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A Tribute To Hamabe: First Japanese Style Boxing Dojo Opens In Orange County

Photos courtesy of Hamabe Dojo.

Update 10/8/19: This article has been updated to include contact information and relevant dojo services.

Former UCI Electrical Engineering student Masaki Ogikubo opened a Japanese style boxing dojo while in school called Hamabe Dojo, meaning Beachside Boxing School, in the Irvine Business Complex on April 1st. 

Situated at Sky Park Plaza in Irvine, the dojo, a training center dedicated to a particular sport, provides membership training in traditional Japanese style boxing with a twist: a tutoring center for members is also provided to help them develop both physically and mentally. The goal is to create a space for students to not only learn boxing, but also communication and various life skills, interview and professional development, mathematics, and values such as respect, and discipline. Hamabe aims to give many transferable skills that mirror a multifaceted life. 

When training, they focus on these goals: helping the student develop a fit body, teaching self-defense skills especially for female students, developing aspects of boxing intuition such as judging distance, instilling confidence in participants, and giving students the opportunity to punch actual people. 

There are a variety of resources available including a head coach, personal trainers, tutoring services, and usage of punching bags, gloves, jump ropes, and a sparring boxing ring. Along with the professional trainer, older students are highly encouraged to teach juniors to foster a sense of collaboration and community. 

“We make senpais (teachers/leaders),”  Ogikubo says.

The main impact that Hamabe Dojo wants to leave on their students and the community is a spirit of mentorship. 

Tomoya Manaka, former ARC trainer, volunteer trainer at the dojo, and a personal mentor for Ogikubo, has seven years of amateur boxing experience and eight years of training and coaching experience. He also has a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and work experience as a salesman, which enhance the dojo’s tutoring services. While Ogikubo himself is relatively new to the boxing world, he has more than a decade of experience participating in sports, coaching students, and tutoring. Both men are passionate about boxing, citing it as a discipline, promoting a will to keep themselves motivated and moving forward through difficult times in their lives. 

What a first-time student can expect on their first day is an hour of training, starting with jumping rope warm-ups, which were stated to be the key tool for developing agility for new martial arts learners. After the jump ropes, hands get wrapped and basic stances and movements are practiced 

Ultimately, the much anticipated large white boxing gloves are brought out, and shadow boxing, which is punching in the air, is practiced so students can get adjusted to the equipment. Once air punches are mastered, sandbags are practiced on, then on each other, and finally with a dojo student. 3-minute boxing rounds in the ring were then given. Overall, Japanese style boxing was incredibly enjoyable and quite a workout. 

Apart from the training, students also got a considerable amount of advice. Important pieces of advice given to new martial arts students were to focus on technical skills and agility rather than building muscle and learning how to protect oneself through the  EKG self-defense method, in which one jabs at the eyes, knees, and groin to escape in an emergency scenario. The information was very applicable to life and Hamabe Dojo is a great place to train and talk to inspiring individuals.

For more information: 

Hamabe Dojo, Build 63 Suite F, 18103 Sky Park S, Irvine, CA 92614


Phone: (949) 409-1156   

Instagram: @hamabe_dojo