Diane Ortenzio began training in Isshin-Ryu Karate in 1979 in Harrisburg, PA. Her instructors were Senseis Jake Stoss, Don Monismith, and Jim Clark.
She moved to Baltimore in 1985 and trained for a time at an Isshinryu school there. Fate touches everyone at some point. The pivotal moment for Diane was in June, 1987. That was the evening she met Master Toby Cooling and three of his black belts – Buster Hash, Jeff Bracone, and Ken Varney when they visited the dojo. Diane and Master Cooling began a friendship that turned into a partnership that led to being married for 26 years until his passing in 2022.
In 1988 her career took her to Philadelphia, and she became a student of Master Bud Ewing and a member of the Order of Isshin-Ryu fraternity.
Diane was a fierce competitor for 23 years, attending many events in the Northeastern US, Tennessee and Virginia. She consistently placed in the top three in women’s black belt kata, kumite, and weapons. In addition, she won the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame’s (IHOF) Women’s Overall Grand Championship 3 times, and the IHOF Women’s Kata Grand Championship and Kumite Grand Championships once each from 1996-2002. She retired from competition in 2003.
After moving to Nevada, she opened Sierra Dojo Martial Arts in 1999.
Some of sensei’s awards include:
– 1992 IHOF Female Instructor of the Year.
– 1998 IHOF Spirit of Isshin-Ryu Award.
– 2003 inductee OIKKA Hall of Fame
– 2003 inductee Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame
She trained to become a member of the Douglas County (NV) Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, becoming an operations leader and serving on the Board of Directors. She earned EMT-B and POST Investigative Mantracking licenses. Sensei passed the Nevada POST Defensive Tactics Instructor course in 2010.
Diane began training in the Filipino martial art of Arnis in 2007, and was recently promoted to dayang pito (7th degree black belt) in the SMP Arnis organization by Grandmaster Rick Manglinong and Punong Guro Sal Todaro in 2023. Punong Guro Diane serves as president of SMP Arnis.
Master Ortenzio was promoted by the Order of Isshin-Ryu to hachi-dan (8th degree black belt) in 2015. She was elevated to ku-dan (9th degree black belt) by Grandmaster Toby Cooling in 2022. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Order of Isshin-Ryu since its inception in 2003 and currently serves as the board President.