Sensei Romualdo Ferri
(Kyoshi, 8th Dan)
Technical Committee Chair
Sensei Romualdo Ferri began his training in Chito-Ryu Karate in 1970, over 50 years ago and was the Chief Instructor at Richmond Hill Karate & Fitness which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 but is not currently operating due to effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In addition to being the Chair of the CRAO Technical Committee, Sensei Ferri is also the former Chair of the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Association Technical Committee and a current member of the World Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation Saiko Shihan Council.
Sensei Ferri, along with his Saiko Shihan Council peers, successfully graded for the rank of 7th Dan in 2015 and was honoured (and surprised!) to also receive the title of Kyoshi from Higashi Sensei. This was the first time, in over 35 years, the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-do Association had seen anyone promoted to the title of Kyoshi. (The only other time was Higashi Sensei himself being promoted by O Sensei – in 1979)
At Higashi Sensei’s 60th Anniversary weekend celebration, on April 1, 2023, Sensei Ferri was meritoriously promoted to 8th Dan; as were all members of the Saiko Shihan Council.
To help further legitimize Chito-Ryu karate-do, Sensei Ferri (along with Sensei Chris Golz and Sensei Germain Bisson) successfully tested for their 7th Dan with Karate Canada in 2016; allowing their Chito-Ryu rank to be recognized world-wide in all WKF affiliated styles.
Sensei David Chong
(Renshi, 7th Dan)
Technical Committee Acting Chair
Sensei David Chong started karate in January 1973 and has been practicing karate for over 50 years. He obtained his Chito-Ryu Shihan in Japan in 2001 and 5th Dan in 2005.
Sensei Chong was the children’s class Instructor at Higashi Dojo from 1980 to 1993, and the founder and Head Instructor of Guildwood Chito Kai (1993 to 2020). Many of his students have been Karate Ontario, Karate Canada, and international champions. Sensei Chong was a certified referee for Karate Ontario (KOA) and Karate Canada. He retired from involvement in that arena in 2008, after refereeing for over 30 years.
Sensei Chong is a past member of both the Technical Committee and Executive Committee for Karate Ontario and the past 1st Vice President of Karate Canada. Sensei Chong is Chair of the Canadian and Ontario Referee Committees.
Sensei Ed Docherty
(Renshi, 6th Dan)
Technical Committee Member
Sensei Ed Docherty started karate in 1985, at the age of seven, under the tutelage of Renshi Art and Shihan Lori Bellhouse at the Whitby Chito-Ryu Karate School.
Sensei Docherty was an avid competitor having competed in provincial, national and international competitions throughout his karate career. Sensei Docherty was the Ontario champion for five years; he won six medals at the Karate Canada National Championships and is an eight-time medalist at the World Chito-Ryu Karate Championships (Soke Cup) including being a two-time World Chito-Ryu Karate Champion (+75kg kumite & team kumite).
In 2022 Sensei Docherty was inducted into the Whitby Sports Hall Of Fame and is the first Karate athlete to be inducted. Sensei Docherty coached for the Ontario Karate team for seven years and coached the Canadian Junior team at the Junior Pan-Am Games in 2013.
Sensei Docherty is a Renshi, 6th Dan and is the Owner and Head Instructor of ICKF Karate School in Whitby (www.ickf.com) where he has been teaching professional karate since 2000.
Numerous ICKF students have been guided to the black belt ranks including 3rd and 4th Dan. 24 ICKF students have made the Ontario Karate team which compete at the National Championships, with 12 ICKF students representing Canada in International competitions as well.
At ICKF, our mission is to inspire people through karate-do, to provide the best in all aspects of karate; martial arts, sport, self defence, and physical fitness.
Sensei Andy Kovacs
(Renshi, 6th Dan)
Technical Committee Member
Sensei Andy Kovacs has been actively practicing Chito-Ryu karate-do at the Higashi School of Karate, since the age of 10, under the instruction of Sensei Shane Higashi (Hanshi, 10th Dan – Saiko Shihan of the World Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation).
Under the guidance of Sensei David Chong (Renshi, 7th Dan) and Sensei Dr. David Smith (Kyoshi, 7th Dan), Sensei Kovacs progressed through the kyu ranks (coloured belt levels) and was Sensei Chong’s first student to earn 1st Dan at the age of 16.
At the 1989 Soke Cup in Vancouver B.C., Sensei Kovacs formed a lifelong friendship with a fellow competitor from Japan which led to a 3-month home stay in 1999, including his first visit to train with Soke Sensei (Supreme Instructor for the International Chito-Ryu Karate Federation) at the Sohonbu Dojo in Kumamoto, Japan. This visit made a profound impression on Sensei Kovacs. With encouragement from Sensei Higashi, Sensei Kovacs returned to Kumamoto on the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program (between 2000 and 2003) and dedicated himself to training full time with Soke Sensei and Sensei Hiroshi Tanaka (Renshi, 6th Dan) who was one of Chito-Ryu’s top practitioners at that time. Sensei Kovacs trained eight times per week, including regular visits with Sensei Hidemichi Kugizaki (Hanshi, 10th Dan and Senpai to Sensei Higashi) where practice included kumite, waki shime and waza.
