Soke Michael Ratcliff began his martial arts training in 1968 at the Salvation Army Boys Club in Brooklyn NY under Sensei Carlos Martinez. He earned his black belt at the age of 16 years old, an awesome feat! He then went on to train in Hung Gar Kung Fu under GM William "Bill" Chung in 1989 and also trained in Choy Li Fut Kung Fu in 1993 under Sifu Charles Brown in Brooklyn NY.
In 2015 Soke Ratcliff received the rank of Godan (5th Dan) in Tsunami Ten Kai Bujutsu and trained in gun disarms and retention with Kaiso Emanuel Perez. It was in May 2018 that he received the rank of Hachidan (8th Dan) in the AVM self-defense system under GM Terry Pointer. He has also also trained in various systems such as Wing Chun, Shotokan, Urban Jujitsu and Kickboxing.
Martial arts has been the source of his life since, as a child he was insecure about his self and not very good at sports where his brothers excelled. It was from the first kia that he heard coming from the downstairs at the boys club that he became was hooked! While his mom thought he was at the club playing basketball he was secretly learning martial arts. It is interesting that he often sneaked out to attend the martial arts classes. Soke Ratcliff is now 61 years old and he still has that very same passion! He has been teaching since the age of 19 years old and has been training in the martial arts for over 50 years.