Chaka Zulu 2018
Chaka Zulu, Grand Master, born in 1938, began his study of the martial arts at age 10 with Judo at the Harlem YMCA in NYC. As a young black man during the 1950’s, his life was greatly influenced by the turbulent civil rights movement that was emerging. Although as a bookworm he yearned to become a scholar, at that time there was no opportunity to obtain an education. Since the future seemed to offer no hope for anything but jail or death, in 1956 his only hope was to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. Semper Fi! Once a Marine, Always a Marine! Hand to hand combat training continued during his next six years in service, where he also received a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Upon his discharge in 1962, his martial arts training continued with the late Grand Master Frank Ruiz, founder of Nisei Goju Karate and senior student of Grand Patriarch Peter Urban, as well as with jujitsu legend Professor Moses Powell, founder of Sanuces Jujitsu. Zulu achieved high rank black belts in both systems. He also trained with legends Ed Gross, Joe Lopez, Tom LaPuppet, and others. During the 1960’s and 70’s he was a popular tournament competitor receiving numerous trophies for kata, sparring, and innovative weapons performances. Zulu and his dojo brothers, such as Louis Delgado, Skipper Ingham, Ron Van Clief, Ron Taganashi, and Earl Monroe, dominated the East Coast tournament scene. As chief of security for the legendary Electric Circus Club on St. Marks Place, Zulu was in charge of an all black belt staff. Indeed, these were electric times!
In addition to martial arts, GM taught African dance, and was given his name, “Chaka Zulu” at the 1964 World’s Fair by the African Zulu tribe dancers. In the 70’s he opened his own school in the East Village of NYC, The 2nd Ave Dojo, where a sign on the wall indicated classes were full, so put your name on a waiting list. Zulu continued to integrate his training, incorporating his own innovations to improve his art. In the early '80's he realized that he was no longer teaching solely one art, instead he was teaching something unique and different. He named and founded his system of ZUJITSU RYU: The Art of Zulu, in 1984.
Zulu has taught uniformed court officers at the Bronx Criminal Courthouse, officers & auxiliary officers at Manhattan’s 9th Precinct, and FBI agents. He worked as a private investigator and personal bodyguard for Madonna, NY Knick’s Hubert Davis, General Douglas MacArthur, and Malcolm X. He has presented exhibitions in the U.S. and overseas. Celebrity students include Kareem Abdul Jabar and Richie Havens. GM has taught countless seminars and inspired thousands of students through the years. As a teacher, he has the unique ability to teach his students to flow, adapt, and be creative. He brings out the best in each person and adapts techniques to fit the individual. With the assistance of his wife, Zosia Gorbaty, they operated a dojo together in NYC until 2013, when they relocated. They currently reside in Laguna Woods in southern California. GM Zulu has also spent much time in St. Thomas, USVI, where his mother grew up. He and his wife continue to train every morning, except Sundays!
GM Zulu has been referenced in several books and magazines, including The Handbook of the Martial Arts (William Logan), Martial Arts Traditions, History, and People (Corcoran and Farkas), Black Heroes of the Martial Arts (Ron Van Clief), and The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia (Corcoran and Farkas), Official Karate Mag, Black Belt Mag, and Karate International. He has been interviewed on the Bill Boggs Show, the Big Apple Minute, WPIX News, USVI St. Thomas local cable TV, and others. He appeared in the legendary 1975 martial arts documentary “The Warrior Within.” Seen opening the film, he relates the story of when shortly after his discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps, some guy attempted to rob him. As he says, “The guy went to the hospital, and I went home.” Zulu was one of the honored masters at The First Tribute to the Martial Arts Masters of the 20th Century produced by Wesley Snipes for TNT TV in 1998. The filming took place during a weekend affair that began with a reception at the legendary Tavern on the Green in Central Park, NYC. Everyone who was anyone in the martial arts attended that memorable event. Unfortunately, we have lost many since then.
In 1992, Grand Patriarch Peter Urban awarded Zulu a 10th degree black belt. In 1994, he was officially acknowledged by the World Head of Family Sokeship Council as the Soke, head of system, of Zujitsu Ryu. He has since been inducted into their Hall of Fame as Millennium Historical Figure, as well as others, including World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Afrikan American Hall of Fame, and Masters Hall of Fame.
Zosia Gorbaty, 2018
Zosia Gorbaty, Hanshi, was born 1949 in post war Europe to Holocaust Survivors. Her early years were filled with music, not martial arts, as her father was a concert pianist. Although the crib was right next to the piano, according to her parents, she slept quite soundly as her father played. After emigrating to the U.S., classical musical training began at 5 years old and continued through her teens as she attended Music & Art High School in Harlem, NY. “One of my greatest accomplishments was conducting the student orchestra.” As the result of her gregarious lifestyle, Gorbaty encountered a couple of experiences that incited the “Survivor” fire within, and in 1976 began her lifelong journey with the martial arts.
She began in the art of Nisei Goju Karate with GM W. Roldan, where she also experienced training under legend Nisei Founder, GM Frank Ruiz. In 1978 Gorbaty changed paths and began training in Kyokushin Karate with Shihan N. Kishi. “A highlight of this time period was meeting founder GM Mas Oyama when he visited our dojo on Wooster St. in SOHO, NYC. We were all lined up on the sidewalk, barefoot, in gi, waiting patiently for his arrival. I still have my autographed copy of his book, The Kyokushin Way.” Early in 1981, still not feeling she found the right path, she joined GM Chaka Zulu’s School of Martial Arts on Second Ave in the East Village of NYC. It was a legendary place where prominent martial artists were often seen visiting. She had never before experienced using music during martial arts training, just silence, kiais, and the voice of her Sensei. GM Zulu showed her the connection between her two loves, music and martial arts. She had found her home. Later that year GM Zulu and Hanshi Gorbaty declared themselves to be a couple and were eventually officially married. Gorbaty was awarded 9th degree in Zujitsu Ryu in 2015 and is the designated system inheritor with Hanshi Manuel Benitez.
