"12 Basics..." Guro Alex Ormaza

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
— Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Who are you?

Alex Ormaza. Colombian born, Jersey made, North Carolina resident since 1996. I’ve been around the Sun 38 times.

How do you define yourself?

I’m a God-fearing man who’s fathered two boys with my queen of almost 21 years. I keep love in the face of hate and am passionate about maximizing every new day I am blessed with.

My mantra is Kaizen; continual and incremental growth. I am fueled by a life-long addiction to adrenaline and soothed by the medicine of music. I respect mother Earth and believe in humanity. I always project positive energy wherever I go.

The core of my being is best defined as a truth-seeker who has an infinite thirst for knowledge, wisdom and understanding of all things. Because of this, I am a student, first and foremost. Even though I am a teacher to many, I never take off my humble learning hat.

I first learned to teach and now I teach to learn.

Fun times with the Ormazas!

Fun times with the Ormazas!

What's your story?

Well, this is not an easy answer for me. I’ve never really articulated my past on paper, nor on a public forum. However, my story is deeply rooted with experience. To know my past is to know me. So I felt compelled to share more than just a brief summary for this project. I wanted to give everyone a mask-less look into my life and how it has shaped me into the man you see today.

To know my past is to know me. So I felt compelled to share more than just a brief summary for this project. I wanted to give everyone a mask-less look into my life and how it has shaped me into the man you see today.

My family came to America from Colombia, seeking the classic American dream. I was raised by hard working parents that nurtured us with tough love and discipline. Naturally, we lived in poor neighborhoods during those first few years while my parents built up their economic status.

We moved a lot while I was growing up, each time a little further from the hood until we finally made it into middle class suburbia. Each move put me into a new town, new school, new friends and new bullies. This process also introduced me to the “new kid on the block syndrome” that landed me into more fights than I care to remember. In fact, when my parents were stoked about upgrading our lifestyle, which undoubtedly meant moving, I was not! I was riddled with fear and anxiety because I knew what was coming.

My sister, who is 4 years my senior, would come to my rescue all the time. She, too, went through the same process and had acquired some serious street fighting skills! Like a video game super technique, she had one too; grab their hair (this was the 80’s so there was lots of it) and she would pull their head at an angle similar to a karate middle block, hold it there, then rifle off about 30 punches in 4 seconds flat. It was devastating. It was real! In fact, it was so spectacular watching her fight that I would pick fights with older kids on purpose, just to watch her in action! This is a confession I only recently made to her out of fear of the repercussions.

The American dream my parents were working ever so hard for, came with the purchase of a house that landed us in the quaint little town of Middlesex, New Jersey. It was a small, suburban town where everyone knew everyone. Jocks, preppies, metal heads and homies all sat together at lunch. Because of where I had lived in the past, I identified best with the jocks and the homies; often times they were one and the same.

After living in our home that signified the pride and joy of our immigrant family’s hard work for almost 4 years, my parents decided to become even more American than ever, by getting a damn divorce! At 14 years old, it was time to move, yet again. I was devastated, yet filled with the all too familiar fear and anxiety of having to move to a new town. Emotions I thought were laid to rest, once we had achieved our highly coveted American dream, were now grasping my heart with the grip of a gorilla. Edison, New Jersey, here we come; without my dad.  

Even though I had bounced in and out of martial arts since the age of 5, it wasn’t until 8th grade that I got serious about my training. Growing up, I had honed some practical street fighting moves that revolved around hitting first, body slams, using objects around me and primitive ground and pound. However, due to the progression of violence I was now encountering, I felt it wasn’t enough.

I was living in Edison, NJ and fights now involved larger groups and weapons. People were getting jumped, stabbed and shot at a much more frequent pace than I was used to. Within the first year, (again, that dreaded new kid on the block syndrome) I had been jumped and maced by this Venezuelan kid and his brother over a girl I was dating. I had a friend with me at the time that fought back hard, knocking out one of their teeth, which unfortunately pissed off his whole family and friends from high school. One day, his entire crew showed up to my middle school like a scene from Gangs of New York. They were armed, pissed off and meant to do me some serious harm. Luckily, the police were quickly involved, several got arrested and the drama was squashed after some diplomatic conversations between our parents and the police.

