Richard Cruz was born in San Leandro, California in May of 1971.  At an early age of 7, Richard was drawn into boxing and martial arts and begun boxing training through the Boy’s Club and YMCA. In 1984, Ron Esteller (currently a Grand Master 9th Degree) who was a black belt in Kajukenbo under GM James Juarez and the late GGM Charles Gaylord (may he Rest In Peace), began devoting his free time at the San Leandro Boy’s Club by giving classes.  From then on, Richard was dedicated to the martial arts, specifically Kajukenbo.  At the age of 15, Richard moved to Vallejo, California were he began training in Taekwondo from Master William Kim who had a school a few blocks from his house.  After a couple years of training, Richard began looking for a Kajukenbo school, and with the help of Professor Esteller, Richard was put in contact with GM Woody Sims.  It was the year of 1988 when Richard begun his life long training with his "Sifu" and mentor Grand Master Woody Sims.  Richard had the privilege of also training in full contact fighting and point sparring under GM Sims and frequently traveled to tournaments in the early to mid 90s.  For several years, GM Sims had 2 schools in Vallejo, CA, one open to the general public and the other for the California Maritime Academy, leaving Richard to conduct classes and teach at the main school for several years.  This was a great honor, and greatly contributed to Sigung Cruz’s growth and understanding in the Kajukenbo system.

Sigung Cruz was tested and promoted to the rank of student black belt in 1994 and a year later after testing, promoted to 1st degree.  At that time, Richard was asked to teach Kajukenbo at the Vallejo Multi-Cultural Martial Arts Academy in Vallejo. With GM Sims blessing, he began teaching and gaining several dedicated students.  During that time (while continuing to teach Kajukenbo), Richard sought personal growth in the Kajukenbo philosophies and began training under Grand Maestro Jon Bais in Kalis-Silat (Filipino Martial Arts) a mid to close range system, along with Eskrido (full contact fighting with a stick, utilizing strikes with the arms and legs).  Richard also began training at the school of Grand Master Emil Bautista located at 974 Benicia Rd in Vallejo, CA.  This was a great opportunity to train and learn from one of Kajukenbo’s Senior Grand Masters.  Richard enjoyed the many days of old school training with black belts like Dave Laughren, Joseph Bautista, Joel Purvis, Mitch Powell, Rob Peladeau, Jeff Macalolooy, Albert Saddler III, Dave Ducay, Clarence Isadore, Nick Melas, Dennis Peterson, and many others, to include GM Joe Davis who regularly came to the school to teach along side GM Bautista in the Black Belt classes. 

This continued until the year 2000, when Richard accepted a Law Enforcement position with the Federal Government and had to relocate to Tucson, Arizona.  After spending 3 years working in this capacity, he applied to attend the selection course to become a member of the Tactical Unit full time Special Response Team (SRT), The Agencies largest and most active SRT Team.  Of the 67 selected applicants, only 9 successfully completed the selection course making the Team, including Richard for whom it was a great honor and life achievement.  Richard spent the next 4 years operating with the Tactical Unit full time, where he had the opportunity to receive extensive training and operational experience in high risk operations, high risk warrant service, buy-bust operations, (CQC) close quarter combat, dignitary protection, hostage rescue, barricaded suspect, officer down, vehicle and bus assaults, high risk tactical tracking, tactical air operations, surveillance LPOP, extended rural patrolling, high risk interdictions, advance firearms techniques, chemical munitions, riot control, confined space operations, undercover operations, intelligence gathering operations, incident command and many others.  Richard also became one of the Team's tactical EMTs/Medics receiving his EMT-Basic Enhanced certifications, to include several advanced tactical medical course certifications. Richard began to teach fellow operators some of the Kajukenbo theories and principals as a part of the Tactical Unit’s defensive tactics program and he eventually became the Teams’ Training Officer during the last year before his relocation to DC.  Richard has had many situations during operations where his Kajukenbo/Martial Arts experience greatly contributed to successful mission completion.  

While in the southern Arizona area, Richard was put in contact with Sigung Greggory Tobias of the Sei Ryu Kan Dojo and began training and teaching during the week.  This continued for several years until 2007 when Richard was asked to work on temporary duty assignment within his Agency's Headquarters (HQ) in Washington, DC as an Operations Officer for the National SRT Program.  In September of 2007, after being offered a permanent position, he accepted and relocated to Headquarters in Washington, DC.  Some of Richard’s duties while assigned there were providing advanced instruction and oversight for a sister Agency's Special Response Teams (SRT) Basic Selection Courses; teaching advanced firearms, defensive tactics (Kaju inspired ;-), vehicle/bus assaults, close quarters combat (CQC), patrolling, immediate actions, urban scouting, basic and advance first aid/trauma, IV Therapy, Mobile Field Force/Riot Control and Tactical Decision Making. 

Richard has continued his training in Martial Arts throughout his life, primarily with Kajukenbo through Grand Master Woody Sims, earning his Black Belt (currently a 6th degree) under GM Sims.  Sigung Cruz relocated back to Arizona and now teaches in Tucson, AZ (Cruz Martial Arts and Consultation, LLC); this gives him the opportunity to share his knowledge, train and to help others in their quest in becoming life long martial artists/Kajukenbo practitioners.