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Grandmaster Woody Sims

Author Topic: Grandmaster Woody Sims  (Read 7992 times)

Offline John Bishop

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Grandmaster Woody Sims
« on: August 05, 2009, 03:11:07 PM »
Grandmaster Woody Sims started his journey into martial arts when he took an introductory karate lesson at Westwind Bok Fu, in Vallejo back in 1976, along with a few Tae Kwon Do classes that were taught by his math instructor, Anthony Pinkney, at his junior high school in 1978.  It would be later that year that GM Sims would have his first taste of Kajukenbo when he trained under Joe Tarrango’s “Old School/Hard Knock” style.  GM Sims appreciated the time he had training in Kajukenbo and regards Professor Joe Tarrango as one of his most influential instructors.

In 1979, a very close friend of GM Sims, Phil Orpilla, introduced him to his cousin and instructor, Sifu Emil Bautista.  Bobby Wilson and Dave Laughren, who taught at the historical Kajukenbo school in Vallejo California, were two of the early instructors that would shape GM Sims future with Kajukenbo.  Notably, Joseph Bautista, Phil McFarlan, Ray Thomas, and Mary Wilson were some others that would also contribute to GM Sims knowledge of old-school Kajukenbo.  GM Sims continued to train under GM Emil Bautista, where further knowledge was obtained, along side other Kajukenbo notables such as Joel Purvis, Phil Orpilla, Cheyenne Corpus, and the late Frank Bigoski.

It was also in 1979 that GM Sims fought in his first karate tournament, held by the late Master Luther Secrease, where he stated he had his “@#$ kicked”.  This would burn a fire in him that he vowed would never let happen again.  The following year at the Northern Pacific National, he took 1st place in the 14-16 Beginners.  That would be the beginning of many tournaments that GM Sims would go onto win.  GM Sims would continue this winning streak through his brown belt competitions.  With no more competition fighting as a brown belt, GM Sims was given his blessing from Sifu Emil Bautista to compete as a black belt for tournament purposes only. 
In 1982, GM Sims teamed with Brian Yoshi and the late Shannon Apple to win 1st place in Black Belt team competition at the CKL Tahoe Championships for his first time competing as a black belt.  And again taking 1st place in black belt team competition with Shannon Apple and Phil Orpilla at William Kim’s Tournament in Vallejo, California.  The following year at the CKC Championship, GM Sims would win his first Black Belt Grand Championship and Great Grand Championship.  This would be the first of over 100 Grand Championships GM Sims would accumulate over his tournament career.  Most notable of his career wins would be the NBL Championships in 1993 where he would take the Super Heavyweight World title and later team with Tony “Sach” Williams and Eric Dobashi, better known as “Bay Areas Best”, to win the Black Belt Team World title.  GM Sims continues to compete occasionally with Grand Championship results in sparring competitions.

Although GM Sims is more notable as a tournament fighter, he has amassed a great knowledge of the Kajukenbo system.  GM Sims had trained hard, studied hard, and practiced hard, learning the Ramos Method, to attain his black belt in 1983 from then Sifu Emil Bautista, and in 1986, opened up his first school. 
GM Sims continues to train and teach the Ramos Method that was taught to him by Grandmaster Emil Bautista and his many respected black belts.  Although his school has moved around Vallejo throughout his career, GM Sims has trained over 500 students and currently has 25 black belts under him.  Along with his school, GM Sims also teaches at the California State Maritime Academy in Vallejo as an accredited physical education class.  Many of his students from the Maritime Academy continue their Kajukenbo training at his regular school.

In 2005, GM Sims was promoted to 8th degree Professor from Grandmaster Emil Bautista.  GM Sims was both humbled and honored by this promotion, coming from the man he has grown to respect and admire for his knowledge and teachings of the Kajukenbo system.  GM Sims uses the many great attributes he has been fortunate to obtain from all the Kajukenbo teachers, from the Grandmasters to the kids in his youth classes.  He himself is a big kid at heart, so this shows in how he teaches his youth class, fun and entertaining but technical and knowledgeable.  GM Sims may sometimes be lost-at-words, but his teachings and knowledge of Kajukenbo are conveyed in his students and with his peers.   

2009 was a sad year for Kajukenbo.  Not only did Kajukenbo lose its founder, GM Sims lost his close mentor and friend.  GM Sims will always be grateful for Sijo’s kindness and insight in sharing his knowledge of the Kajukenbo system.  Where one chapter closes, another one opens. At the time of Sijo’s funeral, while in Hawaii, GM Sims was fortunate to meet and have lunch with another influential person in Kajukenbo.  This person turned out to be Frank Ordonez, more commonly referred to as “Uncle Frank”.  Uncle Frank is one of only two surviving founders of Kajukenbo.  Although there were only a handful meetings between the two since 1997, Uncle Frank had left a deep and lasting impression on GM Sims.  This was also true for Uncle Frank with his impression of GM Sims.  This mutual respect and admiration led to Uncle Frank offering GM Sims his promotion to 9th degree Grandmaster.  With a little time and input from his peers, GM Sims graciously accepted the promotion from Uncle Frank to 9th degree Grandmaster.  GM Sims is still humbled by this honor and refers to his promotion to Grandmaster as that, “An Honor”.

GM Sims has been fortunate to have great teachers influence how he teaches and continues to learn about Kajukenbo, both its’ history and its’ future.  One of his notable black belts, Robert “Kaleo” Wilson, is the son of Bobby Wilson.  Bobby Wilson was one of Grandmaster Emil Bautista’s most successful tournament competitors.  Sigung Bobby Wilson can be attributed to how GM Sims approaches his fighting style, “No Fear, Hit Fast, and Hit Hard”.  Robert Wilson continues this tradition that was taught by his father through GM Sims. 

Grandmaster Woody Sims believes what has been instilled in him through Sijo, Uncle Frank, and Grandmaster Emil Bautista that Kajukenbo is Kajukenbo, no matter what affiliation or lineage, we are all one Ohana. 
John Bishop  8th Degree-Original Method 
Under Grandmaster Gary Forbach
K.S.D.I. # 478, FMAA


"You watch, once I'm gone, all the snakes will start popping their heads up!"  Sijo Emperado