Sensei Graham Ravey - World Chief Instructor
Sensei Graham Ravey was born on August 25, 1953 in a small town in England Chesterfield. When Graham was 14 years old he became very interested in studying Karate. Chesterfield was small there were not many styles to choose from. Eventually Graham found a style called Wado Ryu. He started Wado Ryu Karate in 1968. The chief instructor was Sensei Phil Milner who believed that before a man can be taught to punch he should be able to take one. So over the next few years as well as learning the basics of karate Graham was given a toughening up regime to forge ones's body, such excercises included running bare footed with no Gi top on when snow lay on the ground in winter, crawling through mud and nettle patches on training camps and standing in circles delivering blows to the person next to you, also sparring multiple attackers. After Graham's first lesson he informed his mother that one day he would go to Japan and study karate, his mother laughed at him for saying such a thing. When Graham was 18 years old in 1971 he changed over to a style called Goju Kai. This was being taught in Sheffield by Sensei Steve Bellamy. Steve had initially started out with Phil Milner but changed to Goju Kai after seeing Sensei Brian Waites give a Karate demonstration in London. Sensei Waites had lived and trained in Japan with Sensei Gogen Yamaguchi for one year.
At the age of 20 Graham decided it was time to go to Japan and seek out some of the old values of traditional karate. This time he told his mother he was going and she no longer laughed. After arriving in Japan and within the first week he was introduced to Sensei Morio Higaonna. Graham was so impressed with him that he immediately changed over to studying Goju Ryu. For one whole year Sensei Higaonna made Graham train every day for about five hours and after this time he was allowed to take his Black Belt 1st Dan. By this time Graham had been training for over six years. He had only intended to stay in Japan for one year but that one year eventually stretched into twelve years. During this time he once won the annual Yoyogi Dojo black belt Kumite competition and also represented the Dojo as a team member at the annual Shibuya-Ku all styles Karate Tournament hosted in the Budokan. Graham was the only non Japanese fighter that day. He met and trained with some martial arts celebrities such as Benny Erquidez, Monster man Eddie, Huang Jang Lee. He was selected to give the Japanese karate team some sparring practice with foreigners before the international championships held in long beach California 1977. All these stories have been documented in a book Graham published titled ''Yoyogi Dojo '74''
Graham worked his way through his grades to 4th Dan - all grades being examined by Sensei Higaonna and all grades being taken in Japan. Graham is the only foreigner to do this.
In 1987 Sensei Graham Ravey was appointed Chief Instructor/Technical Advisor of Australia and he left Japan to take up permanent residence in Australia.
Later on, Sensei Ravey established the T.O.G.K.A to preserve the old ways of Okinawa Karate.
Japanese training schedule of Sensei Ravey in Yoyogi Dojo, Tokyo, Japan 1978-1982.
In Sensei Graham Ravey's own words
From 1973 to 1987 I was taught by Sensei Morio Higaonna then 7th Dan. During personal training which was usually in the mornings, Sensei Higaonna would sometimes call me over and we would train together. I trained on Saturday and Sunday for about two years until I sort of "Got a Life" in Japan. I trained in Parks and a shrine situated one minute walk from my doorstep. In my eyes I was blessed. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday Bert Valetin Johansson ("The Swede") was my fighting coach. Bert had lived in Japan for many years before I arrived. He trained only fighting and power training at the Yoyogi Dojo outside the scheduled Karate sessions. He had a significant input into my Kumite ability. I also continued to work out with Sensei Steve Bellamy once to twice a week.