Saturday, March 20, 2010


Dan Hausel began training in karate in 1964. His inspiration to sign up for karate resulted from the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan show in February 1964. After watching the Beatles, he focused on learning to play the guitar and like many teens at the time, played in a rock-n'-roll band after signing up for guitar lessons at the Progressive School of Music in SLC.

The 1996 JKI Clinic at the University of Wyoming. Dai-Soke Sacharnoski
sits in center front. I'm standing in the back far to the left. "Dai-Soke 
Sacharnoski is the best martial artist I've ever seen", says Dan Hausel, Soke
On February 9th 1964, Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles on his variety show. This event changed people’s lives as they watched the program with their families on black and white TVs complete with the old vacuum tubes. For Dan Hausel, he also wanted to be a rock-n’-roll star! Next door to his Junior High School (Irving Junior in Sugarhouse of SLC) was the Black Eagle Federation karate dojo, which would play an important part of his life, thanks to rock n' roll.

Only a few teenagers at this time grew their hair into a Beatles's cut. Mind you, in 1964 crew cuts were the norm, those who had any hair to speak of were dabbing it with Brylcreme and no male had hair that touched their ears. Those with hair of any length were so greased that many a head could have been used to extract diamonds at any South African diamond mine. Brylcreme ads resonated on TV and AM radio "Brylcreme, a little dab will do you..." – it was an extremely conservative society that did not accept change easily.

Steve Paulos (left) and myself at a Rock
n' Roll concert (Salt Lake Tribune,
Sept. 5th, 1965)
In the summer of 1964, Soke Hausel and three other teens started a garage band. If you travel to Grand Junction, Colorado, you will see photographs of the band displayed on the wall at J.B. Hart Music Company. The band known as the Churchmen, included a keyboard player who now owns Hart Music.

The band became very popular, ended up as a warm up band at some concerts, made it on TV, on the radio, and even had its own personal fan club - made up entirely of a group of Japanese-American girls who followed them around to various concerts, taking photos, and keeping a photo scrapbook of the band. When it became popular due to the hippie culture, the band even took on a light show - Tokyo Joe's light show - ran by one Japanese-American. There were many Japanese-Americans in Utah, presumably because of the World War II internment camps located in Utah, southern Idaho and western Wyoming.

Long hair was a liability in 1964, so sometime in 1964 the band signed up for self-defense lessons at the Black Eagle Federation Dojo in Sugarhouse. Soke Hausel was a sophomore in high school at the time and the dojo was located far enough away from his home that he walked a 2.5 to 3 mile round trip to get there and back because of being under aged for driving. On the walk, he had to pass through a large park. In the evenings, the park often was a play ground for hoods and others looking for trouble. Periodically, he had the opportunity to apply what he had just learned in karate classes.

Our Rock n' Roll band - the
Churchmen outside of Terrace
Gardens (1966).
It was a tough dojo and a declaration by the band's drummer, George Allen, was descriptive: "It was the toughest workout I had ever experienced and I actually sweat blood". He insisted that skinny o' Hausel would not last a week in the dojo, but he didn't understand that Soke Hausel took challenges seriously. George only lasted about a week or two but Hausel became fascinated with martial arts, particularly after the introduction of the Green Hornet (starring Bruce Lee) on TV in 1966-67 and the later Kung Fu series (1972-1975) with David Caridine. Hausel remembers training at the dojo and hurrying home to see Kato (played by Bruce Lee) take out a bad guy in very tiny segments of the program. The show really stunk, but the few seconds Bruce Lee made his appearance made it all worth while.

Hausel trained under various Sensei at the Black Eagle Federation dojo. Its been more than 45 years, but he particularly remembers Sensei Becker, Sensei Rudi, Sensei Fox and the head instructor, Sensei Anguay. Soon, Hausel became the designated uke for Sensei John Becker. Sensei Becker would call him in front of the class – "hey Ringo", and then often level him with a punch or kick. Back in those days, martial artists trained with full power and full force and lawyers were almost unheard of.

The 12th Knight Band, 1968. I'm
in the front
Part of the time, the demo was full force - after all , this was a kyokushin kai dojo and they had to maintain the focus of the style: full contact. Hausel survived and later repaid Becker for his demonstrations after he had to leave to dojo to take a job. When he returned, he was in poor shape, had been smoking, and his reflexes were not what they had been. During training, Hausel blocked a kick by Becker with his leg, leaving a large welt on Becker's shin.

