Sensei Raoul Vogel – 6th Dan - IOGKF Austria
I was born on 1 August 1961 in Cape Town, South Africa. At the age of 3 my parents moved to Windhoek, Namibia where I grew up.
I was always an active person and participated in swimming and tennis, making into high school first teams for both sports. During my youth one Bruce Lee film after the other was released. Of course our family watched every single one. Even my father was an avid follower. And so my brother Robert and I thought that we could convince our parents to allow us to participate in Kung Fu classes – to no avail – watching the films was in order, actually taking part in classes definitely not. Being innovative young lads we went to Plan B: We started working on our mother! Lo and behold – Success. We were allowed to start training. Only then did we realise that there was no Kung Fu on offer in Windhoek at that time. We found one Shotokan (JKA) dojo with a strange reputation and some time thereafter a Goju Ryu dojo. This was going to be it and towards the end of 1976 we started training in Goju Ryu Karate.
Unfortunately the dojo closed down within one year and we drifted between not training and listless participation in a Tenshinkan dojo. In 1979 Sensei Hennie de Vries moved to Windhoek from Cape Town and revived Goju Ryu Karate. My brother and I trained up to 4 times a week, sometimes even double classes per night. The fruits of our labours were rewarded. In approx. 4 years we achieved Shodan under the then South African Chief Instructor Sensei Etienne Coetzee. During the next years both Robert and I made it into the Namibian National Karate team and participated in various International events. My personal best in sporting achievements was definitely taking first place in the men’s open Kata division at the 10 year anniversary of the Windhoek Dojo against participants from Namibia, South Africa and Germany. This event was also the end of my sporting career and I have ever since committed myself to traditional Karate for self-defence purposes and for its moral and ethical values.
I moved to South Africa for the first time during 1985 and trained with Sensei Tony de Beer. During this time I met Charlie Avis with whom an immediate rapport existed. And for many years thereafter I trained with him and helped to teach in his Dojo in the North of Pretoria, South Africa. In the ensuing years I lived in South Africa, back in Namibia, 2 years in Germany and back again in South Africa. During these years I managed to advance my grades to up to 4th Dan. Not having a direct instructor any more, the Gasshuku’s and seminars with Sensei Bakkies Laubscher became ever more important for me. Ever since this time I have considered Sensei Bakkies as my personal teacher and follow his teachings as closely as possible.
In 2001 I decided to leave South Africa permanently and moved to Germany for a year and then on to Austria where I now reside. In Austria I met a kindred spirit in Michael Holzer, my current most senior student (3rd Dan) and a very close personal friend. We trained together in his home dojo and in 2005 decided to open our own dojo. IOGKF Austria was born! In the meantime the dojo is still small, but growing with a strong core of dedicated students. We have an affiliated dojo some 200km from Vienna in Linz and a very strong and successful cooperation with IOGKF Dojo Slovakia, Bratislava. I am currently graded Rokudan (February 2010) having achieved Godan under Bakkies Sensei some years ago.
In private life I am a chartered accountant holding a director position with one of the Big-4 Accounting and Auditing firms and head 2 departments in the firm. I enjoy reading, watching TV and travelling.