Stephen (Steve) Fasen Sensei (ASU Rokudan), Saotome Ueshiba Juku
Chief Instructor of Shindai Dojo…
Stephen A. Fasen was formally educated in Minnesota, attending St. John’s University, St. Cloud State College and St. Cloud State University. While little of his christian parochial education showed potential, he did eventually graduate with a BS in Art Education (K-12) and a fine Arts MA+40 in Ceramics & Watercolor. Leveraging the degrees on teaching, and jeopardizing the intellectual development of Sr/Jr. High school students, he developed art education curriculum and taught in the 70’s. During that period he had his first physical brush with Japanese culture, studying ceramics in Japan under the late living national treasure Tatsuzo Shimaoka.
Teaching proved to be spiritually rewarding, but detrimental to his financial expectations, so Fasen Sensei abandoned the college teaching offers to embrace business pursuits. He founded Fasen Arts, Inc., going into private business in 1979. He has continued to be involved however in secondary and post-secondary education through sponsored scholarships, program support, as a lecturer and as partner in education. In addition, Fasen Sensei active has always been active with a number of community charities, memberships in community organizations, a veterans MC, and Rotary.
Steve Fasen Sensei was introduced to Budo and Japanese martial arts by a fellow high school instructor, who was a Sandan in Shotokan Karate. He started training JKA Shotokan in 1980 under Scott Karakas and the late Robert Fusaro Sensei (8th Dan). Fusaro Sensei was the primary student of the late Hidetaka Nishiama Sensei, who was a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi. Steve received his Yudansha ranking from Hidetaka Nishiama Sensei starting in 1987, continuing training through about 1992. In 1988 Fasen Sensei moved to Orlando, Florida. In 1989 Steve was introduced to Aikido and encountered Dennis Hooker Sensei. After a cautious beginning he found the elements that had been missing in his personal Karate training and settled in to train Aikido full time.
Fasen Sensei trains throughout the US, and abroad. Besides his teacher (the late Dennis Hooker Sensei ), primary influences include M. Saotome Shihan, Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan and the senior instructors of the ASU. Significant influences have been Frank Duran Shihan, Francis Takahashi Shihan, George Ledyard Sensei, Kevin Choate Sensei , Greg O’Connor Sensei, Todd Jones Sensei … really, everyone he has trained with over the last quarter century+ in Aikido. In addition, the extensive relationships with a diverse group of Aikidoka and instructors around the country (and abroad) have made his training rich and rewarding. He owes them all a debt of gratitude that can not be met by anything but continued sustained effort.
Fasen Sensei continues to train actively as a senior Yudansha in the ASU.
In 2012 Fasen Sensei was instructed by Saotome Shihan to wear his Ueshiba Juku designation.
The Ueshiba Juku designation is awarded by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan to selected senior students and instructors in recognition of their loyalty and dedication to building ASU and promoting O Sensei’s vision. It declares that they are not only true deshi (direct disciple) of Saotome Sensei and inheritors of his teachings, but are also part of O Sensei’s own school and pure lineage as only a true Uchi Deshi of O Sensei can recognize. The status is indicated by special kanji worn on the formal Dogi of the authorized individual, and is an honor independent of specific rank or Shihan status.
Steve Fasen currently resides in Windermere, Fl with his gorgeous wife of 47+ years, surrounded by an ever demanding group of 7 grandchildren. He happily applies his Aiki principles to community, a great extended family, wonderful children. He readily claims that “Life is Good”.
Train always. In this moment and the next… expand your mind, challenge your body to establish the integrity to house a powerful spirit. Make your posture reflect the nobility of effort and Budo. Empathize and serve others when you can. Sit when you can no longer stand. Rest fully when you are dead. SF