Five Lahaina karate students earn black belts
LAHAINA – The Lahaina Dojo of the Japan Karate Shotokai (formerly the Japan Karate Association) was established in 1983 under the guidance of Sensei Jeffrey “The Hulk” Zaugg. The gregarious “Hulkster” grew the organization at Lahaina Civic Center during the years leading up to the turn of the century and drew hundreds of men, women and children from all walks of life to experience the life-changing benefits of the traditional Shotokan martial arts system.
Sadly, Zaugg Sensei passed away unexpectedly, and his assistant, Walter Chihara, assumed leadership of JKS Lahaina Dojo.
Along with assistant Glen Delatori, Chihara Sensei, Yondan (fourth-degree black belt), has maintained the dedicated, gentle and jovial approach to teaching karate that Zaugg Sensei had so successfully established at the LCC.
The nonprofit club continued to flourish under Zaugg’s influence into the new millennium to its present status of some 50 active students ranging in age from five to 69.
“Hulk was, and always will be, a mentor of happiness,” said Chihara. “Wherever you might meet him – in the dojo, at work at the Lahaina Chart House, out in the water surfing, or now up in God’s Kingdom – he will bring out the joy of life and of living.”
Part of the joy that Hulky paid forward comes with the satisfaction of watching students persevere in Shotokan Karate to attain the coveted Dan, or black belt, rank.
Most recently, on Aug. 19, five Lahaina Dojo students tested for Shodan, or first-degree black belt, before JKS Hawaii Chief Instructor Charles Lee, Shichi Dan (seventh-degree), of Honolulu and a panel made up of Chihara and assistant instructors Delatori (Second Dan), Dave Barca (First Dan) and Randy Ginoza (Second Dan).
Longtime Lahaina Dojo members Andy Pike, Jacob Akebono Arakawa, Andrea Alvarado Cruz, Christopher Salem and Kai Shively, ranging in experience from five to 25 years, endured the grueling, nerve-racking examination in the LCC physical education room.
The test included kihon (basic technique), kata (forms) and kumite (sparring). For the basic portion of the exam, the students were instructed to perform various blocking, striking and kicking techniques from several stances.
For kata, the examinees were asked to perform three kata, including two random choice forms, and then the students’ favorite.
The kumite session was based in free one-step sparring, which is a pre-arranged, single attack, and a defense counter regimen.
At the conclusion of the examination, Lee Sensei stated that the students had moderate success, but all needed to relax more.
“Everybody needs to relax, especially the adults, while the younger students taking the exam need to channel their energy in the proper way,” he commented. “After review, we can say that all five have passed and have earned the rank of Shodan.”
Pike, who works at Duke’s Beach House at North Beach, has been practicing at Lahaina Dojo for 25 years.
Arakawa started around 2001, took some time off, and then returned this year in his drive to attain Shodan ranking. He works as a chef at Kaanapali Ocean Resort.
Andrea, 12, the daughter of Nadia and Antonio Alvarado Cruz, is a seventh-grader at Lahaina Intermediate School who has trained at the Lahaina Dojo for seven years.
Kai, the son of Chiori and Dave Shively, is nine and a fourth-grader at King Kamehameha III Elementary School who has practiced karate for five years.
Christopher, nine years old, also has been at Lahaina Dojo for five years. He is home schooled by his parents, Chea and Chris Salem.