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The Daily Plant : Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Queens Recreation Congratulates Martial Arts Hall Of Famer

Martial Arts Hall of Fame member Hiram Diaz with his students.

On January 11, Hiram Diaz, a staff member at the new Al Oerter Recreation center in Queens was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame. Known as “Seiko Hanshi Diaz” to his students and fellow martial artists, he teaches traditional Goju-Ryu karate at the Al Oerter and Hunts Point Recreation Centers. The Martial Arts Hall of Fame honored Hanshi Diaz for his dedication teaching martial arts for over 40 years. At the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Hanshi Diaz will join famous martial artists such as actors Chuck Norris and Jeff Speakman. This is the second such honor given to Hanshi Diaz. In 2004, he was also inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Martial Arts Living Legend.

Hanshi Diaz prides himself on his dedication to the Arts and his students. He believes that youth today must be involved in some type of sports, in particular, the study of martial arts. The Arts offer people of all ages a great alternative to standard cardiovascular exercise. It builds strong character, team skills, discipline, self esteem and confidence. “I can see the change in my students from one week to the next,” Diaz said. “They see and feel their own progression, which gives them confidence not only in the dojo, but in everyday life”. Hanshi Diaz has coached numerous students who have won first place in nationally rated and recognized karate tournaments.

Hanshi Diaz also hosts the Annual Karate Tournament of Champions (KTOC). With over 350 competitors and over 500 spectators, the KTOC is one of the largest open martial arts events in the New York City area. Competitors from throughout the city as well as Connecticut, Virginia, and New Jersey line up to participate in the event.

Hanshi Diaz is not only dedicated to his martial arts students but also his basketball teams at Lost Battalion Hall and the Al Oerter Recreation Center. In 2008 the Lost Battalion team won numerous citywide competitions including first place at the YMCA Junior Knicks basketball tournament. Hanshi Diaz also coaches weightlifting, teaches chess, and is an expert master at board games and arts and crafts.

We congratulate Hanshi Diaz for his accomplishment of his induction into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Please join Hanshi Diaz for the 1st Annual Al Oerter Free Youth Karate Tournament on April 11th at the Al Oerter Recreation Center

Written by Iris Rodriguez-Rosa

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