University of Wyoming Shorin-ryu Karate
It appears I may have accidently fallen into a Mcdojo, or worse, ended up taking instruction from a Bullshido-ist.
Roughly six months ago, I came to the University of Wyoming and found out about a karate group that is an organization related to the University (they recieve University funding and space). I'd always wanted to try some form of martial art, so I decided to try a this particular one out (yes, yes, I was a little naive). This group has been around for over 25 years and charges a fee of $40 dollars a semester.
There's only one problem (which at the time I started didn't know was a problem): JKI affiliation and an instructor of questionable qualification. The instructor's name is Dan Hausel, he's been brought up once before on this forum as a possible scammer, but I can't get much information on him to know for sure.
How can I go about deciding this groups ligitamacy? If they are illigitamate, I'm in a fairly good position as a reporter to denounce the group publically, but I certainly need hard information either way before I proceed.
This article may also be of interest.
One last question: anybody know any good martial arts groups in Laramie Wyoming?
You're not giving us much to go on here. He founded is own version of Shoring Ryu Karate? That's it? Don't know what to tell you. Plus are you asking if he's bullshido or is he Mcdojo. There is a differance between the two although the lines sometimes become very blurred.
I'm dealing with the same situation at University of Pacific in Stockton. "Sifu Yim" is the instructor and he hasn't even been to the class 2/3 of the time. I went to the athletic director and told him, now he's under investigation.
Having no martial arts experience in the past, it'll be hard to determine whether he's full of **** or not. More information would be a nice little addition.
Is it possible to charge $40 a semester and be a McDojo? From reading the article, the guy just seems to have a pretty little japanophile fantasy that he's hoping to make real. Lots of belts, wants an "oriental-style building" (complete with Japanese garden!!!). Certainly doesn't seem McDojo. He probably has a big collection of either anime or Kurasawa.
I met Hausel years ago and he seemed like an OK guy, and a very credentialed traditional karate guy. One thing I will say for him is that at that time, his group wasn't about money at all, as he was a tenured prof at the university and charged almost nothing - and I believe his class was a PE credit (I didn't take it). I can't vouch for his technique or denigrate it - I wasn't really good enough myself at the time to judge and I never worked out with them - but he's certainly sincere. In the time since, I've encountered other JKI people and had bad experiences.
It is fair to say he does get caught up in the formalities, ranks, the 'asian element' and he a sort of self promoting guy, although it's more a recognition thing then a money thing - as you can tell from his prices.
His group isn't sport focused, although they do eventually spar IIRC. I don't think they compete as a club, but I don't think he forbids it.
There was another group in Laramie at that time (1999) that were begining to train MMA style, but unf. I can't recall the name of the school. I fought in one or two small tournaments they put on locally that were decent experiences. I will look through my old materials for it and see if I can find it for you - then good luck on them still being in business.
Have you looked for a campus judo club? I think there is at least one in town. There's a really good guy in Cheyenne, too.
When I was in town I wasn't really satisfied with the options avaible too me, mostly because of time conflicts with my classes, but eventually found a couple of people to work out with. They would have all graduated by now, though - most of them were older then me.
The campus TKD club was at that time not something I could whole-heartedly associate with, but that might have changed. I don't know if they still exist.
If your goal is hard sport fighting, Seiyo Shorin-Ryu is probably not for you. If you want something cultural that might be useful, and you're aware it's in that order, it's almost free and a decent atmosphere.
Last edited by JohnnyCache; 3/01/2006 4:42am at .
Thanks for the information JohnnyCache. My goal with karate isn't hard sports fighting, just more or less an understanding of some of the basics. I only want to make sure that what I'm learning isn't completely worthless. I have heard about a MMA group around, but I haven't heard much about them and I'm still not entirely sure what MMA is (as I said I'm new to the whole thing).
What information would be of use in determining wether his instruction itself is **** or not?
Well, the actual articles on this site are a good starting point.
One of the reasons this site exists is because unlike say an item of consumer electronics or food, it is hard to tell if you're getting what you're paying for in martial arts. It takes a sense of several things that can be very subjective. Now, I liked the kids in the karate club when I was at UW - but I decided the class was not for me because it didn't have an emphasis on fighting.
If there is an MMA group, check it out. It will be very practical. "MMA" stands for Mixed Martial Arts and is the formal name for the style of fighting done in Pride, the UFC, and The Ultimate Fighter TV show (Don't worry, though - you can learn it without being a hulking tough guy - you don't have to start at the top)
I've found some more information on the instructor and the dojo in general. I'd like to get your thoughts on it if possible.
I must confess that Americans seem the most obsessed with Japanese titles. The actual "soke" of an Okinawan style, son of the Imperious Grand Poohbah who brought it to Japan and Okinawa, never used the title to my knowledge. He certainly signed his name with simply his name--no "kyoshi/hanshi/soke" crapolla after it.
To be frank, use of "soke" by Americans can be a sign of "bullshido," but it is also a sign of "needs ego justification."
There are a number of questions I think you need to ask:
Why Do You Wish to Train?
You seem to give some answer to this--you are not interested in destroying everyone in the bar, winning the UFC, picking up chicks, et cetera. More seriously, does this school seem to meet those needs? To be very honest, unless there are tons of "hidden fees," ~$40 a semester is cheap for martial arts training. This very much suggests to me that "MacDojo" or "making $$" is not the goal of the teacher/school.
Why Did the Teacher Form his Own Organization?
Any teacher should be willing to discuss his credentials. Shorin Ryu is a very respected Okinawan style which has two branches . . . Kobayashi and . . . Matsuburyashisomethingorother . . . "the other one." To my limited knowledge, both are variations on a theme. The point is that both have a respected lineage on Okinawa and in the United States. You should research it. There is a lot of literature there both on the internet and in stores about "what" it is. Is this teacher teaching "what" it is?
The teacher should be clear about "why" he has his own organization. Sometimes Okinawan organizations grant it. The heads of such do not tend to call themselves "soke" though! It is not like they invented the style! He might have a good reason--"I wanted to explore such-and-such, the guys in my organization did "this and that" which he disagreed with. He should be able to explain that.
What Do You Have to Lose?
If the place is not a MacDojo so you will not lose a lot of $$ and if it is not a Bullshido, the only risk is that you spend 3-4 years studying something worthless. "Worthless" depends on what you want out of a traditional martial art. If it is just "something neat to try," what is the big deal? If you plan to contiue somehow, you may have the problem--may--in that what you learned is not good Shorin. In that case, you run the risk of walking into a Shorin school and having to "fix" a lot of things.
Doing some searching here are a few links for people who might be able to help you with lineage questions:
I used to live in Laramie. Its a great town, but it is not exactly a mecca for martial arts. There is a judo club in town though. I do not think they have a website, but you should check it out.