Sensei Cruz Highlights
Black Belt 7th Dan, Kyoshi Karatedo
Black Belt 6th Dan,Renshi Kobudo
Black Belt 2nd Dan, Shidoin Jujutsu
International Licensed Instructor by IMAF, Japan
IMAF/Americas Executive Branch Director
Chief Instructor United Alliance of Shoto Karatedo
Chief Instructor Okinawa Budo Kenkyukai
Represented Puerto Rico at the 5th World Traditional Karate Championship in Lima Peru in 1990
Inducted in the Latin American Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1997, and again in The Karate Voice’s Hall of Fame in 2001
Represented USA at the IMAF International Martial Arts Tournament in Japan in 1999, 3rd Place
Represented USA at the International Martial Arts Tournament in Japan in 2002, 1st Place
Sensei Cruz Biography
Jose Juan Cruz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 1959. He started his martial arts training as a child in 1968 in the island of Puerto Rico in the styles of Shorinryu under his uncle Julio Figueroa & Gojuryu Karatedo under a neighbor by the name Luis Gandia. However, it wasn’t until 1970 when he began training in Shotokan Ryu under Jorge L. Villodas Sensei. Training in those days was severe enough that only adult students were allowed in class, but his determination to develop himself into a stronger young man made him earn the privilege of staying in the class. By the time he achieved the rank of 6th kyu (an intermediate level), his sensei adopted him as an “uchideshi” (a living-in student). That was his most important accomplishment at that time. He reached the rank of Black Belt 1st Degree, "Shodan", at the age of 17, and started to run his sensei’s dojo. He not only ran the dojo successfully but also expanded to other cities of the island opening several dojo(s).
It was in the early 80’s when he, along with other Shotokan practitioners of the island founded the Puerto Rico Shotokan Karatedo Association (a Japan Karate Association affiliate, please see www.jka.jp) sponsoring all kinds of technical events. He was appointed Technical Director of this organization. Mr. Cruz also became co-founder of other martial arts organizations in the island such as the Metropolitan Karatedo Association (an affiliate of the former WUKO) and the Puerto Rico Traditional Karatedo Federation (an ITKF affiliate). His dynamic leadership, along with his competition career, gave him the opportunity of his life; to represent Puerto Rico in the 5th World ITKF Traditional Karate Championship in Lima, Peru, sponsored by the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee, acting as both an athlete and a delegate with the goal of requesting to host the Pan American Traditional Karate Championship, a request that was granted.
In 1992, Cruz Sensei moved and established himself in the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Realizing that there were not enough structured activities that involved the entire family in that area, he opened the Bethlehem Shotokan Karate Dojo. In addition, he continued providing support and advice to the karateka of his native island which he does to this day. In 1997, Mr. Cruz was recognized by the Hispanic Business Council and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the “Community Service Award” for his dedication on providing outstanding service to his community, mostly through Karatedo activities and programs such Karate for Inner City Kids (KICK) and Karate After School (KAS).
Mr. Cruz has taken the time to study other traditional Japanese martial arts such as Okinawa Kobudo, Nihon Jujutsu, Nihon Kobudo, Okinawa Kobayashiryu Shorinryu Karate and Goju Ryu Karatedo, and holds Black Belt "Dan" ranking in some of them. He has trained under some of the most remarkable teachers in the world. In order to reinforce his martial arts training he studies Japanese language and also traditional Chinese healing arts including Chi Qong.
Cruz Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of the United Alliance of Shoto Karatedo –Toitsu-Kai- (in 1994) and the Okinawa Budo Kenkyukai -OKIBUKAI- (in 2003) with dojo(s) in the United States and some other countries. The responsibility of leading these organizations, and others that he belongs to, keep him busy by travelling the world teaching technical seminars, providing leadership and empowering others.
His most recent journey started at the beginning of 2009 when he relocated to Orlando, Florida. He currently teaches Shotokan Karatedo, Okinawa Kobayashi Shorinryu Karate and Okinawa Kobudo at the Aikido Tenshinkai Dojo, and at the VFW Post 10139 in Chuluota. He looks forward to expand his martial arts program to other areas of Central Florida.
Regardless all these accomplishments, he has never stopped thinking of himself as an “eternal student” by embarking in the continuous study and training of the Martial Arts. He always embraces the concept of a “beginner’s mind” by emptying his cup whenever the opportunity arises.
Sensei Cruz is an active member of:
International Martial Arts Federation -IMAF-, Tokyo, Japan
International Karate Kobudo Federation -IKKF
Universal Martial Arts Association - UMAA
Okinawa Shorinryu Karate Kenkyukai - Shobayashikan
International Okinawa Kobayashi Shorinryu Ryukyukan Karate Kobudo Federation, Okinawa, Japan
All Ryukyus Full Contact Karate Association, Okinawa, Japan
Sensei Cruz is available to teach seminars at your own location. Seminars include a diverse list of themes and skills to address the needs of your students and population. Please, feel free to contact Sensei Cruz to train under his guidance