My life changed that day forever! I knew that my necessity to fight had become a passion for the truth of the art. It was like a warrior spirit engulfed my soul and urged me to seek out the truth about all of its components, so that I could survive the toughest situations, against the toughest people. I was certain that my life would forever be on this path. Little did I know that it would take me around the world, introduce me to the most amazing people and ultimately, plant the seed of my legacy that I was to nurture for the rest of my life.

My life changed that day forever! I knew that my necessity to fight had become a passion for the truth of the art.

Through my hardships, I knew I had become too rebellious and angry. I walked around with a huge chip on my shoulder over the divorce and would pick fights and even bully others as a way to feel strength and vent my frustration. My dad was depressed, drinking like a champ and I hardly ever saw him. My mom was working unbelievable hours as a single parent, making ends meet for her three kids. My mom is my hero and inspiration for being who I am today, but she is also human and made some life changing mistakes -  like marrying a derelict drunk that would verbally and physically abuse her, ultimately bringing all of us almost 15 years of problems.

One day, I had enough of this piece of garbage and I hit him in the head with a baseball bat, just as he clutched her pajamas with his left hand and began loading his right fist. I knew at that moment that I had it in me to actually kill another human. This toxic relationship lasted many years, including several more altercations where as a teenager and a young adult, I would occasionally have to ferociously beat this man up. I still feel a very dark spot in my heart over those grueling years. Funny how life is, though. Eventually she would divorce this Ogre of a human and re-marry my father, almost 20 years later. An episode that still seems surreal to this day.

I knew at that moment that I had it in me to actually kill another human.

Shortly after the baseball bat incident, at 17 years old, I dropped out of high school as a second-year freshman, and set out to learn as much about myself as I could. I knew I had to conquer my own demons in order to move forward! The anger, fury and resentment I had built up inside of me was toxic. It was holding me back from achieving greatness. I had issues with authority, I was drinking underage and doing drugs, plus I had a serious issue trusting people. I knew I had to break through this terrible rut in my life, in order to flourish and not end up in jail or strung out on drugs, like so many others I knew.

This decision led my skateboard and I through the streets of New York City and New Jersey for a couple years. I gathered knowledge about the people around me, the places that influenced me, the music that resonated within me and the experiences that God provided for me. I became an addict for books and music, and spent most of my money on them. I was seventeen years old and had just met my girlfriend who would later become my bride, mother of my boys and best friend for life. My favorite part of those years was realizing that art was oozing from every nook and cranny. Street performers, subway musicians, back ally graffiti bombers, passionate poets and even eccentric fashionistas would all intrigue me, inspire me and ultimately motivate me to nurture my own creative soul.

Guro Ormaza passing his skills on to the next generation

Guro Ormaza passing his skills on to the next generation

The streets taught me that I should question everything, trust with verification and to surround myself with truth-seekers, mentors and teachers. I learned that making your way in life required serious sacrifice, taking risks and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s where the magic always seemed to happen! In addition, my faith in God was forged because he always gave me strength when I felt weak, light when I was dark and vision when I got lost.

The streets taught me that I should question everything, trust with verification and to surround myself with truth-seekers, mentors and teachers. I learned that making your way in life required serious sacrifice, taking risks and being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I learned that few things felt more gratifying on a spiritual level than helping other humans out. That kindness feeds your soul and helping others seek purpose in life was priceless. Above all, I learned that the full spectrum of the American life-style is designed to give you the power of choice. You can either wait for things to happen or you can make things happen, and be in charge of your own destiny! My entrepreneurial spirit would soon embrace the latter. I was destined to be an Eagle that would swoop and scoop, and not a Duck that would simply waddle and wait.

