Protecting the night
You leave your shadow in day
And shine like the moon
~ Haiku Donna
Personal Martial Arts Journey
Raven has trained in the martial arts for longer than she likes to admit! She started at a young age with Judo, and advanced to tournament level. This began a passion that eventually meant she trained in Cempa freestyle kickboxing, Taichi, Jeet Kune Do and White Crane Kung Fu. Later on, she moved away from the Chinese arts to more traditional Japanese styles. She trained in Wado Ryu Karate, Shotokan, Aikido and the sword martial art of Iaido.
A constant martial art that she has trained in for a number of decades has been Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu, or commonly known as simply Ninjutsu. She felt this particular art addressed all of her needs and through it she was able to develop her physical skills, mental maturity and personal development.
Ninjutsu allows her to move freely and in a way that enables self-expression. It goes beyond the simple mechanics of fighting, in fact she dislikes the overly macho nature prevalent within the martial arts world. She feels the balance, the harmony between femininity and masculinity is out of balance and she goes some way to inject harmony back into the martial art world before it becomes brittle and breaks. It is like the Japanese sword that is both made of hard steel and soft steel, without both natures the sword becomes useless. As the reader may by now realise, Raven takes a philosophical outlook to martial arts training.
Raven is currently Judan 十段 (10th Dan). She holds a shidōshi menkyo, which means she has a licence and permission to teach the nine schools of the Bujinkan that was awarded by Soke Hatsumi, the Grandmaster of the nine schools who teaches in Japan.
Raven’s personal Bujinkan journey has led her to train with some of the most advanced practitioners in the field both nationally and internationally. Nationally she started her training with Jake Sharpstone (15th Dan) when he started to teach in Cambridge. Jake has been her mentor and friend for many years and has had a significant influence on her abilities today. She rates Jake as one of the top instructors in the Bujinkan and continues to train with him today in Brighton.
Her journey has also meant she has regularly trained with other experienced practitioners within the Bujinkan; Sandy Marwick (Hemel Hempstead), Keith Porter (Kent), Norman Smithers (Essex), Peter King (London), Brin Morgan (London) and Duncan Olby's Dojo in Hammersmith London.
She has also travelled far and wide to seek the experience and training of international ninjutsu specialists. She has trained with Mirko Ostojic (Serbia), Michael Waschak (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Pavel Slavík (Czech Republic), Doron Navon (Israel), Pedro Fleitas (Gran Canaria), Alfred Galea (Malta), Sven Eric Bogsäter (Sweden), Ed Lomax (Australia).
She has also trained at the heart of the Bujinkan world, in Japan Tokyo and specifically a small village called, Noda-shi with Grandmaster Soke Hatsumi Masaaki. Also trained with a number of other masters in Ninjutsu whilst there; Seno Sensei, Noguchi Sensei but predominately with Nagato Sensei under whose instruction she now trains. It was Nagato Sensei that agreed with Soke Hatsumi that Raven should be awarded 9th Dan grade, after they saw her technique during training at the hombu dojo.
Raven has also trained with other residents in Japan within the Bujinkan world. With Rob Renner (Zero Point Dojo), Sean Askew, Elizabeth Jane Sally and Darren Horvath, who cut Raven while she was seated, eyes closed, for her Godan (Sakki) test.
Taking from all of the above teachings together with her own personal experience and unique way of movement, she has developed a fluid, strong and powerful ability within the ninpo traditions and guides others to find their own unique way within the ninpo tradition.
In addition to continually developing her own skills and learning she is committed to the development of others and will often be characterised as a perfectionist. She has taught both nationally and internationally. Running dojo’s in Cambridge and Peterborough. She has also given seminars in Slovakia and taught military personnel at USA base Mildenhall. She helped with the instruction of Cambridge Police Force and conducted security personnel, close protection training as well as women’s defence courses.