Renshi Sensei Ray Howard’s martial arts career began in 1988. He originally trained under Sensei Will Hardin of Hardin’s School of Martial Arts located in Smyrna, GA., which at the time was sanctioned by the IKKU – International Karate Kobudo Union. While training with Hardin Sensei for 8 yrs through 1996 he studied Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu, Hakko-Ryu Ju Jitsu, Koga-Ryu Kobudo, Katsu-Ryu Kempo, Shiatsu, Knife, Cane and Jo Techniques. Renshi Sensei was tested and awarded both Shodan and Nidan in Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu under Sensei Will Hardin with certification coming from Kita Kaze Bujutsu Kai which was under the leadership of Shihan Richard Kelley.
In 1999 Ray Howard founded Mikomi Karate Kai which was based out of Dallas, GA. With both a children’s and adult program in the school, participation levels of 60 students were achieved at its peak enrollment. Mikomi Karate Kai continued focused training of Motobu-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do, Koga-Ryu Kobudo and Hakko-Ryu Ju Jitsu. Both group and private classes were offered at Mikomi Karate Kai. The school ended its martial arts programs in 2003. Renshi Sensei Howard continued to train independently for several years out of a private dojo, picking up occasional students to maintain bunkai, teaching skills and a shared loved of the arts.
Renshi Sensei rejoined the IKKU International Kobudo Karate Union in 2013 to further his knowledge and expertise in the arts. Training began immediately in KotoSu-Ha Shito-Ryu Karate-Do under the tutelage of Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin of the Keishin Karate Kai in Duluth, GA. In 2018 because of logistics, he moved to Tora Shin Karate Kai under the tutelage of Hanshi Ron Downton which is located in Social Circle, GA. Rensei Sensei continues to train with both of these great masters of the IKKU.
Sensei Ray Howard was tested by Soke Joseph Ruiz and awarded the rank of Sandan and the Renshi Title in KotoSu-Ha Shito-Ryu during 2015. In 2016 he was tested and was awarded IK-KYU Rank in KotoSu-Ha Kobudo by Soke Joseph Ruiz. In 2018 he was tested and awarded the rank of Yondan and the Renshi Sensei Title in KotoSu-HA Shito-Ryu Karate-Do.
During his career, Renshi Sensei Ray Howard has had the privilege to train with many experts during class, clinics, and camps. Among those include, Sensei Will Hardin, Hanshi Richard Kelley, Sensei Dan Pittman, Renshi Sensei LD Thomason, Doc Stroud, Renshi Sensei Gene Williams, Kyoshi-Sei Larry Griffin, Hanshi Ron Downton, and Soke Joseph Ruiz.
Today Renshi Sensei Ray Howard continues to teach privately when suitable students are discovered from along the path.