Renshi Ray Owles
Rokudan / 6th Degree Okinawa Karate-Do Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan
Yondan / 4th Degree Okinawa Kobudo Kokusai Rengokai
Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1977, Ray Owles grew up in North Stonington, Connecticut. He graduated from Wheeler High School in 1996 and then attended the University of Connecticut, where he graduated in 2000 with a B.A. in Communications. Today, Sensei Owles resides in Pearland, Texas with his wife LaDona, to whom he was married in 2005.
Sensei Owles was first introduced to the martial arts in 1991. He attended a “Buddy Day Class” with his best friend and won 3 months of free karate lessons. By 1993, he was one of the top ranked martial arts competitors in New England for the highly competitive 13-17 year old division and he participated on Tournament, Demonstration and Student Teaching Teams. In 1994, While attending a training camp in Chico, CA, Ray was promoted to 1st Kyu Brown Belt by Grandmaster Shugoro Nakazato of Okinawa, 10th Degree Black Belt and head of the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate-do Association.
Sensei Owles at the Shurimon Gate at Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa
In 1995, Sensei Owles achieved the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt under Sensei David Ahrens of Hope Valley, RI. Sensei Owles would often spend 3-4 hours a day in the dojo, teaching and training 5-6 days per week. While attending the University of Connecticut, Sensei Owles taught Self-Defense Seminars on campus for students and also helped to form a Traditional Okinawan Karate Club. This club became an outlet for college students who had been displaced from their dojos, to come together and train. Every available weekend, Sensei Owles would travel home to continue his training with Sensei Ahrens, and in 1999 he was promoted to Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt). In 2000, after graduating college, Sensei Owles relocated to Houston, Texas to continue his training under some of the top ranked traditional Okinawan Karate instructors in the country.
In 2011, while attending a training camp hosted by Hanshi (9th Dan) Doug Perry (Major, USMC Ret., former North American President Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Association, founder Shorin-Ryu Kensankai), Sensei Owles tested for and was awarded the rank of Godan (5th Dan) by a panel of senior Shorin-Ryu Instructors including Kyoshi (8th Dan) Pat Haley, Kyoshi (8th Dan) Jerry Taylor and Kyoshi (7th Dan) Tom Ward.
Sensei Owles with Hanshi Minoru Nakazato at the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Hombu Dojo in Naha, Okinawa
In 2014, Sensei Owles travelled to Beijing, China and Okinawa, Japan with Kyoshi (8th Dan) Pat Haley, Kyoshi (7th Dan) David Ahrens and Kyoshi (7th Dan) Clint Green. On that trip, Sensei Owles tested at the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Hombu Dojo in Naha, Okinawa and was promoted to 6th Degree Black Belt (Renshi), by Hanshi (10th Dan) Minoru Nakazato, President of the Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Association.
In addition to his rank in Karate, Sensei Owles has achieved the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in the art of Kobudo (Ancient Okinawan Weapons). The weapons he teaches include Bo, Sai, Nunchauku, Tonfa, Eku, Kama, Tanbo and Tekko.
Sensei Owles travels around the country several times a year in order to teach alongside and train under some of the world’s top ranked Okinawan Karate Masters. He currently operates a small dojo in Pearland, Texas under the guidance of his instructor, Kyoshi (7th Dan) Charlie Dean.