Friday, June 19, 2015

Remembering Grand Master Frank Ruiz Founder of Nisei Goju Ryu

June 20, 2015 is the 20th Anniversary of the death of our beloved Grandmaster Frank Ruiz (Founder:Nisei Goju Original Style), Student of Grandmaster Peter Urban(Founder: USA/Urban Goju).  In 1969 Grandmaster Ruiz was struck by a car traveling at the speed of 80 miles an hour while changing a tire on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.      There was almost dead silence as we waited to hear about his condition. We thought we were going to lose him. The doctors were puzzled and could not understand why he was still alive. Grand Master cheated death with a distinctive style. His will to live kept him in the struggle of his life. Ruiz with a multitude of injuries, survived, and after a number of year on cructhes, discarded them and walked. I was honored to be part of his rehabilitation as his uke.  Soon after, some of the high ranking members abandoned the system to start their own stlye with their own name.  We wish them all the very best with their styles.  However, there are those who use the Nisei Goju moniker claiming to be the original style and/or those persons who have recognized another person as a grand master in the style after the passing of the grand master.  A friend once told me that if a person lies enough times, some will come to believe them.  One of my teachers once told me to lie to the liars.  I did not take his advice.  There are many versions of a lie but only one version of the truth.  If an instructor lies to his students about their art, what else are they lying about. We believe that usurpers are not impostors, just want be Nisei Goju persons, no matter who recognized them.  
Photo 1: Official Karate Cover April 1972
32 shots to the neck. ouch!!
Photo 2: A plaque I received from Grand Master Ruiz,  It reads:     
"Presented to 
For being my legs the three years I spent on crutches, I thank you and all the Black Belts in the sytem thank you.
I could have not made it without you.  
I served my grand master well!! 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Historical Goju Photographs

A couple of old photos from the days before USA & Nisei Goju.  Here in the first photo(Circa 1964.) We have then then Senseis Carlos Serrano and Chuck Merrimen as a Ni Dan. This photo was taken in a big hall on St. Marks Avenue in the bronx.      
  In the second photo we have Sensei Carlos Serrano in the first dojo that was blessed by Grand Master Ruiz as a Nisei Goju Dojo. The name of the dojo was Wa-re Sen Dojo(My instructor's dojo.)  The Wa-Re Sen Dojo was first establish Spanish Harlem on 110 street and Second Avenue in the Franklin Plaza Housing Development.  This where Grand Master Frank Ruiz was the head of security. In the photo with Sensei Carlos Serrano was Frank Rivera.  I remember the first  Dojo Shiai in Franklin Plaza.  The Serrano Brother(Joe and Carlos) did an awesome demonstration of Sanchin Kata, that ended up a self defense sequence.  More photos coming Soon! Respectful Hands, Wilfredo Roldan, Hanshi Nisei Goju International the Original.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Search for the Truth: Homeward Bound Road

I would like to rewelcome Sensei Sam Lewis back to the Nisei Goju System.  Sensei Sam  Lewis and I grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, aka Loisiada & Aphabet City.  We went to the same junior high school, high school and both started in the martial arts in the mid-sixties.  I quess you can say we go back to when the Dead Sea was sick.                                      Our search for the truth has led us on a journey of self discovery. Sensei Lewis trained with then instructor of Nisei Goju, Chaka Zulu, until he decided to leave the system to form his own style. Sensei Lewis  then went to Rico Guy's dojo for many years and found his way back to Nisei Goju International World Headquarters.  Sensei Lewis has always been a friend and always welcomed to our dojo.  He walked into the dojo giving proper respect, a big brotherly hug, and sat down next to me.  I asked him what was going on with this surprise visit.  He made a request to sport the Nisei Goju colors again.  I asked him, why me.  He told me he was tired of running around and wanted to come back home  to Nisei Goju.  I said, Brother Lewis, If Lebron James can go back home to Cleveland, Ohio. So can Sensei Sam  Lewis come back to Nisei Goju. This is his journey.                                                Sometimes our search for truth always leads us back home.  The road returning home had thorns we stepped on, our wounds will heal.  WELCOME HOME SENSEI LEWIS          

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Grand Master Frank Ruiz (1934-1995) R.I.P. the founder of the Nisei Goju System, taught many martial artists during his lifetime.  In the early seventies, GM Ruiz was in a near fatal car accident that almost took his life. After going through his recovery, a number of his high ranking black belts decided to pursue and develop their own fighting systems. There are also those who decided to continue their version of what the grand master was teaching. GM Ruiz taught in the Northeastern(NY Tri-state area ) and Southeastern(Florida)  coast of the United States.  GM Ruiz's only sensei was GM Peter George Urban(1944-2004) founder of USA Goju Ryu.  In Grand Master Ruiz's tenure a number of grand master have emerged from the Nisei Goju System. I will mentioned these masters that are in the photos below and the systems they founded.                          
 In the photo above Top Row: 1st from left to right is Grand Master Ronald Morgan Taganashi, founder of America-Te and 3rd from left is Grand Master Chaka Zulu, founder of Zujitsu Ryu.                                    
In the larger group photo above Top Row: 3rd from left, A grand master in his own right, Grand Master Herbie Thompson, leader of Nisei Goju's Thompson System, 5th from left is Grand Master John Giordano, credited with taking Nisei Goju to Florida is the founder of the Giordano Goju Do, 7th from left is Grand Master Harry Rosenstein, founder od Kan Zen Goju Ryu, 8th from left is my first goju teacher, Grand Master Owen Watson R.I.P, founder of Sung Lung Miu Goju Ryu.   Middle Row: 4th from the left is Grand Master Ron Van Clief founder of Chinese Goju Ryu.   Bottom Row: In white ghi 3rd from left is Grand Master Wilfredo Roldan is the present Seiko Hanshi of the Nisei Goju System, 5th from left is Grand Master Chaka Zulu(ZuJitsu Ryu).  I would like to wish them all, a happy holiday season and a  prosperous 2014.  So let it be written, so let it be done!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