Sensei Kovacs was also fortunate to have trained with two notable Chito-Ryu Sensei before their passing. First was the late Sensei Tsutomu Shiogai (Kyoshi, 8th Dan) where practice included nawa-jutsu, goshin-jutsu, and ibuki-waza. Second was the late Imamura Sensei (Kyoshi, 8th Dan) where practice included kumite and tameshiwara.
Highlights of Sensei Kovacs’ 3-year Japan stay included: kata enbukai at Sodai (3rd Generation Soke) Naoyuki Chitose’s wedding; demonstrations at the Kumamoto Jeitai (Self-Defense Forces base) where O Sensei instructed back in the 1950’s; receiving instruction in the Chito-Ryu bo waza program and translating it to English; and earning his Shidoin teaching license from Soke Sensei.
Upon leaving Japan in 2003, Sensei Kovacs conducted clinics in Norway and Ireland.
Sensei Kovacs has been, and continues to be, a regular fixture at the Higashi School of Karate where he still trains and instructs classes for all ages and ranks. Sensei Kovacs serves all Chito-Ryu members as Secretary for the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Association, Member of the Ontario Technical Committee, and Member of the Ontario Referee Committee. Sensei Kovacs is the current Chito-Ryu representative on the Karate Ontario Technical Committee.
Sensei Kovacs believes that training in Chito-Ryu karate, at any age, is the conduit to becoming a better person and a productive member of our society.
Sensei Art Bellhouse
(Renshi, 5th Dan)
Technical Committee Member
For over 60 years, Sensei Bellhouse has been studying traditional Chito-Ryu Karate Do as a student of Sensei Higashi. Sensei Bellhouse has been involved in every aspect of karate; he was a former competitor, a coach for the Karate Ontario women’s team kumite in 1986, a referee in both Karate Ontario tournaments as well as Chito-Ryu Bogu competitions (including the Soke Cup). In addition, Sensei has also served as the Chito-Ryu Association Treasurer, Technical Advisor to Karate Ontario for Chito-Ryu and was involved in the development of Chito-Ryu in Nova Scotia, as well as Scotland.
Sensei Bellhouse was among the first wave of Canadians to achieve the title of Shihan (master exemplar), as well as being among the first group of Canadians to achieve the title of Renshi (refined gentleman). Sensei Bellhouse has been involved with the Ontario Yudansha Seminar program since its inception and has been a member of the CRAO Technical Committee since its formation.
As Sensei Bellhouse began his training in the 1960’s, he had the opportunity to attend seminars with every Chito-Ryu master that has visited Canada including O Sensei (Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose).
Sensei Martin Sisler
(Shihan, 5th Dan)
Technical Committee Member & Secretary
Sensei Sisler is a karate instructor with a passion for cultural and historical references as they relate to current karate training methods. He has been involved in every facet of Chito-Ryu karate training and administration during his 32+ years of involvement, commencing his training in 1991.
As one of the longest active members of Richmond Hill Karate & Fitness Centre, Sensei Sisler’s most impactful influences in Chito-Ryu have been Senseis Romualdo and Darlene Ferri, Sempai Don Burnside (New Hamburg dojo), Sempai/Coach Ron DiCarlantonio, and Sensei James Ferri.
Sensei Sisler is a past CRAO Director, CRAO Vice President, and CRAO President. He is currently a CRAO Referee Committee Member and has authored over 175 papers on Chito-Ryu karate history, philosophy, technique, and etiquette.
Sensei Sisler’s karate experience includes attending and instructing at provincial, national, and international training seminars. He has also competed and coached at provincial, national, and international competitions during his time in Chito-Ryu.
Sensei Sisler has been the CRAO mens black belt kata champion many times over, and has been the Karate Ontario mens black belt kata champion (cadet division). Sensei Sisler won a silver medal at the 1998 World Chito-Ryu Karate Championships (Soke Cup) in mens senior kyu (green to brown belt) individual kata (over 50 competitors in the division) and placed in the top five at the 2004 World Chito-Ryu Karate Championships in mens black belt individual kata (over 40 competitors in the division).
Sensei Sisler is currently the Head Instructor for the University of Toronto Scarborough College Karate Club, having taken it over in 2022 from its founder, Sensei James Hart (Renshi, 5th Dan) and his colleague, Sensei Noel Francisco (Renshi, 5th Dan).