Sensei Hausel standing on 2.4 billion
year old Sherman Granite east of
Laramie, Wyoming (about 1985)
But before this happened, Hausel remembers one night in particular. Sensei Becker decided he was going to get everyone in shape. They did dozens of squat kicks, duck walks, push ups, sit-ups, deep horse stances (kiba dachi), and a few hundred kicks until Hausel no longer had any strength in my legs. He was a teenager and had never done any formal exercise on his own up to that point, and unfortunately, had a long walk home from the dojo through Fairmont Park to his home on 27th South and 8th east. Periodically, he collapsed as his knees buckled. To stand, he had to pull himself up, lock his knees and walk with a awkward gait as his muscles would no support his weight. Later, he noticed the positive affects; he found strength in his legs that few others in his high school class could match in track and field.

Each week they had kumite training. In the 60s, no one cared much about safety and the only protective gear was a cup. No gloves, head gear, padding, nothing else, and all strikes were full contact to any part on the body. In a short time, they developed lightning fast reflexes as they fought everyone in the dojo without breaks at each kumite session. If they would have been properly trained in ki, probably someone would have been killed. But even this kind of negative training provided Hausel with experience and ideas on how better to train his own students later in life.

One evening, the band's bass player was hit in the forehead by an adult wearing a ruby ring. Ruby is only second in hardness to that of diamond - so you can imagine the kind of imprint this made on Steve Paulos. For about a month, one could easily tell the type of cut and carat weight of the gemstone from the impression in Steve’s forehead. And yes, all students in the class were periodically knocked out. Hausel remembers karate ka talking about how great he had fought one evening, which puzzled him as he had no recollection of the match or even getting dressed to go home. He finally realized what had happened half way home when he came to his senses.

Tim Smith, geophysicist to the left
and Hausel doing a flying side kick at
the University of Utah, 1970.
After Hausel graduated from high school he headed to the University of Utah. While at the U, he trained with the U of U Karate Club under Sensei Osaka in Wado-Ryu karate. Sensei Osaka could not speak English, so it resulted in lots of hands on explanations. During one of the club's demonstrations another group presented a demo of Shotokan karate. Hausel was very impressed and decided to start training under Sensei Tutsumi in Bountiful Utah.

After graduating from the University of Utah in 1972 and 1974 in geology, he moved to Albuquerque to attend graduate school at the University of New Mexico. His advisor, Dr. Kudo, was a prankster and of Japanese descent. Following his first mid-term exam in Geology 101, he called on Hauel to assist in breaking the ice. He stashed another graduate student in the lecture hall who pretended to be upset by his grade. The student challenged Kudo to a fight to the death and called his body guard. His body guard, Rusty Riese, another graduate student and fellow martial artist walked out on the podium wearing a gi. Kudo accepted the challenge and exclaimed he had a martial arts expert of his own. This was Hausel's queue and he came running across the stage, leaping into a flying side kick (yoko tobi geri) directed at Rusty. They fought our way off the stage. Many of students probably tell stories about these skits.

Hausel doing another yoko tobi geri
(Flying side kick) with Eddie Begaye
defending, University of New Mexico
On a more serious note, Hausel was attacked by two thugs on the UNM campus right after teaching a karate class in the student union. He was already warmed up. As he walked out of the union, one of the thugs assumed a cat stance on his left, while the other moved to his right to try out-maneuver him. Hausel reports that alarms went off in his head – the one on the left was likely a martial artist and the other had a knife. The one to his left attacked first and threw a right hook, followed by a right kick, and then a left hook. Hausel easily blocked the right punch and kick. While in the process of throwing a left hook, Hausel hit him three times three tsuki directed to the temple, neck and upper lip. The attacker collapsed and Hausel turned to face the other. Frightened, he had no fight in him and wanted to go to the aid of his partner. This was unfortunate, as Hausel discovered he loved to fight and later had to do some serious soul searching to keep himself in check. He began to do a lot of meditating and joined a local Christian Church to finally calm his spirit. But the technique used back on the UNM campus worked so well, that later when he became the grandmaster of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate, he incorporated the sandan tsuki into one of the Seiyo Shorin-Ryu kata (Meikyo kata).

JKI Yudansha. I'm in the white gi pants sitting in front,
2nd from the left (2004?)
After UNM, Hausel moved to southern New Mexico where he taught karate and worked as a geologist. One of his students was Tom Custer, who had a family with a long history of note. In Tom's lineage was another Tom with his brothers Boston and George Armstrong Custer. Hausel soon left New Mexico for Wyoming where he began research in geology at the Geological Survey on the University of Wyoming campus and started teaching karate, kobudo, jujutsu and self-defense classes at UW.
Over the years, Hausel taught hundreds of students at the University of New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming as well as classes in karate and jujutsu in the UW Department of Physical Education, Department of Kinesiology, and the School of Extended Studies. He also taught at private clubs and offered clinics for a number of groups around the state. Later he opened a dojo with Shihan Stahl, 5th dan, in Saratoga, Wyoming where several martial arts clinics were held and Stahl taught karate and tai ki classes. In 1990, Hausel affiliated with Juko Kai International and focused on Shorin-Ryu and Juko-Ryu martial arts. His personal sensei was (and still is) Dai-Soke Sacharnoski, 12th dan. Most people have no idea what a great honor it is to train directly under a grandmaster. Prior to Dai-Soke Sacharnoski, Hausel had only known of 3 or 4 other grandmasters in the world, and all were incredible martial artists.

