He began his Karate training in 1984 in Burlington, Ontario with Hanshi Wallace Platt, head of our affiliated organization, Classical Martial Arts Canada.
Traditional Japanese Karate is the basis of Sensei O’Connell’s training and specifically the Goju style. He has also trained in and teaches Tai-Chi Chuan and Kobudo (ancient weaponry). He received his Shodan (Black Belt) in January 1990, and his Nidan (2nd degree) in 1992, both through the Butoku-Kai via Sensei Richard Kim. He received his Sandan (3rd degree) in 1995 through CMAC and subsequently also from Sensei Peter Urban, head of U.S.A. Goju. In March, 1999 he received his Yondan (4th degree) in both Karate and Kobudo from Hanshi Platt.
During 2002/03 he received the Level 5 Degree from the Confederation of Canadian Wushu Organizations together with his Godan (5th Degree) from Classical Martial Arts Canada. In March 2009 he earned his Rokudan (6th Degree), followed in October 2014 by his Shichidan (7th Degree), both from Hanshi Platt.
Throughout his years of training, Sensei O’Connell has attended numerous seminars, camps and lectures by many internationally well-known Martial Arts Instructors. In 1991, Sensei O’Connell travelled with other instructors to the Far East to observe and train in the Martial Arts. They visited Tokyo, as well as the traditional Boy’s Day Martial Arts Festival centered at the Budo Den in Kyoto, Japan. They also travelled to Hiroshima and then on to Hong Kong and Bangkok, Thailand. He returned to Japan in 1999 with a number of CMAC students and instructors on a trip centered around Tokyo and Kamakura. In August, 2002 he accompanied the Canadian International Kuoshu Wushu Federation to China. They toured through Shenzhen, Guangzhou (including the Chen Family Ancestral Hall), Beijing (including climbing the Great Wall and visiting Tia’anemen Square, The Summer Palace and The Forbidden City) and finally Shanghai.