Sensei Raymond Richard Castilonia (1945-1999) was the founder of Aoinagi Karate. The following biography is taken from Sensei Paul Schwartz’s eulogy for Sensei Castilonia:
Sensei was many things but most of all he was a truly gifted and inspiring teacher that touched so many lives in so many ways and transformed them for the better. Teaching was his calling and so many of us heard his call to open our hearts, to engage fully, to live in the moment and enjoy the simple things in life. He helped his students to grow, to establish their own moral codes and to become contributing members of their communities. Through his many years of teaching Sensei has sparked many a fire that will continue to burn bright in each of us in many ways.
In 1964 Sensei’s formal karate training began, learning Okinawan karate under the Gencks brothers, in Southern California. In 1969 he trained under Sensei Del Saito in the Goshin Jitsu School in San Bernardino. The school was headquartered in Hawaii with Sensei Al Kahalekulu as chief instructor and Del Saito as the California representative. Sensei Kahalekulu was Sensei Castilonia’s first Shugyo Sensei and taught him many of the kata and lessons of life we still practice today. Under the direction of Sensei Kahalekulu, he went on a martial arts experiential journey (a “Mushashugyo”) at the age of 25. This involved traveling around the world, spending months visiting and discovering new places, ranging from the remote villages in Thailand to the densely populated cities of India and the arid deserts of the Kalahari.
On March 8, 1972 Sensei received his first-degree black belt and the title of Sensei. He became assistant instructor at Sensei Saito’s school and also began shito-ryu karate instruction at Loma Linda University. In 1975, through Sensei Miyaji, Sensei was introduced to O’Sensei Richard Kim. O’Sensei Kim became Sensei’s primary instructor and Sensei Miyaji remained as his representative to the Zen Bei Butokukai. This introduction sparked a 27-year relationship with O’Sensei Kim. After an entire year of wearing a white belt Sensei obtained the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from O’Sensei Kim.
Sensei competed successfully in a number of tournaments. He won 1st Place in Kata at the National Karate Championships and second place at the Pan American Karate Championships.
In 1978, Sensei established Aoinagi Karate-do at the Redlands Community Center. Since then, a variety of Aoinagi branches have sprouted and grown in cities all over the North American continent. Many lives have been touched and transformed by this organization and Sensei Castilonia’s lifework to keep traditional martial arts alive and well in the United States.
Sensei Castilonia’s Writings: