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My Story

"There is no normal day."

I like to work with great people building incredible projects that elevate and inspire us to our next level. 

The better the project, the better the story all about it.

Recently my projects are related to karate, community, aviation and storytelling.

Karate Club
Most of my time is dedicated to my favorite project, my club filled with amazing instructors and students, Kenzen Karate in Victoria, BC Canada.

Over the past 30 years I've built 4 clubs both in Canada and Japan (see below).

It's always great to host amazing events that provide numerous benefits for participants, and these have included karate at the BC Games and founding the Canada Open Karate Championships in BC. Currently we host the annual Victoria Open.

As the project lead for the Hawaii Mars water bomber rescue team for the BC Aviation Museum, this is my volunteer passion project to bring BC's most iconic aircraft to its forever home in the summer of 2024. Watch the short film of the origin of the rescue.

Being a published author and short story filmmaker has been an incredible journey of learning and sharing, of which more is to come.

Sonny Leads; a Japanese karate adventure is part of volume 1 of my fictional 3 volume story of what it is really like to try to succeed training karate in today's 21st century fast-paced and karate-mecca of Tokyo.

Volume 1 was illustrated as a manga by the famous artist Genshi Kamobayashi and published in English by Japan based Manga University.

Sonny Leads; his complete first year Japan story karate. The is the full volume 1.

The Globalization of Karate; the complete story from rural Japan to the Olympic stage
This is my graduate school master's thesis project, and now it's ready for publication.

Previous Media
Podcast: Karate360
A weekly show that covered took a global to local view everything about karate, from reporting on international championships, to sharing stories about karate's key historical beginnings to providing fitness training tips to improve karate performance.

My super short documentary of how dynamic karate was at the 1999 Pan-Am Games.

Magazine Column
"Richard Sensei's Corner", my monthly 12-issue bilingual column in Japan's popular JKFan Magazine for 2010, published by Champ Productions Tokyo.

Current Company
Kenzen Karate Victoria, chief instructor & owner

Current Community Volunteer Roles
BC Aviation Museum, director at large & Save the Mars project lead
Vancouver Island Karate Society (Zone 6 Sport BC), president
Karate Canada, long-term athlete development committee, member

Karate Rankings
6th degree, Shito-ryu style (Seikokai Suzuki-Ha Japan association)
Shihan-dai, Shito-ryu style (Seikokai Suzuki-Ha Japan association)
6th degree, Wado-ryu style (JKF Wadokai Japan association)
5th degree, Karate Canada
3rd degree, Japan Karate-do Federation (JFK)
Coaching Canada Competition-Development, certified karate instructor
Karate BC certified official, provincial referee rank

The Early Years
From the 1970s until 1993, my journey started in several martial arts, with karate as my main focus. From 1993 onwards through several long visits to Japan, I tried to learn karate's deeper roots, which is when I decided teaching karate was my career passion.

The 4 clubs I have built...

Victoria, BC
1988-1994 karate programs at 3 recreation centres (Gordon Head, Cedar Hill & Pearkes) within Saanich Parks & Rec, part-time instructor

Vancouver, BC
1995-2004 Kenzen Karate Vancouver, chief instructor & school PE karate guest instructor

Tokyo, Japan
2005-2014 Seiritsu Gakuen's private junior & senior high school karate club, full-time head coach

Victoria, BC
2014-present Kenzen Karate Victoria, full-time chief instructor, & school PE karate guest instructor

To broaden my skill sets, I jumped at many experiences;
  • BC Team athlete competing at Provincials & Nationals
  • BC Team coach at Nationals
  • Canadian Sports Institute coaching student
  • Vancouver Film School writer/director/producer student
Karate Instructors
Many wonderful instructors have taught me so much about karate and being an instructor over many decades.

Below are those who shared technical knowledge with an empathy for others and a student-first approach.

Toshiaki Maeda - Meikugijuku Karate Club Tokyo chief instructor, 1980 WUKO world champion & former Japan team national coach
Maeda Sensei was my main karate instructor for almost 30 years. Beyond being amazingly warm and generous, and briefly my homestay dad, he broadened my awareness of the whole karate world.

Kaz Hashimoto - Odokan Karate Vancouver chief instructor, Pan-Am champion, and multiple time international medalist
For the past few years, Hashimoto Sensei has been my direct instructor and his guidance has been outstanding since it has led to the club and myself achieving a much higher level of both karate skill and how to effectively teach it.

Takamasa Arakawa - Shiramizu Karate Club chief instructor Saitama Prefecture & International Budo University Karate Club head coach
Arakawa Sensei has been my best friend in Japan for almost 3 decades and we continue to share our journey of building strong karate students.

Former Community Roles
Royal Oak Business Improvement Association, founding vice-president
BC Winter Games, provincial advisor (karate) 2016-2020
Canada Open Karate Championships, original founder & event manager 2017 & 2018
Karate BC high-performance committee, chair (2015-2022)
BC Team co-head coach, 2022 season
Karate BC executive committee, director at large 2015-2018
viaSport funded Sports on Mats elementary school program, Victoria facilitator 2016-2018
JKF Wadokai Canada (CZ) technical committee, member 2014-2020
North American Wadokai Karate Championships, original founder 2019

Past Employers
Seiritsu Gakuen middle school & high school, Tokyo
Real World Media, Vancouver
Labatt Brewing, New Westminister
Rogers Media, Vancouver
Cantel AT&T
MacMillan Bloedel, Vancouver
Loewen Windows, Richmond
University of Victoria
HitotsuBashi Seminar, Tokyo
New Bastion Theatre Company, Victoria
BC Wildfire Service (Princeton Unit Crew)
Saanich Parks and Recreation

PhD candidate, Peace & Conflict Studies
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
Graduate School of Global Studies 2013-2017
completed course work, paused graduate thesis project

Masters in Global Studies
Sophia University, Tokyo
Graduate Program in Global Studies
graduated with honours March 2013

Diploma, Foundation Film Program
Vancouver Film School
graduated June 1999

Bachelor of Arts, Pacific & Asian Studies
University of Victoria
graduated April 1995