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Senpai | Staci Hasegawa

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My Story

My martial arts training started when I was 9 years old in the Kaizen Shotokan Karate dojo under Sensei Bobby in Bonney Lake, Washington. I wanted to take karate because I was a half-Japanese girl raised primarily by my Caucasian mother, in an almost entirely Caucasian town, and I wanted to become more connected with my ancestry. I trained in Shotokan for about two years and competed in two tournaments placing 1st and 2nd in both the kata and point sparring divisions. After two years I left Shotokan and stayed away from martial arts until the summer of 2010 when I first trained at the Ellensburg Kyokushin dojo. I loved it and thus began my training in Kyokushin Karate. I have trained with Shihan Quitadamo and Shihan Campbell at the Ellensburg and Eastside respectively. I tested for yellow belt (2011) and brown belt (2011) and received my shodan (2012) under Shihan Quitadamo at the Ellensburg dojo. 

I have fought in two Kyokushin Challenge full contact and the Kyokushin Regional semi-contact open tournaments. I have served as Historian and Acting-President of the CWU Karate Club and remained actively involved with the club even after I graduated from Central Washington University. I have discovered I love teaching just as much as I love learning and have had the opportunity to lead many training sessions. I often feel as if I am learning more when I am “teaching” than I do as a student. 

What I have come to love most about Kyokushin is the philosophy of “osu”, the spirit of never giving up. This has played a big role in my life. I strive to share the spirit of “osu” every day through both actions and words. I have left it all on the mat at tournaments. I have helped coach fighters and encouraged students and teammates to give their all till the very end of a drill. I have climbed a 2,000 ft. pass in Peru, where my knees would have me give up and quit, but I kept going, tears and all. I have shared with friends the meaning of “osu” in order to help them make it up that same pass in Peru. I have been made to realize that while my body may not be 100% every day, I can still give 110% percent and grow as a student, an athlete, a martial artist, and as a person. To push, endure, to never give up. This is the philosophy of Kyokushin that resonates most strongly within my being. My Kyokushin family gave me this gift of knowledge and I just want to say thank you all for the time we share shedding blood, sweat, and tears in pursuit of the ultimate truth. 

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