Our Founder’s History

Dai Master Raf

Dai Master Raf is the founder of great and wonderful Xen-Do Martial Arts and today we’ll be delving deeper into his history to learn more about his influential past!

Rafael Nieto has been involved in Martial Arts since 1972. During that time, he taught Mugendo for thirty years under the supervision of Meiji Suzuki. He has done various fighting systems, winning national and international titles.

He became Technical Director of the National Karate College in 1988 and British Team Coach in 1992. Dai Master Rafael founded and developed the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) representing the Spanish Organization in 1994. He won the British WAKO title four times in addition to the World and European WAKO title.

Besides Martial Arts, he served as a firefighter in London for 15 years, helping people in dangerous situations, living life on the edge. This love of adventure and active lifestyle spills over into his hobbies as he can say that he has climbed Mount Everest, Machu Picchu and dived in the Red Sea.

Rafael Nieto founded Xen-Do Martial Arts and opened four dojos in central London, Marylebone, Baker Street, Goodge Street and Mayfair, with ambitions to expand ever-further.

His philosophy is “Fit For Life”. Master Rafael understands that people who do Martial Arts should incorporate it as a symbiotic part of daily life. Martial Arts and life must unite as one.

With his pupil, Master Ricardo Gress, he works closely to promote the Martial Arts community in both Great Britain and Spain. They are recognised as leaders in the Martial Arts community worldwide.

In 2012 he was awarded the most important Henry Cooper award in recognition of his contribution to the inspiration and development of the younger generation and most recently became Vice President of WAMAI and continuing his support for the Martial Arts community.

Dai Master Raf leaves us with a great quote about his martial arts teachings:

“Is it for self-defence or is it just for fitness…. the reason I ask you is because some people think this is just for fitness but….

I’m teaching you how to use your body, that doesn’t mean you have to go around attacking people but if you need it, you have the tools.”

Let us know who you want to learn more about!

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