Vincent Cruz

Vincent Cruz

name = Vincent Cruz
birth_date = birth date and age|1937|3|9

martial_art =
teacher = Hidetaka Nishiyama, Kyuzo Mifune, Isao Obata
rank = 9th degree Black Belt

Vincent A. Cruz is an experienced martial artist, and an advocate of traditional Shotokan Karate.

Cruz is a certified martial art instructor and examiner under the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF) and the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF); both federations are headed by Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. Cruz is also the founder and chief instructor of the International San Ten Karate Association (ISKA) and the International San Ten Martial Arts Federation (ISTMAF). "San Ten" refers to Cruz's "three heavens" philosophy.

Cruz is a 6th degree black belt in the AAKF and ITKF, a 6th degree black belt in the Nippon Karate Do Kyo Kai, and a 9th degree black belt in ISKA and ISTMAF.

Cruz authored/co-authored two books regarding traditional karate.


Cruz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. He graduated from high school in 1954, and immediately joined the United States Air Force. The Air Force stationed him in Ashiya, Japan, where he began karate training in March 1956 under Kaigate O. (a student of Kyan Chotoku). In 1956, the Air Force transferred Cruz to Tokyo, where Isao Obata introduced him to Shotokan karate training. In June 1959, Cruz was selected as an Instructor for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Measure Program held at the Kodokan Judo Institute. During this time, Cruz was instructed in a comprehensive program by Masters Kyuzo Mifune and H. Kotani in Judo; Masters Isao Obata and Hidetaka Nishiyama in Karate-do; Master T. Tomiki in Aikido; and Master M. Hosakawa in Taijo-jutsu.

During this period, Cruz attained a Shodan in Judo and certification in Taijo-jutsu and Aikido. Later he received his Shodan in Shotokan Karate. Upon returning to the USA, Cruz continued his karate training under Hidetaka Nishiyama.

Cruz received a Bachelor's degree in Education from the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1984.

On May 10, 2002, Rep. George Radanovich ordered a US Flag flown over the capitol building in Washington, DC, in honor of Cruz's distinguished military career and lifelong contributions.


Cruz authored/co-authored two books on traditional karate: (1) "The San Ten No Kata", and (2) "The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi".

"The San Ten no Kata" is a series of five drills for students of Shotokan karate. The drills introduce most of the techniques used in the traditional Shotokan katas in a natural sequence of study that progresses from white belt to black belt levels. Each drill exercises ten specific hand and foot techniques, with an emphasis on balanced development on the left and right sides. Each drill is similar to a vigorous 100-step kata. The drills can be used as basic instruction, as warm-up exercises, as tests, and for spirit training. Cruz co-authored this book with Bruce D. Clayton.

"The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi" contains Cruz's discussions of karate concepts and philosophy, including Gichin Funakoshi's famous maxims (Niju kun).

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