Traditional Japanese Karate Masters
We are extremely grateful to the legacy and teachings of the karate teachers that have paved the path before us. Martial art teachings have evolved over time and in the context of different cultural and political environments. We honor, respect, and strive to understand the roots and teachings of karate-dō and hope that through continuing to share the knowledge and wisdom of these teachers that the legacy of traditional karate-dō may continue to flourish.
Funakoshi is, of course, considered to be the father of modern karate. Born in Okinawa at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, he went on to introduce karate to mainland Japan in 1922. Funakoshi founded the Shōtōkan style and later went on to become the head of the Japanese Karate Association. He was the major proponent of using the kanji for "empty" (空) instead of the formerly used kanji for "China" (唐) in the writing of "karate-dō" (空手道), thus promoting an entirely different view of the meaning of the martial art to the increasingly nationalist country of Japan during the early 20th century.
Nishiyama Sensei was one of Funakoshi's last students. He was one of the major forces in bringing karate to the Western United States as well as to the rest of the globe. Nishiyama founded his own karate organization in the United States, headquartered in Los Angeles, called the International Traditional Karate Association (ITKF). His teachings have formed the foundation of modern karate training as we practice it.
Master Cruz founded the International San Ten Karate Association (ISKA) in 1979. Master Cruz began studying Karate while he was stationed in Japan serving in the United States Air Force. He began Karate training in March 1956, under Kaigate O., (a student of Kyan Chotoku) in Ashiya, Kyushu, Japan.
Shortly thereafter, the Air Force transferred Cruz to Tokyo, Japan, where Isao Obata introduced him to Shotokan Karate training.
He was later selected as a Combative Measure Instructor for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Measure Program held at the Kodokan Judo Institute, in Tokyo.
During that time, he was instructed in a comprehensive program by Masters Kyuzo Mifune and H. Kotani in judō; Masters Isao Obata and Hidetaka Nishiyama in Karate-dō; Master T. Tomiki in Aikido; and Master M. Hosakawa in Taijo-jutsu.
During this period, Cruz attained a Shodan in Judō and certification in Taijo-jutsu and Aikidō. Later he received his Shodan in Shotokan Karate. Upon returning to the USA, Cruz Sensei continued his karate training under the direction of the Armed Forces Karate Federation under Master Hidetaka Nishiyama.
Today Cruz Sensei is a 6th degree black belt in the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF) and the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) headed by Master Hidetaka Nishiyama, and a 6th degree in the Nippon Karate Do Kyo Kai. Cruz Sensei is the author and publisher of several martial arts books.
Cruz received his 10th dan from the Black Belt Council of the International San Ten Karate Association on November 7, 2009.
Master Cruz currently resides in Merced, CA.
Nishiyama Hidetaka 西山英峻 (1928-2008)
Funakoshi Gichin 船越 義珍 (1868-1957)
Master Vincent Cruz