In 1996, North Carolina became my home. I brought with me every piece of New Jersey I could! In tow was my tough attitude, taste for good food and music, my witty, city humor and a powerful vision of owning a dojo. A vision that I had acquired as a teen. I was ready to use my real world experiences to open the doors of success to any family that would take the time to invest in my experience. I was ready to flourish. I was ready for my own American dream to come to fruition!

I spent a few years learning the ropes of a disciplined life through various jobs that ultimately landed me at the Gaston County Community College as the founding instructor of the Continuing Education Martial Arts Program. I had just earned my first Black Belt during that summer of 2000, and was ready for the doors of success to open and take me around the world.

One year later, on June 2nd, 2001, at 23 years young, I opened Ormaza’s Family Karate.
Like my parents had done, I too, had achieved my own American dream! Nurtured through hard work and discipline. Forged on the streets of NJ/NYC and backed by my dear family and closest friends and mentors - I had finally made my vision as a teenager come to life.  

Ormaza Family Karate's original location in Dallas North Carolina

Ormaza Family Karate's original location in Dallas North Carolina

Now, having been in business for over fifteen years, I live a life of constant love, friendship, gratitude and healing. I feel blessed to have had such a deep rooted story, so that I can be the best kind of student for my teachers, teacher to my students, father to my kids, husband to my wife and faithful soldier for my God.

How were you exposed to Balintawak?

My first exposure to Balintawak came from a dojo I trained at for about a year in Cramerton, NC. This was about 1997-98. At the time, the head instructor was under GM and Sheriff Irwin Carmichael; the man responsible for helping GM Bobby Taboada move to the US. It is here where I began to learn Level 1 and some of the Balintawak Kickboxing fundamentals.
During this time, I attended a primitive version of the World Camp, held at GM Carmichael’s dojo in Huntersville, NC. There were about 40 participants from mainly the East coast. The Ohio crew, led by the talented GM Jorge Penafiel, was also rolling deep. Those guys were and continue to be, a great source of inspiration for me. This was first time I saw GM Taboada in full action along with his top students. I was blown away by the precision, power, speed and synchronicity amongst them. I trained my ass off that weekend earning the Balintawak Award of Excellence out of the entire group. I was stoked beyond a frat party bon fire! I knew right then, I would one day stand next to those talented eskrimadors.

I was blown away by the precision, power, speed and synchronicity amongst them.

How long have you studied?

Currently, I am in my 18th year of studying Balintawak Arnis Cuentada.

Who was your primary instructor?

My introduction to this combative art came via some of the assistant instructors at a dojo I was training at in Cramerton, who were also making their way up the Levels. I was taught Level 1 and 2 plus some of the Balintawak Kickboxing curriculum that we see Guro Randy Cornell impressively demonstrating at the most recent World Camps. Soon after, during my first World Camp mentioned earlier, I went on to meet Guro Randy Cornell’s protégé, a man by the name of Louis Grady.

Guro Louis Grady with future Guro Alex Ormaza

Guro Louis Grady with future Guro Alex Ormaza

Guro Grady is an impressive man standing 6’ 2” and built like an NBA shooting guard! He is highly versatile as a certified instructor under the venerable Sifu Richard Bustillo, direct student under Bruce Lee. Guro Grady was also the Head Instructor of the Hayastan/IMB MMA Gym in the Charlotte area. His reach advantage was gnarly. Couple that with his uncanny speed and reflexes and it’s not hard to see how my floating footwork was born! After accepting his invitation to train with him, our relationship quickly grew strong as I would come and visit him twice a week at 5am and train for two hours over the course of about 2 years.

As a former school teacher, his pedagogy was excellent - making learning very precise and structured. In addition, as a former Sergeant for the Army and National Guard, Guro Grady’s training methods were no joke! He had me training with lead pipes, standing on balance beams and many other obscure but highly effective training methods. We would always work Level 1 and 2 with either the lead pipe or a Kamagong stick. He often reminded me that a stick or pipe off the street is always going to be heavy and that for me to develop true speed and power, I had to use a heavy stick. GM Taboada would sporadically visit him and occasionally spot check my progress as I made my way up through Level 5 under Guro Grady.

