The International San Ten Karate Association
The International San Ten Karate Association (国際三天空手道協会 "Kokusai San Ten Karate-Dō Kyōkai") was founded by Master Vincent Cruz and includes members from all of the world, from California to South America, to Canada and Europe. Master Cruz's vision had no boundaries or limitations as he sought to bring authentic and quality traditional karate training to those willing to work hard enough to realize the art's value.
Vincent A. Cruz was the founder and chief instructor of the International San Ten Karate Association (ISKA) and the International San Ten Martial Arts Federation (ISTMAF) with the rank of 10th degree black belt until his death in 2015. ("San Ten" refers to Cruz's "three heavens" philosophy.)
Cruz Sensei was 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 received his 10th dan from the Black Belt Council of the International San Ten Karate Association on November 7, 2009, to the cheering applause of his faithful students.
About Master Vincent Cruz
Vincent Cruz graduated from high school in 1954, and immediately joined the United States Air Force. The Air Force stationed him in Japan where he began karate training in March, 1956, under Kaigate O., (a student of Kyan Chotoku) in Ashiya, Kyushu, Japan.
In 1956, the Air Force transferred Cruz to Tokyo, Japan, where Isao Obata introduced him to Shotokan karate training.
In June 1959, Cruz was selected as a Combative Measure Instructor for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Measure Program held at the Kodokan Judo Institute, in Tokyo.
During this time, Cruz Sensei 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 Sensei continued his karate training under the direction of the Armed Forces Karate Federation under Master Hidetaka Nishiyama.
On May 10, 2002, Rep. George Radanovich ordered a US Flag flown over the capitol building in Washington, DC, in honor of the distinguished military career and lifelong contributions of Vincent Cruz Sensei.
Cruz Sensei is the author and publisher of several martial arts books. Read about them here. Master Cruz also maintained a blog for a brief period of time. You can find that here.
Some Thoughts on Hanshi Cruz' Legacy from His Students
"When I met Hanshi for the first time he was the only Master willing to share his knowledge and wealth. The true spirit of Martial Art. Here in Canada we are hooked on ISKA!" -- Gilles Lavigne, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei has a presence you can feel all the way across the room." -- Bruce Clayton, Sensei
"The spirit of traditional karate-do is alive and well when Cruz Sensei conducts a class." -- Randhir Singh Bains, Sensei
"The first time I met Cruz Sensei, it felt great. I knew he was legitimate in the Martial Arts. I had been waiting ten years to meet someone like him." -- Robert Stevenson, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei makes me dig deep into my soul for reserves that I didn't know exist for eternal growth." -- Armando Jemmott, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei creates an environment where everyone can develop to their fullest potential." -- Ricardo Llewelyn, Sensei
"Never the less the distance between us, Cruz Sensei has been a very good friend and a true Sensei in my martial and personal evolution. I hope I can learn more and more with him, his wisdom is proper of a great master. Thank you for everything, Sensei!" -- Miguel Dias, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei embodies the strength of the triangle in his art and his approach to people. The Mental, Spiritual, and the Physical, that is, Your Family ,Your Career, Your Karate." -- Gary Ellis, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei has taught me a deeper understanding of both karate and myself." -- John Morris, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei influenced me at a very young age in all aspects of karate and life." -- T. Alberto Harris, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei is the father of Shotokan Karate in Puerto Rico. He is an inspiration to us all in the island." -- Jardine Ashton, Sensei
"I first met Hanshi seven years ago and have been touched by his love, strength, camaraderie, and wisdom ever since. Thank you, Cruz Sensei!" -- Anisa Kinsey, Sensei
"The first time I met Cruz Sensei I knew that he was a genuine karate person and my respect for him continues to grow each time I meet with him." -- Jerry Fitzpatrick, Sensei
"Cruz Sensei embodies the meaning of Karate. The Art lives, walks, talks and breathes through his teachings. I thank you for the honor of being able to witness your lessons of enlightenment through this vehicle we call, the way of the empty hand..." -- Michael Jay Jackson, Sensei
Master Hidetaka Nishiyama
ISKA mourns the loss of Grandmaster Hidetaka Nishiyama, our mentor for more than 50 years.
Master Nishiyama passed away November 8, 2008, after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 80 years old.
Vincent Cruz was proud to count himself a student of Master Nishiyama for over 50 years.
On November 1, 2003, Master Vincent Cruz and the Yudansha of the International San Ten Karate Association formally recognized Master Hidetaka Nishiyama as Judan, the tenth and highest rank in traditional karate. In retrospect, we are proud to have extended the highest honor in karate while he was able to enjoy it. As far as we know, ISKA is the only organization to have made this gesture during the master's lifetime.
Master Nishiyama at first tried to turn aside the honor, but was moved by the heartfelt affection of the ISKA leadership. The framed certificate celebrated his life-long devotion to traditional karate, his research, and his continued search for the truth. (The judan certificate is shown to the right.)
On November 3, 2000, Master Hidetaka Nishiyama, Chairman of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) and President of the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF), was commended by the Japanese government for his worldwide promotion of Japanese culture as a Master Instructor of Traditional Karate.
Furthermore, Master Nishiyama was one of only eleven recipients from outside Japan that was honored at this year's ceremonies for their contributions to Japanese culture.
ISTMAF/ISKA sponsors an annual Masters Seminar weekend each November in memory of Nishiyama.