Gorbaty has a Master’s degree in Physical Education from NYU, and worked as a health and fitness professional for many years. She holds several fitness certifications from the American Council on Exercise, Institute for Aerobics Research, and YMCA. She has been both a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, and was the first “Wellness Director” at a NYC YMCA in 1989. Gorbaty was first introduced to Yoga in 1966, most fortunate to begin her lifelong practice with Swami Satchadinanda, founder of the Integral Yoga Institute. One of her most satisfying achievements has been 30 years teaching self-defense, karate, and yoga at Queensborough Community College and Adelphi University until retirement in 2013.
Gorbaty has also been very active in the women’s self-defense community. She began by teaching some of her friends out of her home in 1978 and progressed to teaching thousands over the years in various venues. She is Self-Defense certified by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, served on their Self Defense Board 2004-8, and has led many workshops at their annual Self Defense Conference. She volunteered as a Rape Crisis Advocate at NY Mt. Sinai Hospital after certifying in their first Rape Crisis Intervention Program in 1985. Her clients include both corporate and non-profit venues, such as BCFS Health and Human Services San Antonio, Queens College, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, NYNEX Corp, NYU Law School, YMCA of Greater NY, School of Visual Arts, and Prudential Securities. Her most exciting teaching experience was teaching a variety of populations for the El Halev group in Israel. Gorbaty leads the FEST Workshop, Feminine Empowerment and Self-defense Training.
Hanshi has been a martial arts trainer at over 30 women’s martial arts camps for the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors (AWMAI), National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF), and Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists. She has also taught martial arts for co-ed groups at Camp Danzan Ryu, Camp Suigetsu, Jujitsu America, Atlanta’s People in Progress, Power Kix MA, Detroit’s Mejishi Dojo, and the Friendship Exchange Tour in China. She has been interviewed by “Fox and Friends” Fox News TV, ”Best Talk” WPIX TV, Hot 97FM radio “Street Soldiers” with Lisa Evers, and the NY Times, and is featured in Ron Van Clief’s Green Belt Book.
Gorbaty served as the Chair of the NWMAF Board of Directors from 2002-4, and as the Executive Director of AWMAI from 2008-14. Together with Professor Janice Okamoto they developed the AWMAI Hall of Fame, the only association that acknowledges and awards women with over 30 or more years in the martial arts. Her most notable inductions include 2016 Masters Hall of Fame, 2012 AWMAI Hall of Fame, and World Head of Family Sokeship Council International Hall of Fame for Silver Life Achievement 2012 and National Achievement 2002.
ZUJITSU CONCEPTS AND DRILLS
These are some of the fundamental original drills developed by GM Chaka Zulu. When practiced, these drills reinforce a variety of skills and basic martial arts principles, such as sticking, locking, re-direction, evasion, escaping, and blocking. The exercises include: Sticky Paper, Bumble Bee, Nudging, Rolling off the Punch, Cleaning the Ants, Dancing the Gauntlet.
ZUJITSU FIGHTING RHYTHMS
This seminar was developed to teach GM Zulu’s unique style of using the rhythms of a variety of musical genres to develop control over your body and your martial art. Participants will learn a new way of practicing their art, both empty handed and with weaponry. They will enhance their timing and fluidity.
ZUJITSU WALKING CANE
A Walking Cane is more than just a tool to assist someone who has difficulty walking. It can also be used as a powerful weapon that is portable, easily accessible, and legal to carry in plain sight. This seminar was developed to provide the participant with a foundation of the basics of cane movement, manipulation, and application. Participants will practice effective combinations and learn principles that will enable them to continue their learning journey.
FEST: FEMALE EMPOWERMENT & SELF-DEFENSE TRAINING
These Women Only workshops led by Zosia Gorbaty are custom designed for your group in an all female environment. Develop self confidence as you learn about the spectrum of violence, how to use your intuition and set boundaries. Participants will learn appropriate verbal, psychological, and physical assertiveness skills to deter assaults. They will also practice ways to control panic and various physical self-defense techniques that can be used against the most common attacks, if violence cannot be avoided.
Current Officially Sanctioned Zujitsu Instructors
Manuel Benitez, 9th dan, St. Thomas, USVI
Ray Kaniatyn, 8th dan, Manhattan, NY
Kenton VanZandt, 8th dan, Manhattan, NY
Dominic Spaltro, 8th dan, NH
Eric Howard, 7th dan, Brooklyn, NY
Douglas Walker, 7th dan, Bx, NY
Anne Kuzminsky, 7th dan, RI
Liston Lewis, 5th dan, St. Thomas, USVI
Anthony Ciaramella, 5th dan, FLA
Alex Kabiri, 5th dan, NJ
Sky Leonard, 5th dan, TX
Richard Irving, 5th dan, NJ
Alan Onickel, 4th dan, Manhattan, NY
Saquan Howard, 4th dan, Brooklyn, NY
Osondu Thambo, 4th dan, Brooklyn, NY
Michael DeLorenzo, 4th dan, NJ
Priscilla Horton, 3rd dan, CA
Rufus Petersen, 2nd dan, Charleston, SC
Ben Aronov, 2nd dan, Queens, NY
Posthumous - Lee Goodridge, 9th dan, San Antonio, TX