Cuiriz Bio Pic SM

Sifu Francisco Cuiriz

Chief Instructor - White Dragon Chula Vista

386 East H Street, Suite 215A
Chula Vista, CA 91910

I grew up in the City Heights area of San Diego. In those days it wasn’t too hard to find trouble or get mixed in with the wrong crowd. So, to ease her concerns, my mom signed my brother and me up for Tang Soo Do classes at the local “Karate” school down the street from where we lived. Her goal was to keep us busy with skill building activities and put us in environments that provided positive values. Those classes were my first exposure to martial arts. For the next six years, after school we would rush to Tang Soo Do class… in addition to swim meets, water polo practices, and piano lessons.

In 2009, after moving to the La Mesa area, we decided to shorten our commute by signing up at the White Dragon La Mesa, which was right down the street. I found that Choy Li Fut Kung-Fu, the style of kung fu taught at White Dragon, was similar in some ways to the Tang Soo Do I had done but was also so much more well rounded. In addition to striking and kicking, I learned different throwing and joint locking techniques and was exposed to grappling and weapons training, which made me feel like I could use this art effectively for self-defense. This experience gave me the confidence boost I needed as a 13 year old going into high school.

The catalyst in my training came after I participated in my first Dragon Cup Tournament, the school’s annual competition. It motivated me to commit all my free time and energy into improving my martial arts skills, and reaching the highest levels possible. My days became filled with kung fu, tai chi, and combative classes. Three years later I was able to earn my Choy Li Fut and Tai Chi Black Sashes before I even graduated from high school.

In 2012, I was invited into White Dragon’s Instructor Training program, and became a direct student of the school’s Chief Instructor, Tai-Sifu Don Tittle. My teacher taught me to place great value on competition, as it is a crucial part of building true fighting skill. Throughout my martial arts career, I competed in every White Dragon Instructor’s Tournament, consistently placing in the top 3, and helped the La Mesa school win the 1st place team trophy on several occasions. I further followed my teacher’s footsteps by traveling throughout the country to compete in various outside tournaments – for kung fu, tai chi, sanda (Chinese kickboxing), and submission grappling events.

After seeing all the benefits I had gained from martial arts, and positively affecting the lives of my students through the same training, I soon realized that passing down this amazing system and its values was what I wanted to dedicate my life to. In 2014, I was offered a full time teaching position at White Dragon’s headquarter school in La Mesa. Then, in 2017, at 21 years of age, I was promoted to the level of Chief Instructor by the school’s founder, Master Nathan Fisher, becoming one of the youngest chief instructors in the school’s history. Four years later, I was promoted to Sifu of White Dragon La Mesa, after earning my 5th-degree Senior Back Sash, the highest rank in Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong’s Plum Blossom International Federation.

My teacher always instilled in me the value of pursuing meaning in life, and I was fortunate to find the pursuits that brought me meaning early on. Seeing my own students accomplish goals they never thought possible has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Some of them have been with me for more than a decade, while others have even been inspired to pursue the path of teaching martial arts themselves.

My love for learning and self-discipline has gone beyond just the martial arts. I’ve developed a passion for kettlebell workouts and running. I’ve even done two 24-hour marathons where on one occasion I ran 65 miles. When I’m not working out or teaching, my time is taken up with improving my photography and videography skills. Woodwork and graphic arts are also two big interests of mine. My teacher, Tai-Sifu Tittle, taught me that what it takes to get good at martial arts is what it takes to get good at anything. Following that advice has forever changed my life for the better!

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