Friday, October 28, 2011

Grandparents Earn Black Belts at HOMBU in Mesa Arizona

Soke Hausel, Paula Borea and Bill Borea pose for FOX 10 news
interview and discussion of what traditional martial arts is all

The Arizona School of Traditional Karate, also known as Seiyo Shorin-Ryu Hombu, in Mesa, Arizona congratulated Bill and Paula Borea of East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona after successfully passing exams in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate for nidan (二段) on September 8th, 2011. It's not rare for two people to earn black belts, but it is rare for a married couple who are also grandparents. Furthermore, the two earned 2nd degree black belts.

According to Grandmaster Hausel (十段) this is the first time he has ever heard of a married couple who are senior citizens earning black belts on the same evening. Hausel has taught martial arts for more than 40 years and promoted a Canadian couple to black belt during the same evening, but they were in their mid-20s. Another couple from the University of Wyoming earned 3rd degree black belts (三段) in the same year, and were later married. They were also in their mid to late 20s. As far as senior citizens, he did have one professor earn a 1st degree black belt (初段) in his 80s, but this is rare.
Sempai Paula Borea trains with the heart of
a samurai at the Mesa Hombu after receiving
promotion to nidan black belt. Actually, Paula
is of a samurai blood line.

Bill and Paula Borea underwent 1.5 weeks of exams in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate and Kobudo (martial arts weapons). Both were required to demonstrate advanced forms (known as kata ), Okinawan weapons (known as kobudo 古武道) and Samurai Arts (known as kobujutsu 古武術). They also had to demonstrate karate (空手) & jujutsu (柔術) defenses against a variety of attacks including an assailant with a knife, gun and rifle. They were successful and promoted to Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in karate and kobudo at the Arizona dojo in Mesa (60 W. Baseline Road).
But there are even more unusual circumstances about this couple that is made for a movie script:

   Few ever reach the level of 2nd degree black belt in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu karate. This is because of extreme dedication and many years of training that are required.

•   Both Bill and Paula Borea have been training for years and each trained in Japan (日本) while Bill was stationed in the orient as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Sensei Bill Borea trains with kobudo
class at the Arizona School of Traditional
karate. Here he trains in nunchaku-jutsu.

•   Paula Borea's story alone is the kind of stuff made for a novel or movie. She is half Japanese. After World War II, she was born to a Japanese mother and American serviceman. Being a child of two opposing cultures, much of her Japanese family disowned her and she was given up to adoption at the age of 5 (her life was threatened by one Japanese uncle).

•   Later in life, she returned to Japan with, where she met her mother for the first time since the forced separation and the two shared many tears.

   Paula is not only of Japanese descent, she is also of samurai () lineage and has always had an interest to her heritage. This led her on a search for a traditional martial arts school in Arizona that would bring her closer to her Japanese heritage. She found the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa provided her with that part of her life that was missing and started training under Grandmaster Hausel (宗家) in 2006.
Watch out Bill! Paula is showing her samurai lineage again!

•   Both Bill and Paula are grandparents who show that with the right attitude, anything can be accomplished.

•   Bill and Paula Borea show this everyday in their lives. People who claim they cannot work out because of physical limitations need to met these two extraordinary people - one recently had back surgery and the other open heart surgery. Both continue to train at the school in Mesa 2 to 3 times a week. Paula reports that the Arizona School of Traditional Karate is as traditional as anything she saw in Okinawa. Bill reports that karate training saved his life by greatly improving his health.

Sensei Paula Borea in traditional Japanese
Several months later, January 6th, 2012, Soke Hausel certified both Bill and Paula Borea to Sensei (先生). Most Sensei in the Shorin-Ryu Karate Kobudo Seiyo Kai system are ranked at sandan. However, Soke saw that Bill and Paula were unique individuals who are also leaders and certified the two as instructors.