It’s not every day that you get a chance to meet a Martial Arts Legend, let alone get a chance to interview them and write an article about them. So I am just so excited to meet and interview Sir GJ Torres and learn more about his Martial Arts journey.
Grand Master GJ Torres of Black Dragons Dojo has been in karate for decades doing a lot of hard work. He had a tough life before but it made him a strong and trustworthy man!
He has twins who also train karate; Master Raymond Torres and Master GJ Torres Jr.!
Master GJ Torres created the Black Dragon’s system which is the Heilong system. He created the Heilong System by mixing different forms of karate like Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan, Tichi, and boxing.
GM GJ Torres’ native is Arroyo Puerto Rico. He moved from there to the Bronx when he was 4 years old and lived at the Gunhill Projects until he was the age of 10. From there, he moved to Brooklyn and then back to the Bronx in his teen years.
So when did he start doing Martial Arts and what made him interested to do it?
According to GM GJ, his martial arts journey began in 1967, and his first instructor was Sifu Yuk Bok Wong from the Heilong System. His uncle was the one that got him interested in the arts, after seeing two neighborhood kids kicking at each other.
What inspires him to continue doing Martial Arts and which style does he specialize in?
He was inspired to continue training because he loved what it felt like to fight and compete.
His style now is “The Black Dragon” Hei-Long and his present instructor (for over 40 years) is Shidoshi Ron Vanclief.
His Most Memorable Moment and Achievement
According to him, he has many memorable moments in Martial Arts, but the highlight of his competitions was being the First Martial Artist to bring a team of competitors to Vietnam.
“Never have there ever been any team. of any sport to compete in Vietnam. They honored my work by having me perform a Kama Kata at the opening ceremony,” says GM Torres, with full pride and joy.
How does he stay fit in order to perform physical activities that are required in Martial Arts?
He says by training every day, hitting the gym in the mornings, and sparring at night.
“I’m a great believer that if you’re teaching fit, you must be fit,” says GM Torres.
What does he want to teach the new generation about Martial Arts?
“I want to teach the new generation what I’ve been teaching them for years.
Forget all these flipping and pretty competitions and keep the old school alive.
Unity in the martial arts is a legacy. I have 5 adult children and 14 grandkids, and every one of them is a martial artist and will keep my legacy alive”
GM GJ Torres certainly lives up to his beliefs and is such an inspiration to both old and new generations of Martial Artists.