Grandmaster Woody Sims - Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute
Kajukenbo. GM Sims continued to train under GM Bautista, alongside other
Kajukenbo notables such as Joel Purvis, Phil Orpilla, Cheyenne Corpus, and the late
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 “(ahem) Butt kicked.” This would light a fire in him, and he vowed he would never let it happen again. The following year, at the Northern Pacific Nationals, GM Sims 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 continued this winning streak through his brown belt competitions. When competition fighting as a brown belt had been exhausted, GM Sims was given Sifu Bautista’s blessing to compete as a black belt for tournament purposes only.
In 1982, in his first time competing as a black belt, 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. GM Sims again took 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 won 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 were the NBL Championships in 1993 where he took the Super Heavyweight World title and later teamed 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 in sparring competitions, often resulting in Grand Championship wins.
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 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 over 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, and he teaches the youth of Vallejo in Vallejo City Unified School District’s “Encore” or after school program. Many of his students from the Maritime Academy and the VCUSD elementary schools continue their Kajukenbo training at his regular school on Carolina St.
In 2005, GM Sims was promoted to 8th degree, Professor, by 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
2009 was a sad year, not just for GM Sims, but for all of Kajukenbo. We lost not only our founder Sijo Adriano Emperado, 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. Nevertheless, where one chapter closes, another opens. At Sijo’s funeral in Hawaii, GM Sims was fortunate to meet and have lunch with another of Kajukenbo’s founders, Frank Ordonez, more commonly referred to as “Uncle Frank.” Uncle Frank was— at the time—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’s 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 exactly 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 — one of Grandmaster 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”. Kaleo 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, we are all one family.