For as long as I can remember, I wanted to learn martial arts. It took me awhile to get into it. My martial arts training began under the instruction of Sensei Ed Gallegos, 5th Dan, Martial Arts, Shorin-ryu style. He was working with Roberto Gonzales, 7th Dan, who learned from his father, Master Gonzales, 8th Dan, founder of Shorin-ryu Karate style in the Philippines, and founder of the Philippine Amateur Karate Association (PAKA). He studied under the instruction of Master Chubana of Okinawa, Japan. Master Chubana was the founder of the Okinawa, Shorin-ryu style, hard Kata.
I learned the arts at an early age, through training and attending the PAKA Tournaments. The PAKA Association assisted Sensei Gonzales in his career as a martial arts actor. My experiences included live demonstrations during the intermissions of these movies held at the local theatres.
Indoctrinated with the traditional martial arts allowed me the proper training of ancient self-defense that is symbolic of the ancient Japanese lay people who used it for their protection against Samurai warriors. Martial arts teaches the basic and the most complex ways of self-defense methods. Students start from novice level (white belt) to advanced level (black belt) and excel to weapons and self-defense.
I moved to Canada in the late sixties where I was involved in many recreational sports in various different cities, but nothing could satisfy my need to get back into Karate. It was at this time when I decided that I needed to bring back martial arts into my life.
I found it very difficult to find the right club and instructor for me. Finally, I heard about Master Shintani. I spent many hours in discussion with Master Shintani regarding his experience in martial arts and found that he was the founder of the Wado-ryu style of martial arts in North America. He learned his arts with Master Otsuka of Okinawa, Japan. Wado-ryu was the closest method to Shorin-ryu style, and I decided to train with the Master.
In the early eighties, I studied Wado-ryu under Master Masaru Shintani. I started from the beginners kata (form) to black belt kata.
During the summer of 1984, I started my own karate club because of my children while still training with Master Shintani until his last class at Onteora (Japanese Cultural Center) . The club was located in my basement. Two months later, we moved the club to Blessed Kateri School due to the growing number of students. The rest is history. Now we have five locations and the club head quarters is located at Sherwood Park in Stoney Creek, Ontario.
My hard work and persistent training paid off when Master Masaru Shintani awarded me my 6th Dan, on a Friday night in December, 1999. I was extremely flattered when Master Shintani, in his poor physical condition, came to my club in a wheel chair, offering advise to me, my students, parents and friends regarding martial arts. It is with deepest regret that my Master pasted away on May 7, 2000, leaving behind a legacy in martial arts here in North America and that will forever live at J.R.’s Karate Club.
Currently I hold a 7th Dan (NANDAN) Black Belt.
I am very proud of my instructors, students, parents and friends who have made the club what it is today and who believe in me to teach the proper style of martial arts.