At his first national JKI black belt clinic, Soke Sacharnoski tested him for godan (5th dan) and Shihan (master instructor). This test was done in front of 250 black belts from 1st dan to 10th dan – and Hausel was the only one allowed to test. So everyone watched. Following the test, he was promoted. Another black belt (Ron Smith) told him that his ki and focus were so incredible that Hausel actually shook the building with his punches. Another, a Nanadan (7th dan), told him it was the best display of Shotokan (Shorin-Ryu) karate he had ever seen. But according to Hausel, he was like a deer in headlights – he had never seen a grandmaster in person and never had the opportunity to approach anyone with such high rank as a 7th dan, two 9th dans and Grandmaster Sacharnoski. 
A day Hausel will never forget -
as Soke Shodai (grandmaster) of
Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo
Kai by Dai-Soke Sacharnoski, 1999

JKI is a unique organization and has many of the top martial arts instructors in North America (as well as the world). Most who apply for membership in JKI are refused. We know of no other organization that requires its instructors to be of such high caliber and rejects so many applicants.

Hausel continued to attend all of the JKI clinics he could afford to. The limiting factor was his work that required him to conduct field work in the middle of nowhere. But in 1996, the University of Wyoming Campus Shorin-Ryu Karate Club was able to bring Dai-Soke to UW to teach a clinic.

His most memorable day in martial arts occurred a few years later in 1999. He had been promoted to hachidan (8th dan) in 1998 and at the time was personally invited to sit and talk alone with Dai-Soke Sacharnoski who suggested he should consider becoming Soke of his own style since he had already developed a hybrid style with his training in Kokushin Kai, Kempo, Wado-Ryu, Shotokan, Dai Yoshin-Ryu, Juko-Ryu, Nippon-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu and other arts and earned status of Kyoju (Professor of Budo), and was awarded JKI Samurai. He had also been awarded the top JKI instructor of the Year. But he never had dreamed of becoming a Soke.

Soke Jim Moclair (Great Britain)
and Soke Hausel (Wyoming) at JKI Hombu, 1999
To be a Soke, one must demonstrate a new legitimate style, or inherit a style from a Soke. Dai-Soke felt Hausel had demonstrated a new art and proved his ability. Thus in 1999, he was awarded certification as Soke Shodai of Seiyo No Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Kai (TM) at the JKI Hombu in Murphy North Carolina and was promoted to kudan (9th dan).

In 2003, Hausel was able to bring his childhood hero to UW for a clinic. Tadashi Yamashita from Okinawa showed up to a packed training session at UW. Yamashita Sensei is an excellent Shorin-Ryu stylist as well as a Hollywood stunt man and movie star.

 In the following year, 2004, Hausel was promoted to judan (10th dan) by Dai Soke Sacharnoski as well as by a few other international associations. He didn’t keep detailed records, but a few thousand students trained in Seiyo Shorin-Ryu under the direction of Soke Hausel. Many students from UW became engineers, university faculty, scientists, etc. 
Ron Smith and Soke Hausel at JKI clinic
Teaching students to use the hanbo, Soke Hausel has received induction awards from 16 different Halls of Fame for teaching methods
2003 Tadashi Yamashita clinic at the University of Wyoming.
Yamashita Sensei sits in center, I sit six to the left in the black gi jacket,
my son Eric Hausel sits ten to the left, my daughter Jessica is standing in the
back (third from the right).

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  1. WOW!!! That's Amazing!! What Incredible accomplishments you have achieved in One Life Time!!! So overwhelmingly impressed and Honored to call you friend!! That's Awesme Dan!!! You should be so Proud of yourself!!! Thanks for Sharing such a great story!!

    1. Hello Dar. I apologize but I just now came across your comment and wanted to thank you. Thanks to God, I've had a great life and I pray there will be many more experiences in the upcoming years. Guess what got me started on the different things I've done was being extremely bored in public schools and often being told that I would never make anything of myself. I spent much of my time day-dreaming until some of my day-dreams became affirmations and finally reality. All the best.