kyoju no
budo (professor of martial arts), the grandmaster was often seen squatting 400
and 600-pounds and even successfully squatted-800 pounds at Half-Acre Gym
on Campus. Today, as a senior citizen, he pushes 800 lbs with his legs on an
inverted squat machine, a few times a week at Mountainside Fitness in Arizona.
Soke Hausel (Grandmaster of Shorin-Ryu Karate, practices Karate & Kobudo nearly every day, and trains with weights 3 to 4 times a week as he has done for more than 5 decades. When he was a martial arts professor at the University of Wyoming, people were often astounded to see a skinny martial artist/geologist squat 600-pounds at a body weight of 160-pounds (left photo shows Grandmaster Hausel squatting 400 pounds). He even squatted 800 pounds, but not on a regular schedule. This was because of karate and geology. As a geologist, he walks miles in search of golddiamonds and colored gemstones. As a martial artist, he trains often and teaches karatejujutsukobudo and self-defense. Both geology and martial arts kept him healthy and fit. 

We recently heard about an 118-year old martial artist with great flexibility who can kick the tar out of any 20-year old. Then there is a man who recently earned a 6-degree black belt at the age of 94. And there are examples of men and women at 50,  60, 70 and 80 training in martial arts. Both men and women, no matter what age, benefit from martial arts.

For warm-up, Soke starts with karate kataKata are a beneficial aerobic exercise. He may practice fast or slow - but always adds full-power focus to visualize each self-defense application in each kata movement. After kata, he hits the weights working on arms and hands before moving to a squat rack to stretch, kick and punch. Then it's off to a heavy bag for a series of kicks and punches (he does not wear shoes or gloves). He also does a minimum of 300 sit-ups and on some days, has been known to do 1200 situps.  So, that's how he keeps looking fit and beautiful along with teaching 8 karate classes each week. 

Karate and Brain Health

One our favorite people - senior citizen, mascot and sensei,
Dennis, from Mesa, Arizona, a 3rd degree black belt/sensei
has a periodic senior moment, so for this photo he showed
up at the dojo with his feet labeled while supported by a
cane. Dennis always keeps us on our toes and keeps us
 laughing. 
Huh? Karate and Brain Health go hand in hand?
Being able to defend oneself with karate & kobudo works in favor of mental well-being. Karate provides increase in strength, flexibility, reflexology & aerobics as well providing favorable BMI (body mass index). And one cannot say enough about the importance of karate for self-confidence, self-esteem, and stress relief. Constant training using both sides of the body will likely expand your mind, by physically increasing the size of your brain and possibly fighting the effects of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. Studies at San Paulo State University and Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil, provide evidence "...karate training contributed positively to the cognitive and neuromotor functions of individuals with nixed dementia"

Martial arts also improve a person's emotional well-being, according to a recent 2018 article from Bangor University in Wales. In one study, older adults (age 67-93) were asked to take part in: (1) Karate training, (2) Cognitive training, or (3) Non-martial arts physical training over a 3- to 6-month period. The adults in Karate Training showed lower levels of depression and a greater level of self-esteem after training, compared to the other groups. Left photo shows Soke Hausel at the University of Wyoming getting a leg up on everyone else.

In Italy, a sedentary group was compared to a karate group. Italian researchers found karate improved one's working memory. The tests also showed karate practitioners had better recall. Researcher, Dr. Ashleigh Johnstone at Bangor University says - "there is far more to martial arts than its traditional roles. Though martial arts have been practiced for self-defense and spiritual development for many hundreds of years, only recently have researchers had the methods to assess the true extent of how this practice affects the brain".