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THROUGH THE DECADES:
1950's Born at the dawn of the decade. Bill Shaw first acquired an interest in Martial Arts at the exceptionally young age of 6 years old.
When asked how it all got started, Mr. Shaw recalls, "I saw a Lassie TV Show where a visiting Japanese boy is being picked on by a group of bullies. After they bring out the sling shots and start hitting him with rocks, he defends himself and throws one of the bullies with Tome Nage (circle throw). You know, the foot in the stomach, go down to your back, and throw him over your head. This really got my attention.
However, back then, martial arts schools just didn’t exist. And other than boxing and wrestling there were no Martial Arts magazines - and hardly any books were available on the subject. Absolutely nothing in our local library.
I was left with the hope of a magazine article on Self Defense, or catching a TV episode that might contain the subject somewhere in the story. Eventually, I discovered the old “Mr. Moto” movies from the 30’s (they were sometimes replayed during off times at the theater and once in a while on TV). He was an investigator from Japan with Columbo-like insights, and he knew Ju-Jitsu! It didn’t take long for Mr. Moto to join Tarzan, Roy Rogers, Zorro, Robin Hood, Batman, and Superman as my favorite childhood heroes.
Later, my 6-years-older brother and I found an advertisment on the back of a comic book for a Ju-jitsu booklet. When it arrived, it didn’t have any pictures and very few illustrations. We did our best to decipher the descriptions, but our size difference was a real obstacle for me being able to practice anything.
Remember, this is when almost no one knew anything about martial arts. I’m sure my technique attempts completely sucked, but amazingly I was able to pull off a partial move here & there amongst my grade school peers, giving me an early reputation as the kid who knows JUDO. But I didn't know much.
Back in those days, school yard fights were very common and due to the influence of my aforementioned heroes, I was always sticking up for others who were being picked on – especially the weaker or younger kids. Luckily, I always seemed to emerge victorious – even against the older kids.
This combat record probably didn’t help dispel the judo rumors – but I wasn’t winning because of Judo as much as because of my childlike belief that when you are on the side of Truth, Right, and Justice, a hero-like power can be accessed in the time of need. Something, by the way, I still believe to this day."
1960's During Bill Shaw's formative years, he participated in elementry school Football, Basketball, and Track. During his Jr. High years, he also had limited exposure to boxing, wrestling, and fencing. However, at this time, martial arts was but one of many interests.
Most of his childhood activities, throughout this decade, revolved around Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Trampoline, Competitive Diving, Skiing, Skateboarding, and a 60's version of what could only be discribed as Parkour. Such pastimes were key in giving him an extraordinarily high level of balance, flexibility, agility, coordination, spacial awareness, reactions, timing, etc. All of which would later prove to be extremely valuable advantages to his rapid martial arts development.
1970's At the beginning of this decade, he finally began formal training at a small Judo & Ju-Jitsu school on the outskirts of town. About a year later, in what usually takes 3-4 years, his Sensei sent him off to CA, to be tested in front the Federation Board of very high ranking examiners. As a result, Bill Shaw was awarded his Federation Black Belt in Danzan-Ryu Ju-Jitsu in Feb 1971.
Soon thereafter, he began moving around (for school and work). Always continuing on with his main interest by seeking out and training in several other systems. "Thus began a rewarding life of martial arts adventure and discovery."
Influenced by those few that had gone on before, but sill ahead of his time, and 23 years Before Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) came along, Bill Shaw was already teaching a highly advanced Freestyle form of Combined Fighting Arts at his 2nd school, in Oregon.
1980's He formed the HanFooWa Fighting Arts Federation as he continued as an Innovator and opened another successful school in Casper, Wyoming. He also became a Nationally Acclaimed Instructor, a Favored Martial Arts Author and Top Ten Rated Fighter - traveling several times a month, usually out of state, to fight in a tournament somewhere.
The 80's also brought the first of several Independent and Magazine Hall of Fame nominations & inductions, as well as editorial comments on his teachings, like this one from Karate Illustrated, "...a martial artist's most effective offense - as well as defense!"
He soon became established as one of the top martial artists in the nation! The major Martial Arts Magazines often acknowledged him as a leading pioneer in developing and promoting a controversial approach to Martial Arts Training known as the Eclectic Movement!*
1990's Bill Shaw was working in the Movies, and not just martial arts flicks. He performed his very first movie scene with Drew Barrymore as he stunt doubled for Martin Landau.. He also worked on Shootfighter I & II as well as the big budget block buster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III plus many more since. He also established yet another school in Spokane, Washington.
Throughout this decade, he made 21 Advanced Martial Arts Training Videos. Many of which became Top Best Sellers (some are now highly sought after as rare collectors classics). It's from the subjects and content of these videos, that he is sometimes refferred to as the Win Any Fight Guy! His acknowledgements continued - as in a Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated Cover Story about Shootfighting, the Executive Editor referred to Bill Shaw as a "Martial Arts Luminary!"
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2000's He had sold his schools and had now dropped under the radar as he stepped in to revive his elderly mother's business and care for her increasing needs. During this decade, with less time to workout & train, his martial arts focus turned even more to the academics of evaluation, research, development, and innovation.
2010's 5 World Championships! After the passing of his mother, (and now over 60 years old) he returned to physical training, and began honing his sparring skills back to prime status. Regularly besting black belts half his age, and with the advent of the "over 60 yrs old" fighting division - he decided to start competing again. However, after decades of close friendship with the Legendary Mike Stone, he now had a decisively elevated mental advantage over what he had possessed in the 80's. So this time, he set his sights beyond regional tournaments -- to the more prestigious of the National and World, Open Championships!
In 2014, Bill Shaw turned 63, and set a New Goal for Himself. To Win 5 Specific Top Tournaments. These were: 1. Golden Gate Internationals, 2. Pacific Jewel Nationals, 3. IMAC World Championships, 4. ISKA US Open World Martial Arts Championships, and 5. Long Beach Internationals. The first three, he won in 2014, but not before tearing up his shoulder in a freak occurrence - ending that year's competition. Taking a year to rehab, he competed in the last two "goal" tournaments in 2015 - Thereby, completing his goal of Winning All 5 Tournaments - In His First Attempt!
In 2017, Bill Shaw is returning to his first love of teaching martial arts, and sharing his esoteric knowledge.