With all due respect, I would like to send greetings and salutations to those brothers and sisters who travel east and do the work of the GRAND ARCHITECT OF THE UNIVERSE.
I got the magazine on ebay. It was a late day in May, that Grand Master Frank Ruiz and I shot the cover for the April 1972 Edition of OFFICIAL KARATE MAGAZINE. The photographer was Joe Griffin. His studio was on west 40th Street. I remember that day. It was raining that day and we got to the studio late and drenched from the rain. After having some coffee and something to eat, we got down to the business of the shoot. I was a young Shodan and very excited about doing the cover with my grand master. During the shoot the photographer decided to go with this photo. We used one roll of film, that 32 shots on the roll. Grand Master Ruiz had no facial expressions. Mr. Joe Griffin wanted the grand master to make a face expression for the shot. Joe said "Make a face, Frank". 32 shots were taken and I remember telling Sensei Ruiz "For gods sake, please make a face sensei". After all, getting slammed in the neck 32 times was no fun!! It was, to say the least an exhausting shoot. Proud to do the cover with then Sensei Ruiz, I will cherish that moment in martial arts history. For many years, I was the grand master's uki for many of his demonstrations. When we did our knife sequence, he would always insist that we use a live blade. That made it real, when most demonstrators did not use live blades. I cut the grand master twice during some of these performances. I would later be cut by one of my own students. As they say, the apple doesn't fall from the tree. This was old school training still being used at the NISEI GOJU RYU HOMBU DOJO. It very hard to train a good uki these days. Never the less, I enjoyed every minute we worked together. Rest in peace Grand Master Ruiz, we still work it in the same spirit and dedication. OSU!!!
Respectful Hands,
Hanshi W. Roldan
Nisei Goju Ryu
World Headquarters

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Sending respect to those brothers and sisters who travel east and do the work of the Grand Architect of the Universe!
On March 26, 2011, I will be doing a seminar in Miami. Hosted by Sensei Daniel Lemus of Nisei Goju Ryu and Hanshi Manny Saavedra
of Sansei Koryu Gojuryu Karate Organization. It will be an exciting event with many interesting people of the martial arts. I will also be doing an interview with the MARTAIL ARTS CHRONICLE documenting Nisei Goju Ryu and hopefully will be learning some new stuff myself. I look forward to meeting all the participants in Florida. Click on the flyer to enlarge, if you cannot read it. Any questions, please feel free to call me at (212) 674 - 6477

Respectful Hands,
Hanshi Roldan

Friday, November 26, 2010


I would like send respect to those who travel east and do the work of the Grand Architect of the Universe. On October 29, 2010, I left to the Dallas- Fortworth area of Texas. I was greeted by Shihan Ivan Lewis and taken to the city of Kennedale, home of the Busho Kai Organization. There, I did 4 mini seminars on Nisei Arnis Jitsu. Each session lasted about one and a half hours. I also attented a dojo demonstration and promotion ceremony. The workshops were divided by age and rank. I work with the children of the dojo as well as the adults. A great time was had by all who attended the work shops.
It was nice to see Shihan Lewis and his family of martial artists. It has been over fifteen years since my last visit. The family and Bushokai's growth in Texas was evident on my trip. A great group of black belt, students, and a wonderful dojo. Shihan Lewis's entire family is involved in the dojo in one way or another.
The demonstration and promotion ceremony was a great event with visiting grand masters, parents, students and the like. The students demonstrated syncronized katas, kihon and bunkai(applications). Then the promotion and awarding of the belts. Congratulations to all who were promoted. It was beautiful to see the growth of Shihan Lewis's family and his Bushokai System. Keep it going on, Shihan Lewis!!!!
Photos Above:
#1-Me and Shihan Lewis share a moment.
#2 Left to right: Master Dan McDonald(Super Kick Martial Arts), Sensei Sean McCann, Grand Master W. Roldan, Shodai John Hawk (Wado Shin ZenKai), Sensei Cynthia Lewis, Shihan Ivan Lewis, new Senior Renshi Susan Lewis-McCann, Hanshi Tom Sergent(Wado Shin Zen Kai), Sensei Rannie Ladner(Gulf Coast Shotokan).
Click on photo to enlarge.