Martial Arts Brotherhood

Ous Sensei!   What an honor; I feel very privileged to share my experience with you. When I was 14, I was introduced to Shotokan and Goju in the South Bronx. I trained in a basement church under Lamar Thorton & Bradford Gonzales 3X week for 6 years achieving my Brown Belt. Then I joined the United States Coast Guard (USCG) 1976 and a year later, I met Frank "The Tank" Ramirez in Petaluma, CA where my vision of the martial arts changed dramatically.  All of my family and martial arts friends know of you I told them all the stories of Dennis and I; and how we trained 4X week; pure kumite and techniques! As you remember, I had an abrupt change of heart and stopped training to begin Yoga...from one day to the next.

Looking back, I had some inner conflicts that I had to work through and was my time to envelope the entire martial arts experience.   I returned to training on my own while in the USCG then in 1989, I left the USCG and joined the Department of State's Foreign Service.   My first assignment was Malawi Africa.   While there I used my Coast Guard duffle bag as a heavy bag and taught a group of around 7 students.   Then I got transferred to Brussels Belgium (1991) where my first taste of Aikido.   This young Belgian female instructor used Aiki techniques (reminded me of your techniques) and kept me in joint lock pain.   Later I was transferred to Brasilia, Brazil.   There I trained in Aikido (Monday & Wednesday), Kendo (Tuesdays & Thursdays) and Hapkido (every day at lunch time).

My next assignment was the Republic of Panama where I started teaching again to a group of friends.    It was fun because of the training I had learned throughout the years was taught in one session; we would do Aiki-jitsu, punching and kicking as you taught it; another pure kick boxing (I did that in Mexico) and Jo staff.  This was a wonderful experience Sensei because I could see the progress of students that previously knew nothing and now we’re doing techniques and kumite.  Then I got transferred to The Hague in Holland where I learned a little Penchat Silat (just 6 months).

Only the Sifu knew that I had previous it was fun to see their faces when we sparred.  They expected white belt techniques (since I wore a white belt) but it was funny when a hook kick passed their noses! Ha!

After that I went to Iraq for a year and pretty much trained on my own.  Some Army personnel had a heavy bag and I used it with my weird hours of work.  In 2008 I landed in Washington and found the Capital Area Budo kai.   Funny, I was always around swords and thought I knew enough about swords until I met this group. 

This group is dedicated to the preservation of traditional Japanese weapons.   No Karate, Judo, Aikido...etc; only beautiful traditional weapons like Katana, Jo staff, Japanese Bow and Arrow, Naganita & Kendo.  I felt like a white belt again.......sort of when I met Sensei Frank for the first time.  This group was studying samurai techniques that dated back to the 1600 hundreds and passed down through the generations.  The founder of our particular style (now deceased) Nakamura Taizaburo created Nakamura Ryu Batto-do as his interpretation and tweaking of other sword arts.   He discarded what was no longer relevant - such as fighting from a kneeling position and created Nakamura Ryu as a sword art that presents the first cut as you are drawing the sword out of the scabbard (saya).  

This particular style is based on Hapo-giri, which is to say, 8 stances, 8 sword positions, 8 cuts and 8 noto (re-sheathing the sword); everything else is a variation to this 8.  This is symbolic of the 8 basic brush strokes of calligraphy.  Nakamura Taizaburo sensei died in 2003 and was my sensei’s sensei.

Here's a link about the origins of the style:

I was hooked and in less than six months went to Japan for my first Tai Kai (competition).   We trained for 3 days (9am - 5pm).   The next day was the Tai Kai competition!   I didn't place but did well scoring a 248 out of a possible 300.  The competition was international and you had to perform 3 kata’s, demonstrate 3 mat cuts, and participate in team cutting and Kumitachi - which is a two man kata.

Funny thing Hanshi Frank; is that through all this training in violence, I have learned the most important lesson of all and that is as Bruce Lee used to say, the art of fighting without fighting. To me, it's no longer about defending one's ego and defeating your opponent; it's about our inner struggle and defeating oneself.   I am grateful for key people like yourself; who have influenced me as a young man and continue to do so!  In deepest respect, I say OUS!

Yudansha Joe Ortiz

Capital Area Budo kai

Welcome to the Capital Area Budo kai in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC! The Budo kai is dedicated to the proliferation of Japanese Budo - Martial Ways - and available for demonstrations at Japanese cultural events. We are students of Kendo, Atarashii Naginata, Kyudo, Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo, Nak...

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