Karazenpo Fresno was founded by Sifu Bruce Vasquez in 1990. Now a tenth-degree Grandmaster of Karazenpo, Sifu Vasquez has practiced martial arts since 1964 and has trained in a variety of styles, including Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Japanese Soryu, and weapons. In addition, Sifu Vasquez was a Federal Probation Officer, and developed defensive programs for both civilians and law enforcement personnel.
Karazenpo Karate has it's roots in a style begun in Hawaii. It was introduced to the Mainland in 1968, when the first Karazenpo Club was opened in California. Karazenpo is a hybrid of traditional karate and kung fu, as well as defensive tactics introduced by Sifu Vasquez.
Sifu Vasquez trained many people to the black belt level, and they, in turn, began dojos (training halls) in other cities. Karazenpo Fresno is associated with Karazenpo Clubs of California, and our school regularly meets with schools in other locations for belt testing, tournaments, and a variety of events.
In the late 1990s, Sifu Don Mroz, who studied under Sifu Vasquez, took over leadership of the Fresno club. Currently, five black belts teach at the Fresno club: Sifu Don Mroz, Fifth Dan; Sifu Jim Curran, Fourth Dan; Sifu Justin Sant'Agata, Second Dan; Siboc Isaac Laws, First Dan; and Siboc Cynthia Lopez, First Dan.
The Fresno Karazenpo club expands its karate base by incorporating elements of Sil Lum Kung Fu, Small Circle Jujitsu, Escrima, and self-defense training. The club strives to achieve a balance between honoring Karazenpo traditions (as expressed in club etiquette and ritualized shadowboxing forms known as "kata" and "pinon"), and providing students with a workable knowledge of self-defense. This approach has proven itself in real life when some of our students have successfully defended themselves against criminal attacks.
Members of the club have also taught self-defense through Clovis Adult Education, Fresno Pacific University, and other venues. Self-defense training, which is continued in the club, stresses the use of all available body weapons including the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet and head in ways that anyone can execute. Even though we teach a serious defensive martial art style, the club atmosphere is friendly, supportive and challenging.
Karazenpo Fresno is a nonprofit association with a low overhead, so we are able to offer classes at reasonable rates. Our current fees are $25 per month for one person, or $35 per month for a family. We meet Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 in the Zoe Eden Community Hall on the campus of St. James Cathedral in Fresno, located at the northwest corner of Dakota and Cedar.
Beginning a martial arts program is a big step, and people are understandably nervous about it. Therefore, we encourage you to come by and observe some classes, or work out with us to see if you enjoy it. Karazenpo Fresno offers a great way to get in shape, stay consistently fit, and learn viable self-defense skills.