PAXTON — Jasen Hawn began learning shudokan, a sub-style of karate, when he was 13 years old, eventually obtaining first-degree black belt status at age 21.
But his training in martial arts did not stop there, as he also learned techniques in judo, shorin-ryu, kung fu, kano jiu-jitsu and goju-ryu over the years.
His familiarity with those six styles of self-defense led him to create his own style, which incorporated all of them into one.
Sho-jutsu, he calls it.
“I’ve meshed them,” the 49-year-old Elliott man said, “to where you still have the hard hitting and the hard blocks of the shudokan, but you also have the fluidity of the kung fu styles and the ground techniques of goju-ryu.”
Hawn is now teaching his unique style of self-defense to area residents. On June 1, Hawn opened Hawn’s School of Instruction at 214 S. Market St. in downtown Paxton, where he teaches sho-jutsu to its members each weekend.
“In a street situation where you get taken by surprise and you end up on the ground and someone’s hitting you, I teach how to keep yourself straight and how to get out of that — how to get out of anything, whether it be weapons or just hands,” Hawn said.
Translated from Japanese, sho-jutsu means “multiple technique,” Hawn said. Its base style — shudokan — is an aggressive style involving kicking and punching that is designed to take out the aggressor in a single strike, Hawn said.
Hawn has been teaching sho-jutsu for many years and in practically every town where he and his wife of 23 years, Angel, have lived. Prior to moving to Elliott six years ago, the couple had “moved around quite a bit,” with stops in Mahomet, Urbana, Rantoul, Ludlow and Arkansas, Hawn said.
But they expect to call Elliott home for many years into the future, and they hope the success of Hawn’s new dojo only grows, allowing him to eventually quit his regular full-time job at Area Disposal in Rantoul.
“This is something I want to do for the rest of my life,” Hawn said. “Plus, this is something I’m hoping to pass down to my son,” Chayton, a 17-year-old incoming senior at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School.
The Hawns’ son is one of the “six to eight” members currently enrolled in Hawn’s School of Instruction, Jasen Hawn said. Chayton is also one of three members who have already advanced from white belt to yellow belt in just the first month the dojo has been in operation in the 1,600-square-foot space in downtown Paxton.
“He’s extremely interested and extremely good, too,” Hawn said.
The dojo is open from 1 to 8 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, with one hour of instruction offered at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. each of those days and “open dojo” offered during the other hours it is open.
If the “school gets big enough,” Hawn said, it will be open six days a week. Hawn said he needs at least 40 members for that to happen.
Membership costs $100 per month. There is a startup fee for new members, as well, to cover costs of a gi. Membership fees are reduced by $20 for each additional family member who signs up. Also, referring a friend gives a member a $20 discount on the following month’s membership fee.
In addition to his regular weekend classes, Hawn is also planning to offer an eight-week self-defense class that will teach the basics of sho-jutsu.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of Hawn’s School of Instruction or enrolling in the self-defense class can call Hawn at 217-379-6160 for more information.