He often reminded me that a stick or pipe off the street is always going to be heavy and that for me to develop true speed and power, I had to use a heavy stick.

One day, Guro Grady had me standing on three, old school 10lb, Joe Weider, sand-filled plastic disc weights, while doing Level 1 and 2. Since they were laying on carpet, if my balance was slightly off or my stepping forward and back was off, the disc weight would slip out and I would fall. Again, one of his unique ways in developing my balance with precision footwork. That morning, he timed it so that when GM Taboada came to visit, I would be wobbling and falling all over the place. Needless to say, I was their comedy show for the next 30 minutes.
Guro Louis Grady trained me through Level 5, giving me the foundation of which GM Taboada would eventually build me up to be one of his homegrown, Full Qualified Instructors. Before Guro Grady parted ways to pursue other areas of his career and military re-enlistment, he asked GM Taboada if he would take me as his personal student. I remember that day like it was yesterday and I am forever grateful that Guro Grady made sure I was left in the best hands possible, while I continued my journey in Balintawak Arnis Cuentada.

Soon after, GM Taboada invited me to his house. I was a nervous wreck walking up his driveway, feverishly thinking to myself how I didn’t want to disappoint him or Guro Grady. I hesitantly knocked on the door, he opened it then cordially asked me to come in and sit down. I was in awe of all the awards, historic picture frames and posters hanging on his walls. The variety of sticks, swords and knives scattered throughout were intimidating, yet there he was, smiling big.
After pacing back and forth a bit, while recounting what he knew about me and my history with Balintawak, he stopped right in front of me, asked me to get up. He then began to stare deep into my eyes. I felt awkward with a touch of fear. I didn’t know what was about to happen or what he was about to say. Without so much as a blink of his eye he said, “OK man! I will train you. BUT….I have only one question for you. Are you ready to accept the pain?!”

After replaying the question in my head a couple times, he interrupted my dumbfounded look with an abrupt, “ARE YOU?!”  I quickly snapped back to reality and with a highly enthusiastic voice and I said, “YES SIR!” He smiled. I started breathing again and my first lesson would commence that day. Since 2005, I have had the honor and privilege of being his personal student.

Typical Saturday morning training session at GM Taboada's house. Featuring Guro Robert Klampfer, Guro Brian Corey, Guro candidate Louis Lopez and Guro Alex Ormaza. Filmed and edited by Guro Alex Ormaza. (See Guro Ormaza accept the pain at 1:35)

For the last 11 years under his guidance, I have grown to love my brothers and sisters, as we all gather on Saturday mornings at his house for a sweat box of epic and painful training. Nothing is more intense than gathering 6-10 of his FQI under one roof for 2-3 hours. Throw in the occasional special guests from all over the world that come to visit and train with the man, and you never know who you are going to run into over there. I’ve had the honor of training at his house with GM Monie Velez, GM Nene Gaabucayan, GM Jorge Penafiel, Guro Alex Pisarken, Guro Carlos Pipo Lopez, Guro Jhun Occidental, Guro Eugene Napangue and a lots of talented martial artist that are making their way towards FQI.

GM Taboada has always showcased his students at very prestigious events. I was excited to be a part of the Singgalot Filipino American Cultural Exhibit and Demo, put on by the Smithsonian Institute at the Charlotte Museum of History where we got to tell the amazing story about GM Taboada. I was also part of the Demo Team at the World Sokeship Council Hall of Fame, in Florida, where I was inducted as Balintawak Man of the Year for having introduced Balintawak, for the first time, in Colombia, South America.

(From L to R) David Ellis, Guro Alex Ormaza (Front), Guro Jeff Soriano, Guro Robert Klampfer, Guro Brian Corey, Guro Sharon Infante-LoParo, Patrick Beltran (Front), Guro Steve Mirman, Robert Escoble at the Singgalot Filipino American Cultural Exhibit and Demo.

