Diane Ortenzio began training in Isshin-Ryu Karate in 1979 at the Harrisburg Isshin-Ryu Karate Club, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was promoted through the ranks to sandan there, under instructors Jake Stoss, Jim Clark, and Don Monismith.
In 1986 she moved to the Baltimore area, where she became a student of Sensei Jeff Bracone. It was during this time that she met Master Toby Cooling, who would later play an important role in her.
Moving to Philadelphia in 1988, she became a student of Sensei Bud Ewing, who has been her sensei since then. She was evaluated and promoted to go-dan in 1998.
Ms. Ortenzio attended many tournaments over the last 23 years, consistently placing in every one entered. In the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame Tournament alone, she has placed in women’s blackbelt kata and kumite every year except one since her first visit in 1988. She has won the HOF Women’s Overall Grand Championship 3 times, and the HOF Women’s Kata Grand Championship and Kumite Grand Championships once each since their inception in 1996.
In 1991, she created the Order of Isshin-Ryu Demonstration Team, and served as its director for three years. Designed to promote Isshin-Ryu Karate, the Team met on a regular basis to work complex routines and attend as many public events as possible.
In 1992 she was honored by the Isshin-Ryu Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year. In 1998, she received the Spirit of Isshin-Ryu Award. She was the first female recipient since the inception of the award in 1979.
Diane and her husband Toby were married in 1995, and moved to Gardnerville, Nevada in 1996. She trained to become a member of Douglas County’s Search and Rescue Team, earning EMT-B and POST Investigative Mantracking licenses. She has served on the Board of Directors, and is currently an operations leader.