Meet Hanshi Cyrus. He is the founder and Chief Instructor of the International Martialarts Association (IMA) and began his Shotokan karate training at the age of 12 years old. He organized and taught Shotokan karate programs and self-defense at several colleges and universities while pursuing his own academic education. He is an 8th degree Black Belt and currently a Pan American and World Karate Federation (WKF) karate referee.
Karate flows through the veins of the Madani family as both his children and his wife have all achieved incredible results at national and international competitions. Sensei Fariba Madani (his wife) was the first national karate referee from Colorado and the first U.S. female referee at the Pan American level, for both kata and kumite. She then became the first female referee from the United States at the World level, and achieved this distinction in November 2004 at the world championships in Mexico.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: I went to CU Boulder and at the time didn’t see karate as a full time career, it was only a personal hobby. In 1990, I started teaching karate at the Louisville Rec Center, where I saw a lot of demand from both kids and adults. In 1996, I decided to leave my engineering career and work full time as a martial arts school.
We are focused on helping kids and adults of our community, including those with various disabilities, conditions, and addictions. Karate helps and builds great confidence through balancing both the physical and the mental.
This is the first year (2020) that karate will be in the Olympics. We are very excited and my wife has been selected as one of the referees in Japan. She will be the only woman and only representing referee from our continent.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Louisville and Lafayette, and what do you love there?
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Louisville and Lafayette?
A: I have been here since 1979. I remember when South Boulder Rd was only two lanes with nothing on it.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I’ve had the opportunity to travel so much with karate, that I really like coming back home – this is my favorite place.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: The first movie I saw was a Bruce Lee movie called Enter the Dragon, and I still enjoy watching it.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Stay away from violence. It doesn’t matter how much you know about karate or martial arts. Karate teaches you self confidence and the best thing is to avoid violence. I would also say that we are blessed to be healthy and to be together. Try to help other people and enjoy life the best you can. And laughter is the best medicine!
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I hope to nurture this school and for my family to take over the business.
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: I’m not really into music that much. I’d probably say Kenny Rogers and John Denver.
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Louisville and Lafayette?
A: Sports are very big in this area, so anything that is related to athletics and sports comes to mind. My bank is downtown, my barber is downtown, I’m a judge in a parade… we have been here many years and are a part of it.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Louisville and Lafayette?
A: The people here are very open minded and health oriented. They are very friendly and helpful to one another.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: I call this place (referring to the school) my second home. I think of a place that feels safe, comfortable, and has positive energy.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Bruce Lee, he was my childhood idol.
Q: If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: An admin assistant to help me with the paper work at the office!