Chief Instructor Francis Hosaka had an aura about him, an attraction that made some of his Kajukenbo students look up to him as if he was their own father.
“He was almost like my dad in a sense that I was here almost as much as I was at home,” said Vance Pascua, student of Hosaka’s and founder of Ainofea’s Kauai Cage Match. “It kind of groomed me into the person I am today and that respect that I have for martial arts and what it can do.”
Hosaka passed away Sept. 19 at the age of 79, but his impact will continue to live on.
Born and raised on Oahu, Hosaka learned the martial art of Kajukenbo, a mixture of Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Kenpo and Chinese Boxing.
After spending one year at the University of Hawaii, Hosaka enlisted into the Air National Guard, a move which later landed him in Kokee in 1960.
Hosaka relocated his family to Kauai and in the process, brought the first Kajukenbo school to Kekaha in 1961.
“His dedication was always to try and make a better life for us,” said Shawn Hosaka, one of his three sons. “He use to work up at Kokee, shift work, 24 hours, then come back down for two days … sometimes we would hardly see him but the times we were able to spend with him was special because it was so little.”
Hosaka juggled spending time with his family, work and instructing Kajukenbo, and by 1963, had two more schools in Koloa and Lihue.
Hosaka was a patient man and hammered the core values in his home.
“He was strict, it was a real strict upbringing, but good,” his son said. “He instilled discipline, respect, family, and he was a humble guy. We try to follow that lead.”
And the values didn’t stop there as it followed him wherever he went and most importantly to his Kajukenbo classes.
Out of the 53 years since his school’s establishment, Hosaka has only given out about 40 black belts.
Pascua started at the age of 13 and is one of those black belts.
“He wasn’t going to give it to you. It was hard, it wasn’t given, it had to be earned,” said Pascua on why there are so few.
And the way he presented the art was different, according to black belt Mike Schmidt.
“His philosophy on training was strong on the basics, he would liken it to mathematics,” said Schmidt. “First you got to know what the numbers are. After you learn the numbers then you can learn to add and subtract, and once you learn how to add and subtract, then you can start multiplying.”
Hosaka was stern but treated everyone the same with respect and was always encouraging.
Pascua, now at 46 years of age, hosts MMA events to promote humility, control and humbleness to young fighters, values of which he learned from Hosaka’s classes.
Hosaka retired from the Air National Guard in 1992 and provided insight into the instruction of Kajukenbo leading up to his passing.
“His important thing was faith, humility and integrity,” said Ritchie Hosaka, another one of his sons. “He believed in those things, he lived by those things.”
Hosaka is survived by his four kids, Derek Hosaka, Ritchie Hosaka, Shawn Hosaka and Dawn Hosaka. Hosaka is also survived by his brother Eugene Hosaka, brothers-in-law, Stanley Nakamoto and William Holbron, sisters Barbara Troche and Pakela Hosaka, sister-in-law Harriet Spencer and his six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Friends may visit with the family today at St. Theresa Catholic Church from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Mass will be celebrated at noon with burial to follow at Kauai Veterans Cemetery.
• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.