Raphael is a boxing coach with over 15 years of experience, First Aid Trained, NCCP Certified, King Of The Cage Canadian Heavyweight Mixed Martial Arts Champion (2010-2011), and Olympic WT Taekwondo Black Belt with referee training under ‘Big John’ McCarthy (C.O.M.M.A.N.D.). He has been training and competing for nearly 40 years since 1984 – beginning in boxing under legendary Frank Rodriguez at the N’Amerind Boxing Club and in Tracey Kenpo Karate under Master Ralph Chinnick.
Raphael moved into and spent most of his competitive years in Taekwondo beginning at Bluewater TKD in Sept 1985, fighting at Black Belt in 1987 then with Master Sang Kim, and eventually under Olympic Team Coach Young Choung. He has competed, won, and/or placed in numerous Taekwondo Provincial and National championships including the 2000 Canadian Olympic Team Trials. He has been training ever since in his first dedicated art, with a focus on competition fighting at the provincial and national level including 1997, 1999, and 2018 Canadian Championships.
Raphael has had 10 Professional MMA fights as well as over 70 matches in other combat sports from WT Taekwondo, Brazilian Jujitsu, Kickboxing, Pankration, and Japanese Jujitsu (winning the 2001 N.E. Regional & New York State Jujitsu Championships under Straight Blast Gym’s Richard Beaupit) and even Ssireum a Korean version of Sumo where he won the ‘Yokozuna’ (Highest Rank) equivalent at the 1997 Open Class National Ssireum Championships at Toronto’s Dano Spring Festival. He has also boxed amateur to raise awareness for, like in MMA, children’s charities at in-house, and Fivestar Fight League promotions.
Raphael has also filtered his striking through notables such as Kru Roger Lumyoung. His MMA game was further gelled together in Alberta by a JTF 2 (Canadian Special Forces) operator/ instructor training him in Burmese boxing, Muay Thai, and elite conditioning. Having founded the extensive self-defence program ‘Champion Shield’ with lifelong martial artist and specialist Anneliese Reckewitz, Raphael has gone on to achieve his Level 2 Instructor of Commando Krav Maga, a brutally effective form of self-defence.
With a background in security including most notable service for heads of state such as former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former Chinese President Hu Jintao as well as personal protection, celebrity, event, and facility security Raphael’s mission is to bring valuable lessons, leadership, teamwork, and discipline that greatly enriched (and at times protected) his life to others through Champion Gym, while assisting others in channeling low-esteem violence into positive athletic personal power with the ethical structure only martial arts and sports can offer.He has extensively taught and coached (and fought) Boxing, MMA, kickboxing, as well as grappling ground and pound in the early days of Champion Gym.
Complementary to his work in Martial Arts and sports, is his Health, Safety, Environment, and Security profession with a focus on the oil and gas sector, where he consulted as an external auditor for Energy Safety Canada. Raphael applies aspects of his profession to the safety at Champion Gym, which strengthens the line between sustainable, safe training and deadly efficacy in self-defence and champion results in sport.
Coach Raphael still competes at the 19-29-year-old division level in Taekwondo, fighting as recently as December 2022, as he believes in leading by example as you are able.
Most importantly, Raphael is the proud father of 2 young children, who are his world.