Sensei Romualdo Ferri
(Kyoshi, 8th Dan)
CRAO Technical Director
Sensei Romualdo Ferri began his training in Chito-Ryu Karate in 1970 and was the head instructor at what became the Richmond Hill Karate & Fitness Centre dojo (RHK) for over 45 years. In addition to being the CRAO Technical Director, Sensei Ferri is the former Technical Director for the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Association. At present, he remains an active 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. He was further honoured (and surprised!!) at that time to receive the title of Kyoshi from Higashi Sensei. This was the first time in 36 years the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-do Association had anyone promoted to the title of Kyoshi. (The only other time was in 1979, when O Sensei [Dr. Chitose] promoted Higashi Sensei to Kyoshi, 7th Dan.)
At Higashi Sensei’s 60th Anniversary weekend celebration (April 2023) Sensei Ferri, along with his Saiko Shihan Council peers, was meritoriously promoted to 8th Dan.
To help promote Chito-Ryu karate-do in Canada, Sensei Ferri (along with Sensei Chris Golz and Sensei Germain Bisson) successfully tested for their 7th Dan with Karate Canada in February 2016. This allowed their Chito-Ryu ranking (at that time) to be recognized world-wide, in all WKF affiliated styles.
Sensei David Chong
(Renshi, 7th Dan)
CRAO Technical Committee Member (Acting CRAO Technical Director as required)
Sensei David Chong started his karate journey in January 1973 and has diligently been practicing karate for over 50 years. He obtained his Chito-Ryu Shihan in Japan in 2001 and 5th Dan in 2005. Sensei Chong attained his 7th Dan after successfully testing at the 2022 Chito-Ryu Advanced Grading in Toronto, Ontario.
Sensei Chong was the children’s class instructor at the Higashi School of Karate from 1980 to 1993. He is the founder and head instructor for Guildwood Chito Kai, which has operated very successfully since 1993. Many of Sensei Chong’s students have been Karate Ontario, Karate Canada, and international champions. Sensei Chong was a certified referee for Karate Ontario and Karate Canada. He retired from his involvement in that arena in 2008, after refereeing for over 30 years.
Sensei Chong is a past member of Karate Ontario senior leadership, serving on both the Technical Committee and Executive Committee. He is a past 1st Vice President for Karate Canada. Sensei Chong founded the CRAO Referee Committee in 2014 to help develop Chito-Ryu members as high-quality referees in all competition arenas. Sensei Chong is currently the Chair for the Canadian Chito-Ryu Referee Committee.
Sensei Harvey Brown
(Renshi, 6th Dan)
CRAO Technical Committee Member
Brown Sensei started his karate journey in Calgary, Alberta in 1971. Returning to Ottawa he joined the Langelier Karate Club, where he competed locally and provincially. In 1980, he and seven other black belts from the Langelier Karate Club, joined the Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate Association (CCRKDA) and changed the name of the dojo to the Ottawa Chito-Kai.
Selected twice as the Ontario Middleweight Champion he has been on Karate Ontario Provincial, Karate Canada National, and Canadian Chito-Ryu teams. After retiring from competition, he officiated at Karate Ontario, Ontario Chito-Ryu, Karate Canada, Canadian Chito-Ryu Karate-do Association and two Soke Cup tournaments.
In 1982, Brown Sensei received his Nidan from Chito-Ryu founder, Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose. He currently holds the Shōgō title of Renshi and Rokudan (6th degree black belt) awarded to him by Shane Higashi Sensei, Saiko Shihan of the World Chito-Ryu Karate-do Federation. He has held Level One National Coaching Certification (NCCP) theory and Technical, Referee Classifications “A,” Kumite and “B,” Kata and “A,” Kumite and Kata Canadian Chito Ryu Karate Association.
Brown Sensei has trained internationally with many instructors such as Chito-Ryu founder and first generation Soke, Dr. Chitose, Chito-Ryu second generation Soke, Yasuhiro Chitose, Sakamoto Sensei, Inomoto Sensei, Kato Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, and Higashi Sensei. He has also participated at clinics conducted by Masahiko Tanaka (Shotokan), Seikichi Iha (Okinawa Shorin-Ryu), George E. Matherson (Uechi-Ryu), and Devorah Dometrich (Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai.)
Brown Sensei is now retired from the Federal Government as a middle manager with Natural Resources Canada. He spends his time training and teaching Chito-Ryu karate. When Brown Sensei is not in Canada, he can be found doing what he enjoys in Jamaica.
Sensei Andy Kovacs
(Renshi, 6th Dan)
CRAO 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, 8th 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)
CRAO Technical Committee Founding Member
For over 60 years, Sensei Bellhouse has been diligently practicing 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 Bellhouse has also served as CRAO 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 as well as being among the first group of Canadians to achieve the title of Renshi. Sensei Bellhouse, along with Sensei Peter Giffen, founded the Ontario Yudansha clinic program 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 training clinics with every Chito-Ryu master that has visited Canada including Chito-Ryu O Sensei (Dr. Chitose).
Sensei Martin Sisler
(Renshi, 5th Dan)
CRAO Technical Committee Member / Secretary
Sensei Sisler is a karate instructor with an intense passion for cultural and historical references related to karate teaching and training. He has been involved in every facet of Chito-Ryu administration during his many years with the style, commencing his training in February 1991 at Richmond Hill Karate & Fitness Centre (RHK.)
Sensei Sisler’s foundational influences in Chito-Ryu karate are Senseis Romualdo and Darlene Ferri, Sempai Don Burnside, Sempai/Coach Ron DiCarlantonio, Sempai Tim and Jill Bishop, and Sensei James Ferri.
Sensei Sisler is a past and current CRAO Director-at-Large, past CRAO Vice President, and past CRAO President. He is currently a CRAO Referee Committee Member and due to a passion for creative writing, has authored over 200 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 Chito-Ryu clinics. He has competed and coached at provincial competitions for Chito-Ryu and Karate Ontario, while also competing at a high level at Chito-Ryu international competitions.
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 (50+ competitors in the division) and placed 5th in the finals at the 2004 World Chito-Ryu Karate Championships in mens black belt individual kata (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).
Sensei Deborah Brooks
(Shihan, 4th Dan)
CRAO Technical Committee Member
Biography to follow.