"Coyote" - 9th Dan
Sensei Michelle Ratthe currently trains under Master Joseph Kelljchian. She has assisted him in weapons, fighting, and rape prevention seminars in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and throughout the United States.
Sensei Michelle has been teaching martial arts since the 1980's. She started a school when she was a brown belt; and received her black belt from Master Kelljchian in 1989. She currently teaches in two locations: Pembroke Pines and Plantation, Florida. USA Goju karate is a part of her life and she will go on to share this life with others.
"Kairyuu" (Ocean Current) - 3rd Dan
Born in the Philippines, martial arts is part of the Filipino culture. I started in the USAGF in 1998 under Master Michelle Ratthe and Grandmaster Joseph Kelljchian
"Screech Owl" - 4th Dan
Sensei Chantalle started karate at the age of 6 and has grown in the USA Goju system. She competed in many tournaments and was ranked 3rd in the state of Florida for fighting, by the F.B.B.A and the F.S.K.A. in 1994. In 2001, Chantalle went under the guidance of Sensei Stephen Ciriaco and Sensei Michelle Ratthe. On November 17th 2004 Chantalle received her shodan.
I was first introduced to the martial arts while growing up as a teenager in Lithuania. A demonstration at a local martial arts school piqued my interest and I joined the club shortly thereafter. I trained and competed for several years before moving on to college. As I focused on my college studies and subsequently moved to the U.S., I drifted away from active training for some time. However, the philosophy of martial arts always interested me and the desire to get back burned deep inside. One day in 2001, I stopped by a dojo in Plantation, Florida and discovered a hidden pearl which is the USA Goju Federation. It had all I was longing for in a martial arts, and what amazed me then and keeps challenging me to this day is the diversity of the technology USA Goju has to offer. Over time, however, I grew to understand that the true strength of this ryu lied in the amazing group of senseis who warmly accepted me in their family. I was honored to receive my shodan in June of 2006.
First introduced to Isshin Shorin Ji Ryu Okinawa Te karate system as a child in New Jersey, to defend myself from bullies, it is at this time a love for the martial arts began. My sensei at the time taught us that martial arts is not only in the dojo, but in life as well. Although, I only too this style of karate for a short periord of time, my passion for the martial arts flourished. I would never forget the lessons that I have learned in that dojo.
My journey back into the martial arts would eventually take over 20 years. I was looking for a martial arts school for my nephew, and in 2001, I found Sensei Steve & Sensei Michelle of the USA Goju Federation. Goju has not only taught me self-respect and discipline; it also installed balance, a healthier lifestyle, and most important a friendship. I was honored to receive my black belt on June 20th 2007.
I came across USA Goju karate by chance. But the moment I started training I knew this was what I was looking for. The traditional style and discipline has helped to further develop my inner strength and focus. Karate has also increased my ability to recognize and seize opportunities that I might have otherwise thought were beyond my reach. I have trained under Master Steve Ciriaco and Master Michelle Ratthe for many years and was promoted to Shodan in June 2008.
Not only has Goju prove to be a superior style, it has guided me to profound friendships and expanded my family. I am proud to say both my children have joined me in this journey and are currently training at the Plantation dojo.
I began my life in the dojo in the year 2000, thanks to my father. Through long hours of practice and years of patience, I have achieved my black belt on June 27th 2012. I was only able to accomplish this through the encouragement of my family and my dojo family. I will say it is the greatest feeling I have ever known.
Goju Now and Forever!