(From L to R) David Ellis, Guro Alex Ormaza (Front), Guro Jeff Soriano, Guro Robert Klampfer, Guro Brian Corey, Guro Sharon Infante-LoParo, Patrick Beltran (Front), Guro Steve Mirman, Robert Escoble at the Singgalot Filipino American Cultural Exhibit and Demo.

Guro Ormaza introduced Cuentada Balintawak to South America via a seminar in Cali, Columbia in 2009

Guro Ormaza introduced Cuentada Balintawak to South America via a seminar in Cali, Columbia in 2009

Guro Ormaza receiving his awards from the Sokeship Council in 2010

Guro Ormaza receiving his awards from the Sokeship Council in 2010

What was the hardest part of learning Balintawak?

The quickest way to divide your mind is to introduce pain. No matter how focused you are, when pain is felt, you quickly dilute your original intent with overcoming the pain felt. So accepting the pain and minimizing its ability to reduce your skills is the hardest part of learning Balintawak.  

Favorite part of Balintawak?

The genius of Balintawak lies in its simplicity. But remember, simple doesn’t mean easy! You take an eager student through 6 Levels of diligent and disciplined practice and you create an eskrimador. You then take this eskrimador and add a 7th Level, whereby you encourage personal expression, creativity and the development of their own 24 Advanced Techniques, and now you have a Guro; Full Qualified Instructor. This seamless process from which this metamorphism occurs is my favorite part of Balintawak.

The genius of Balintawak lies in its simplicity. But remember, simple doesn’t mean easy!

Have you/do you study other arts?

Being your own boss has many perks that benefit a man like me. I have diligently trained in multiple arts with very prolific teachers because of my ability to make the time, travel and financially support my endeavor to be the best martial artist I can be. Because of this hard-earned privilege, I have been raised by some of the greatest martial artist of our time.
This is a list of my revered teachers:

Tasshi Jim Logue and Taika Seiyu Oyata opened my eyes to life protection arts found within classical Okinawan fighting arts. Hanshi Ridgely Abele exposed me to what being a professional teacher was all about and how to maximize the sport karate experience for athletes. Professor Luis “Sucuri” Togno taught me the importance of BJJ. Although these masters are no longer with us, they impacted my life forever. May they rest in peace.
Hanshi Tom Muncy and Rick Moneymaker continue to set the bar for martial science. Kyoshi Troy Price is a pillar within the martial arts world and my closest friend in the art. Professor Paulo “Mushu” Elsimaani continues to nurture my BJJ seed and GM Bobby Taboada continues to enhance my Balintawak. I have learned an enormous amount of great things from fellow martial artist, throughout my travels and from the grand training camps I host at my dojo. I am truly blessed to have this lifestyle and I never take it for granted.
Here is a look at my ranks and certifications:

Official Ranks:
· 6th Degree Okinawa Kempo Karate Jutsu
· 6th Degree Torite Jutsu
· 4th Degree RyuTe® Kempo Kobujutsu
· 2nd Degree Shuri Te Jiu-Jutsu
· Brown Belt Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu
· Guro- Balintawak Arnis Cuentada Escrima

Official Certifications:
RyuTe® RenMei Regional Instructor
- Dragon Society International Senior Instructor
· International ShuriTe Bujitsu Kai Instructor: JiuJustu Division
· International ShuriTe Bujitsu Kai Instructor: Kyusho Justu Division
· Full Qualified Instructor- Balintawak Cuentada Escrima
· USA National Karate-do Federation Official Kumite Referee
· USA National Karate-do Federation Official Coach
· Amateur Athletic Union Technical Coach
· Heartsaver First Aid/CPR -American Heart Association

L-Taika Seiyu Oyata (1930-2012) R-Tasshi Jim Logue (1947-2011)

L-Taika Seiyu Oyata (1930-2012) R-Tasshi Jim Logue (1947-2011)

(L) Hanshi Tom Muncy, (C) Alex Ormaza, (R)Hanshi Rick Moneymaker

(L) Hanshi Tom Muncy, (C) Alex Ormaza, (R)Hanshi Rick Moneymaker

Hanshi Rdgely Abele (1950-2009)

Hanshi Rdgely Abele (1950-2009)

Kyoshi Troy J. Price

Kyoshi Troy J. Price

Professor Luis "Sucuri" Togno (1967-2011)

Professor Luis "Sucuri" Togno (1967-2011)

(L) Paulo "Mushu" Elsimaani, (C) Carlson Gracie Jr., (R) Alex Ormaza

(L) Paulo "Mushu" Elsimaani, (C) Carlson Gracie Jr., (R) Alex Ormaza


How have they influenced each other?

