Inaugural Grandmaster Toby Cooling Memorial Tournament – 2023


On September 22nd and 23rd, the Order of Isshin-Ryu Martial Arts (OIMA) hosted its first open Isshin-Ryu Tournament in memory of Grandmaster Walter ‘Toby’ E. Cooling.  It was a great day of competition and fellowship that honored the man who devoted his life to martial arts and to the OIMA by bringing together Isshin-Ryu practitioners from all over just as he brought us together in the OIMA Family. All proceeds benefitted the OIMA Scholarship fund, which provides assistance to members seeking further education and opportunities inside and outside of the dojo.  

On the evening of September 22nd, the Tournament weekend opened with seminars by OIMA Master Diane Ortenzio-Cooling (Improvised weapons), Master Bud Ewing (Denshi’s 20), and Master Isham Latimer (OIMA Defensive Tactics).  September 23rd included several honors and awards, followed by a great day of karate competition!

Awards were presented to friends who have supported Grandmaster Cooling (Denshi) and the OIMA for many years: Grandmaster Willie Adams, Grandmaster Don Nash, Grandmaster Ralph Passero, Hanshi Bob Kristensen, Kyoshi Maria Kristensen, Grandmaster Marvin Carmona, Master Carl Martin, and Master David Joslin. All are friends that the OIMA considers family.

Several black belts in the OIMA were also recognized. Master Ewing and Master Latimer were recognized for their loyalty and continuing mentorship of the OIMA. Master Popp, Master Harris, Master Panazzola, Sensei Hash, Sensei Waldridge, Mr. Taggart, Sensei McNair, and Mr. LeBlanc were recognized for their efforts to organize the tournament and support the OIMA.

In honor of Grandmaster Cooling, two special gifts were presented to Master Ortenzio-Cooling at the Tournament:  An art portrait signed by all attending black belts, and a proclamation by Mr. Richard Taylor III, Mayor of Chesapeake City, Maryland, naming September 23, 2023 as “Grandmaster Walter E. Cooling Day”.

The OIMA is grateful and honored to have so many attend and support this event.  Congratulations to all of the strong competitors! 

Tournament photos: