East London Goju Ryu Karate Club


The East London Goju Ryu Karate Club was founded by Jim McEvoy Sensei in April 2005, although most of the students who formed the club at its beginning had been training together under McEvoy Sensei for many years.

The club has its origins with a small group of Shotokan students preparing for their grading’s. At their dojo, McEvoy Sensei also participated in the classes (eventually grading to shodan in Shotokan himself), and often led the sessions. Occasionally McEvoy Sensei would demonstrate Goju Ryu, and seeing this and being impressed by his level of fitness, two brown belts, Jamie Still and Darren Sugg asked if he would prepare them for their Dan grading’s. The resulting training sessions became a regular occurrence, so much so that they, and another student who joined in those early sessions, Harry Still, asked if they could start formal training in Goju Ryu Karatedo.

The manager of a local community centre, Dave Gladstone (himself a Dan grade in Wado Ryu and Shotokan) was approached and asked whether the club could rent his hall, not only did he agree, but he allowed them to use the hall two nights a week, free of charge.

The dojo was named the West Beckton Goju Ryu Karate Club and it opened in August 2000. The students who trained on that first session were Jamie Still, Darren Sugg, Harry Still, Peter Denny, Dave Gladstone, Ben Benadjaoud and Colin Clarke.

Dave Gladstone resigned as manager of the Community Centre, and soon after the dojo conditions deteriorated, the floor particularly. It was because of this that a new location was looked for. Harry Still was the site supervisor a local school, Saint Joachim’s and suggested this would provide a good “home” for the dojo. The dojo moved there in June 2003.

In 2004, Chris Rowen Shihan (McEvoy Sensei’s Goju Ryu teacher), opened a dojo in London’s Covent Garden. As the West Beckton club was now well established, McEvoy Sensei left to continue his study under Rowen Shihan.

Rowen Shihan wanted to increase the awareness of the style of karate he was teaching, and McEvoy Sensei, after grading to sandan, was given permission to open a dojo, which would teach this style, and be a member dojo of Rowen Shihan’s organisation, the Bunbukan.

A hall was rented in a local public house, The Black Lion in Plaistow, East London, so the dojo was named the East London Goju Ryu Karate Club. McEvoy Sensei contacted the members of his old dojo to inform them about the new dojo, and its association with Rowen Shihan’s Bunbukan, all wanted to join, so they decided to close the West Beckton dojo, and begin training formally as members of the Bunbukan.

The students that made up the East London dojo at the start were Jamie Still, Darren Sugg, Alan Bendell, Harry Still, Peter Anderson, Wendy Denny, Peter Denny, Chris Taylor, Julie Anderson, Danny Thompson, Keith Romain and Geoff Trimble.

Due to the small size of the hall at the Black Lion, no other students, other than those mentioned, could train, so another hall was looked for. The new dojo started in St Helens school, in Plaistow, not far from the Black Lion, in September 2005.  The continual growth in student numbers meant that the Monday session had to be also be moved to the St Helens venue in March 2011. The Monday session was closed in March 2012 and amalgamated into a longer Wednesday session to allow McEvoy Sensei more time to continue his further studies into the martial arts.

The dojo welcomes students from all over and often has guest teachers from other martial arts styles and systems giving instruction. The dojo also hosts regular courses by Bunbukan founder and chief instructor Chris Rowen Shihan, 7th Dan Goju Ryu Karatedo.

Kobudo weapon lessons are also available to students at the dojo.