I’m the kind of person that looks for similarities, rather than differences within the styles. I learned a long time ago that there is only one style: Human Style! For the most part, you have four limbs, torso and head. Within the full spectrum of human motion as applied to life protection arts, there are limited amount of ways that you can move, before it just becomes repetitive.

I’m the kind of person that looks for similarities, rather than differences within the styles. I learned a long time ago that there is only one style: Human Style!

You can always tell what “style” a fighter is before the first few blows are exchanged. These are signatures. The Muay Thai guy, from the Karate Guy, to the Grappler, etc., all are identifiable before the engagement. But what happens, when they engage? It all looks the same.! You either grapple, strike or some combination of both, with or without a weapon. That’s what I call Human Style.

All arts will always influence each other, because they are all synergistically integrated to complete the Human Style of fighting. That is why it is important to be open minded when training with people from various styles. A true martial artist always should strive to be the paper, the rock AND the scissors.
“Know yourself and your enemy and you will see 100 victories out of 100 battles.” Sun Tzu

What's your day job?

I am a professional martial arts instructor that owns and operates Ormaza’s Family Karate dojo with my wife. Within our dojo, we also have a premier After School program where we pick up kids from 7 different schools and 3 different towns. We also offer an exciting Summer Camp.

They have serious fun while learning serious skills at Ormaza Family Karate!

They have serious fun while learning serious skills at Ormaza Family Karate!

Have there been any concepts from that profession that have informed your Balintawak or vice versa?

As a professional teacher, I admire a tight curriculum with a clear and concise pedagogy. Balintawak contains that synergy making it very easy and effective to teach.

What is the main lesson you want your students to take from your instruction in Balintawak?

I make it very clear to my students that the main lesson is self-discipline. Making yourself grind through the first two levels with thousands of repetitions is not an easy thing to do. Most people in modern society are quite the opposite of that. You give them something and they’re already looking for the next piece without truly savoring what they were just given. Balintawak demands repetition through self-discipline. It is the fundamental key to understanding the art of Balintawak.

I make it very clear to my students that the main lesson is self-discipline.
Guro Ormaza sharing his skills via Frank Zhong at the 2016 East Coast Camp

Guro Ormaza sharing his skills via Frank Zhong at the 2016 East Coast Camp

What do you emphasize with beginners and what do you emphasize with your more advanced students?

My beginners quickly realize that their footwork is paramount. The coordination of their lower half is the delivery system for their upper half. Lots of time is spent making them highly mobile, agile and yet stable enough to deliver powerful strikes. Then I emphasize clean form with powerful blocks and strikes. Power is a pillar in the art of Balintawak

My advanced students are groomed to have Eagle eyes. The quickness of the eye is directly related to the speed of the hand. After all, it’s very hard to catch a ball with your eyes closed, so I train them to see everything, yet look at nothing. These Eagle eyes are the foundation to speed, precision and timing. Once all of that is within its element, flow of movement completes the skillset required to reach the highest level of Balinatwak.

...I train them to see everything, yet look at nothing.

What does a typical class look like when you teach?

Fun! Lots of it.
I make sure to always make class fun through challenging solo drills, partner drills and bag drills. I have found that disguising repetition is a great way to keep students motivated, especially through the trenches of Level 1 and 2. Everyone wants to start the Grouping System found in Level 3, but it’s very hard to get them to be patient as they grind through the repetitions of Level 1 and 2. By making class fun and exciting, retention goes up and so does the quality of the student. In addition, you will always hear music playing in the background at my dojo.

