East London Goju Ryu Karate Club Instructor

 Jim McEvoy Sensei


5th Dan Goju Ryu Karatedo


1st Dan Shotokan Karatedo


2nd Dan Jiko Ryu Karatedo



Jim McEvoy Sensei started his Karate training in the summer of 1983, aged twenty, under Greg Wallace Shihan, the founder of Renshinkai Karate. The dojo was situated at Kennard Street Community Centre, North Woolwich (Monday nights) and also at the Mayflower Centre, Canning Town (Wednesday and Friday nights). The grading’s were held at Lincoln Hall, Bow.

The instructors at the dojo were Greg Wallace Shihan, Elan Adams Sensei and
Mick Ellis Sensei.

Greg Wallace Shihan
It was Ellis Sensei who had the greatest influence on him during his time at Renshinkai, due to his practical approach to karate. Although a very successful competition coach, Ellis Sensei’s “speciality” was hard, no nonsense training, with a leaning towards a street oriented combat style. It was Ellis sensei’s realistic approach to karate that led him to be very popular with the students at the Renshinkai dojo, eventually leading to him developing a style of karate, differing from the purely competitive style favoured by Wallace Shihan. This lead Ellis Sensei’s students to convince him to start his own school. The resulting club was called Jiko Ryu and training was held at Ettrick Street, Poplar.

Jim McEvoy Sensei started training at the Ettrick Street dojo in the winter of 1988.

Mick Ellis SenseI
 The training sessions at this dojo were very hard and sparring could be brutal (it was common to see the students leaving the dojo bloodied). He took his Shodan grade in Jiko Ryu in December 1990. The grading lasted four hours and twenty minutes, with only a short break of ten minutes after two hours to change his soaking gi, and drink some water.
His Nidan was taken two years later. The grading was again over four hours long, but wasn’t anywhere near as tiring, as it was more of a technical testing (the karateka going for Shodan didn’t think so though). The “highlights” of that grading was for the Nidan candidates to have to “fight” everyone taking Dan grades that day, and also to fight two and three students at the same time.
It was also required of those taking Nidan to demonstrate correct technique by performing Tamashiwari (board breaking).
 The boards that were to be broken were 12 inches square and one inch thick. Three boards stacked together had to be broken using seiken tsuki (normal fist punch) and four boards using yokogeri (side kick).

After passing his Nidan, he felt the need to further increase his knowledge of the martial arts, so decided to start training in Iaido, the way of drawing and using the katana (the longer of the two swords carried by the samurai). He began training under Trevor Jones Sensei of Kenseikai Dojo, studying Zen Nippon Kendo Remnei Seito Iaido at Poplar. While training at this dojo, he also took the opportunity to practice Kendo, which Trevor Jones Sensei also taught. He stopped training at the dojo shortly after passing his Ikkyu.
The reasons for his departure from the Iai dojo were firstly his desire to continue his studies in the empty handed martial arts, and secondly a shoulder injury he had received in training was not recovering due to the repeated cutting practice required in Iaido

It was Aikido that he turned his attention to next. His first experience of this martial art was in the Tomiki style, but after only a few sessions he started training at the Meidokan dojo, West Hampstead, under David Rubens Sensei of Yoshinkan style Aikido. While at Ruben Sensei’s dojo, a visiting sensei from Japan gave a demonstration. This sensei was Kuniyuki Kai Sensei, who was an Eighth Dan in five different martial arts. One of the arts he demonstrated was Goju Ryu Karate.

This demonstration was amazing; he was totally in awe of the power and grace evident in the two kata he performed. Until that point he had not been a great believer in the practice of kata and was unaware of how important it was. The demonstration had such a profound effect on him he decided then that he would find a Goju Ryu dojo, as it had become obvious to him that to further increase his knowledge in the martial arts, he did not need to find another martial art; he just needed to fully study karate itself.

That being so, apart from physical training, he also started academic study of the martial arts, reading and collecting books from anywhere he could.

Kuniyuki Kai Sensei   

 One karate master he read about, and has since managed to acquire all of the books he has written was Gichin Funakoshi. Although never having met or trained under him, it is through his teaching and thoughts that he wrote in his books that McEvoy Sensei’s understanding of the moral obligations of martial artists became known (apart from his books, Funakoshi Hanshi is credited with being the man who brought the knowledge of karate out to the world, without him, we may not have known of karate at all. As such, he is known now as “the grandfather of modern Karatedo")

McEvoy Sensei contacted the then chairman of the English Karate Governing Body, Steve Rowe Sensei and asked where he might study Goju Ryu. Rowe Sensei said the one person he could recommend was Chris Rowen Shihan. Mcevoy Sensei started training in Goju Ryu under Rowen Shihan in the summer of 1994 at the London Goju Ryu Karate Centre, Curtain Road, just off Liverpool Street. From the very first lesson he was hooked, it was just what he had been searching for. He returned to the Jiko Ryu dojo and informed Ellis Sensei that he would be leaving to study Goju Ryu (he has visited the Jiko Ryu many times since, and still hold Ellis Sensei in high regard).

Chris Rowen Shihan was a Jujutsuka who went to Japan to further his martial arts training. It was while in Japan that he enrolled at the Zen Nippon Karatedo Goju Kai (All Japan Empty Hand Way Hard Soft Association) Dojo in Tokyo. Training in Japan consisted of three session’s a day, from seven until nine in the morning, then twelve until three, then seven until eleven at night, six days a week. As a live-in student at the dojo, Rowen Shihan was also expected to help clean the dojo floors and toilets on his hands and knees. While at the dojo Rowen Shihan’s teachers were Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi, the founder of the Goju Kai and student of Chojun Miyagi (the founder of Goju Ryu), his son Goshi Yamaguchi, the chief instructor of the dojo, Iwanami Sensei, Toyashima Sensei and Togo Sensei. Eventually Rowen Shihan was helping teach at the dojo himself.

