His martial arts journey began at age 25, while serving his country overseas. He studied Judo, obtaining the rank of 1st Dan, during his time with the U.S. Army in West Germany. Upon returning home in December 1964, he quickly became interested in the Jujitsu taught by Theodore West, Sensei of the Nisei Ju-Jitsu dojo. During the 1960's, Mr. West hired an Urban Goju karate instructor named Frank Ruiz. West, Sensei required his Jujitsu students to study Karate prior to obtaining their Dan grade in Jujitsu. He was soon excelling in this 2nd art, eventually reaching 3rd dan in 1977.
Monroe simultaneously began karate instruction from Frank Ruiz, Sensei in 1965. A natural fighter being taught by a phenomenon and surrounded by some of the great Goju practitioners on the East Coast, Monroe fell in love with Karate-do and was extremely proficient at it. Sensei Monroe trained with Louis Delgado, John Giordano, Carlos Serrano, Joe Richardson, Chaka Zulu, Owen Watson, Ron Van Clief and others. He maintained contact with his original instructor, Theodore West and his Jujitsu colleagues, but he devoted the brunt of his training time to Grand master, Frank Ruiz, founder of Nisei Goju-Ryu. Monroe eventually reached the rank of 8th dan in Nisei Goju -Ryu in 1998.
In 1967, Sensei exploded onto the New York tournament scene with vengeance. Included in his tournament record are 1st place kumite victories at: The East vs. West Coast Team Tour. ‘69, United Amateur Open Karate Tournament, ‘70, 1st National Karate Championship, ‘71, International Karate Championship of Bermuda - Grand Champion '71, The Brotherhood of Martial Arts tournament, ‘71, North and South Karate Championship in Florida, ’72. In one of his epic battles, Monroe, Sensei nearly defeated world champion point fighter, Joe Lewis, at the former Sunny Side Gardens in Queens, NY in 1971.
From 1970 until his departure from New York in 1985, Monroe, Sensei taught and developed 12 black belts students for the Nisei Goju-Ryu banner at several dojos in The Bronx and Westchester County New York. His main school, Nisei-Ni, located in Mt. Vernon, NY, opened in 1972. Four of his students, including Raymond A. Fitzpatrick, went on to open schools of their own. In 1978 and 1979, he promoted 2 open, regional karate tournaments at the Mt. Vernon High School and referred at countless other events in the tri-state area while in NY. He was often sought out because of his strong and impartial style of refereeing. He was listed in the 1982 edition of the black belt directory, “WHO’S WHO OF KARATE".
In 1985, he relocated to Arizona at the request of his mother and father. He reluctantly left the New York area, which was the center of his life in so many ways. After their passing, he remained there, but often-visited New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands to visit his Dans. His last trip east was in 2007.Several of Sensei's students converged on this event and saw their instructor of the last time. Sensei Monroe's legacy travels through three generations of Dans throughout the East Coast and U.S. Virgin Islands.