What kind of things were you thinking about when you were developing your 24 techniques?

Ever since I first heard, GM Taboada’s analogy of the head being like a crystal ball - that when your stick hits it, it shatters into millions of pieces – it never left my mind. So, for the development of my 24 techniques, shattering the head into a million pieces became my primary objective.

I went through each of the Grouping patterns and developed a counter to them. I employed my understanding of martial science, anatomy, physiology and coupled it with my martial skills in striking vulnerable points, throwing, joint locking, counter weapon defenses and ground fighting. This made for a very effective, brutal and some even said, very entertaining presentation of my skills.

Guro Ormaza demonstrating an arm bar with Guro McDaniel

Guro Ormaza demonstrating an arm bar with Guro McDaniel

So, for the development of my 24 techniques, shattering the head into a million pieces became my primary objective.

Why did you want to become a Fully Qualified Instructor?

As a student of the art, I naturally want to reach the highest level of anything I get involved in. Becoming an FQI seemed natural and in flow with my destiny. As a teacher, I wanted to be able to continue this legacy that has been given to us by GM Taboada. His life-long dedication to transcending and propagating the art is infectious. I wanted to honor him by continuing to spread the art of Balintawak with the same vigor and passion that he continues to lead with.

Guro Ormaza recieving his FQI plaque from Grand Master Taboada

Guro Ormaza recieving his FQI plaque from Grand Master Taboada

1 Extra. What are you known for in the Balintawak community?

I felt a little awkward trying to answer this question off my own accord, so I reached out to some of my Balintawak brothers and asked them to candidly respond.

Guro Brian Corey: “Big personality, big heart and big mouth” (LOL, thanks Guro Brian)

Guro Jeff Soriano: “Your ridiculous sense of humor! I bet half the people reading this have no idea you tell jokes with the best of ‘em.”

Guro Azeem McDaniel: “Life preservation.”

Guro Elmann Cabotage: “You are a total badass martial artist that goes without saying. But in as few words as I can, I will always know Guro Alex Ormaza as one of the most respected Balintawak Guros because of his hospitality, compassion and consideration for others.”

Guro Benjamin Winn: “When I think of you I immediately think of your dedication and passion. You are technical and aggressive which is always impressive to watch. You have a mastery of movement that you don't see in a lot of people. Your dedication to teaching has always impressed me as well. Then there are your tattoos and skateboarding ☺ “

Guro Candidate Raul Tabile: “To answer your question, gosh you're known for many things. In Seattle, I tell my students and the Seattle crew this: one, you teach traditional martial arts techniques and values and apply them to the urban world. You're a Jersey boy so you know this isn’t jungle warfare, it's the streets! Two, you have one of the nicest training locations I have ever trained at. Last and most importantly, you are a super talented and tough warrior, but you're an even better man! You care deeply about your students and instructors, and even more so for your family. Keep inspiring others my brother!”

Guro Jhun Occidental: “Ormaza Family Karate is led by Shihan Alex Ormaza who is a great martial artist, teacher, and a coach. Master Ormaza's success can be seen and experience through the success of his students to include regional and national champions. Most importantly, Ormaza's Family Karate's greatest success comes from helping, teaching, and guiding the leaders of our future to become not only great individuals but great role models. I highly recommend everyone to visit and give them a try.” (via a 5 Star review on Facebook)

Grandmaster Nene Gaabucayan: “Guro Alex Ormaza will be one of the future Master/Grandmaster of Balintawak….all the best!” (via a Facebook post on 7/14/2015)

One last thing...

Guro Ormaza is launching a new project in 2017 called I Love Balintawak. The project has a noble goal of preserving our art for future generations by documenting our training methods while increasing our own skills by sharing what we have developed with one another. Check out and subscribe to the project's YouTube channel to stay up on the weekly training and instructional videos that Guro Ormaza will be putting out. Also, a special shout out to Guro Brian Corey for helping out and allowing himself to be punched in the face repeatedly for the demo video. :)