Every Black Belt remembers the time when martial arts became a passion. It happened to Fariborz Azhakh at age eight. His brother took him to see a Bruce Lee movie, and to this day he can close his eyes and feel the emotion that overwhelmed him as he watched the screen. At that moment Fariborz Azhakh totally fell in love with the power of martial arts, but it would be many years before he found the physical and spiritual paths to Black Belt. Once he began that journey, however, the martial arts and the art of teaching became the central element of his life.
Bruce Lee gave Fariborz Azhakh inspiration, but the following years were filled with frustration because there were no martial art schools near his home. He finally realized his dream after moving to California and having the good fortune to discover Steve Sexton’s Hapkido school in Canoga Park. Through Steve’s selfless guidance Fariborz Azhakh achieved his Black Belt in 1981 and he became an assistant instructor at the school. In those early years he viewed instructing as a sideline, remaining focused on his personal training. With time and maturity he grew nearer to the spiritual and philosophical center of the martial arts and he began to realize the tremendous personal rewards of teaching. After some months of uncertainty, Fariborz Azhakh decided to completely redefine and reshape his life, and at Steve Sexton’s urging, he took on the role of school owner and became a professional instructor of Hapkido.
Fariborz Azhakh named his school Team Karate Center because he became devoted to the idea that the instructors and the students should work together, as a team, so that each student could find and create their “individual art” within the traditions of Hapkido. He believe that no matter what individual qualities a student has – natural talents or special challenges – there is profound value in the martial arts for everyone. Consequently, the elementary principles at their school are centered on the teamwork required by all of them – teacher, instructor, student and parent (for younger students) – to identify and advance this value.
Currently, the school follows a multi-cultural approach that is grounded in function and usefulness. In the basic program they focus on traditional physical skills, and they stress the development of individual responsibility and core character strengths. Advanced students are introduced to an extension of Hapkido that Fariborz’s calls Blend. From the very early years his training was based on the concept of “thinking outside the box.” He evolved Blend, in this way, to move from style-based techniques to versatile, range-based frameworks. This combines Hapkido with certain aspects of Brazilian and Japanese Jujitsu, American Boxing, Wing Chun and the Filipino arts.
Over the past 30 years Fariborz Azhakh’s physical and spiritual advancements have been influenced by many remarkable people. He has had the cherished privilege of studying with Grand Master Ji Han Jae. He is and will always be, indebted to Master Steve Sexton and he continues to extend his personal growth with the generosity of David Meyers (grappling) and Ron Balicki (Filipino martial arts: trapping, stick and knife techniques).
As a teacher, Fariborz Azhakh has always viewed learning as a fun and rewarding experience. He looks to this philosophy, within the discipline and tradition of Hapkido, to inspire and motivate the students and the assistant instructors at their school, and he offers the multi-faceted challenge of Blend to give advanced students a contemporary martial art that is filled with unique insight and reward.
For more information about Fariborz Azhakh and Team Karate Center visit their listing on the Martial Arts Schools and Businesses Directory by clicking on the image on the left.