Friday, October 28, 2011

Grand Canyon University Professor Earns Master Degree

SO How Does a PhD Earn a Master Degree? Easy! Join a Traditional Okinawan Martial Arts School.

Dr. Neal Adam is awarded both Godan (5th degree black belt)
and Shihan (Master Instructor) certificates by Soke Hausel at
the Seiyo Kai Hombu in Mesa.
Wax on, wax off.  It takes decades of dedication & training to master a martial art. When most people think of a master of martial arts, they often visualize an old, wise monk; or a faster than life karate master who is indestructible. But to be a true master of martial arts, one must not only master the physical skills of a martial art, but they must also master oriental philosophy, history and traditions.

It is also rare for a PhD to earn a Master Degree: not the master’s degree from a university, but a master degree in Shorin-Ryu Karate. Remember Daniel-san from the original Karate Kid?   Mr. Myagi taught Daniel-san Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate - the same art taught at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa and Gilbert at 60 W. Baseline Road. Reaching the level of PhD and Professor requires dedication to a particular field of study and research leaving little time for anything else. And to do the same in martial arts is rare.

Dr Neal Adam, associate professor of biology at Grand Canyon University, has dedicated the past 30 years to learning karate while pursuing a career in science. His love for karate reached a high level of comprehension of Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Seiyo Kai Karate and Kobudo. To reach this level of expertise, one must understand the mechanics and physics of karate, they must comprehend the philosophy of the art, they must learn dozens of complex forms and be able to demonstrate these forms without thinking and with extraordinary power and focus, and they must master ancient weapons, and must learn to defend themselves effectively.

Mild mannered Dr. Adam in his traditional
university professor uniform
The Master degree is a measure of one’s expertise and translates in Japanese as Shihan. Dr. Neal Adam reached this level and was presented certifications of Shihan and Godan (5th degree black belt) after testing in front of Soke Hausel, world head of Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo at the Hombu (world headquarters) in Mesa.

In addition to demonstrating an understanding of karate and kobudo, Dr. Adam was also required to develop new forms of kobudo. He created a new form of hanbo (3-foot staff) and applications for self defense, and also developed a new form using common everyday tools of his trade for self-defense: eye glasses, rulers, pens, belt, etc. The new form was named the Nerd-ja kata.