Meet Budokai Judo Club’s Head Instructor
Born and raised in North York, Ontario, Litvak Sensei has held the rank of the 3rd-degree black belt since 1997. Registered with Judo Canada, Judo Ontario and the world-famous Kodokan Judo Institute of Japan and, by association, the International Judo Federation (IJF). He is first and foremost a student and teacher and regularly attend judo seminars to keep abreast of the latest techniques and rule changes in judo competition.
Competitively, Ray won his division at the AM-CAN International Judo Challenge in 1989, represented Canada in the 1989 Maccabiah Games in Israel and has competed and medaled in other tournaments throughout North America.
Ray started practicing judo in 1972 under sensei James McNeilage. Following a brief hiatus, he started again in 1979 at Budokai’s Toronto Judo Club and since then has participated in competitions as a judo competitor and coach at the regional, provincial and international level. Ray has also had the privilege of training and mentoring with Sensei Chris Toule, 5th-degree black belt, in addition to training under Sensei Frank Hatashita, 8th-degree black belt (Hatashita Judo Club in Toronto). After competing, Ray turned his efforts to teach judo so he could share his knowledge and passion with others interested in learning Kodokan Judo.
It is because of the judo training that he has overcome many challenges in his day-to-day life, including being bullied as a child. Ray is committed to giving back to the sport that has given him so much. Enjoying the physical benefits of judo, he also believes it is a potent form of self-defense and a great aid in building character, confidence and courage. His experience and compassion have made him a friendly and patient instructor to his pupils.
Ray acquired most of his early experience as a judo teacher at the original Budokai Judo Club as well as at North York Parks & Recreation, where he also acted as program director for two years running at their Martial Arts Camp. Ray has also held esteemed positions in the judo community, including head judo instructor at North York YMCA, judo instructor at Grant Brothers Mixed Martial Arts, Thornhill Ultimate Martial Arts, Toronto Judo Kai, Toronto Judo Academy and teaching judo lessons at many private and public schools and community centers throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Ray’s students have gone on to reach their black belt level and have achieved great success in provincial, national and international judo competitions.