While training in Japan, Rowen Shihan also traveled to Okinawa, to study Kobudo (Ancient Martial ways) under Akamine Sensei.

Chris Rowen Shihan
 After receiving his instructors’ certificate, Rowen Shihan returned to England and opened his first Dojo in London at the Pineapple Studios, Covent garden. The dojo moved from there to Old Street, which closed when the dojo was moved to Curtain Road. This dojo closed when Rowen Shihan opened the Bunbukan Dojo at opposite end of Curtain Road. Training at these dojo took place five days a week, three sessions most days. Rowen Shihan’s instruction was very technical. This ensured that the correct form and application of technique was learned by his students. He often would spend weeks repeating the same lesson, until he was sure that the points he was demonstrating were truly understood by everyone (usually saying “Slow to learn, slow to forget").
Due to his close association with Yamaguchi Hanshi, Rowen Shihan was heavily influenced by Shinto (literally: the way of the gods, the ancient religion of Japan, based on nature worship), so much so he became a Shinto priest.
 Because of this he instilled in all who used the dojo a sense of the correct way to treat the dojo and behave while in it. Various Shinto practices were also carried out in the dojo by Rowen Shihan, like incense burning and offerings placed before the dojo shrine. On the first training session of the New Year, sake was drunk and fresh offerings were placed at the shrine, to bring good luck to the dojo for the coming year.

McEvoy Sensei had trained at both Curtain Road dojo, and it was here that he met another martial artist who was to have a lasting effect on his “style” of training, Stewart McGill. When he first trained with Stewart, he was an Ikkyu (now Sandan), but was already taking most of the lessons when Rowen Shihan was not present. His sessions were hard to say the least, due to his level of fitness and spirit. When he led a training session, very few students managed to carry out all the repetitions he wanted them to. McEvoy Sensei spent his time at the dojo being pushed to my limits by Stewart, both in kihon (basic training) and kumite (sparring). The way he, Stewart and another student, Mark Landymore trained together was regarded by most as too extreme, so much so that Rowen Shihan asked for them to refrain from their type of training when other people were at the dojo (apparently they were scaring away potential new students). They used to arrive early and stay late, so that their training could continue. While at Rowen Shihan’s dojo, McEvoy Sensei also had the opportunity to train under other visiting instructors. Rowen Shihan’s Sempai (senior) Tino Ceberano Kyoshi (at that time the highest graded non-Japanese graded by Yamaguchi Hanshi), taught “Advanced Research for Martial Arts Education and Development”. Patrick McCarthy Kyoshi (world-renowned authority on the Asian martial arts, and student of almost every master from the latter half of the twentieth century, including training at the Shaolin Temple) taught Koryu (Ancient style) karate, to name but two.

He continued to train under Rowen Shihan and became one of the seniors, responsible for opening up the dojo in Rowen Shihan’s absence, taking the sessions when Stewart McGill was not present, Grading to Shodan in 1996. This grading was not as hard as his previous Dan grading’s, as to start with, he was unaware he was grading. The other Dan grades present had an idea someone was grading, so kumite was “interesting” to say the least ! While training at the Bunbukan, McEvoy Sensei was invited to visit a Shotokan dojo, by the instructor, one of whose student’s was an old student of his. The dojo was at the West Beckton Community Centre, and the instructor was Fr. Seamus Mulholland Shihan. He took up the invite, and was impressed by the training and the abilities of the students present. As he was looking for a local dojo for his son, Paul, to join, he enrolled him at this dojo. Because he was there, watching his son whenever he could, Mulholland Sensei suggested he might as well join in the training sessions. Looking to continue his study of karate, he started training in Shotokan in 1997, while continuing his Goju Ryu training. From the outset, Mulholland Shihan asked him to sit on grading panels and also to act as “pace setter” on Dan grading’s at the club.

While training in Shotokan, Stewart McGill, suggested they attend a course in Krav Maga, a combat method used by the Israeli military. This they did, under international Krav Maga instructor Alwyn Dixon, and what a tiring and injurious course it turned out to be (Stewart has since become an instructor in this as well).

Training stopped at the Bunbukan 1998, with the closure of the dojo, due to Rowen Shihan going teach overseas. McEvoy Sensei did not try to find another Goju Ryu dojo, as he wanted to continue his Goju training as Rowen Shihan had taught, not as another instructor might teach, so continued to practice at home.

McEvoy Sensei graded to Shodan in Shotokan Karate in 1999 became an instructor at the Hoskins Close dojo, and occasionally demonstrating Goju Ryu karate there. The students were impressed by Goju Ryu, and asked if he would coach them coming up to their Dan grading’s. The resulting training sessions became a regular occurrence, so much so that they asked if they could start formal training in Goju Ryu Karatedo. A club was opened at the Hoskins Close Centre and was named the West Beckton Goju Ryu Karate Club
It opened in August 2000, and moved to Saint Joachim’s School in June 2003

McEvoy Sensei restarted training under Rowen Shihan again when he opened a new dojo, this time at Covent Garden at the beginning of March 2004, continuing his study; he was graded to sandan on the 18th of May 2004. He left the dojo at Saint Joachim’s to focus on his training under Rowen Shihan and with Shihan’s permission, opened a new dojo, The East London Goju Ryu Karate Club in September 2005, as a member dojo of his organisation, the Bunbukan, and to teach his style of karate. McEvoy Sensei received his Instructors Certificate, along with his Goju Ryu sempai Giancarlo Frau and Alkin Rashid, from Rowen Shihan in September 2005 (the first three people graded as instructors by Rowen Shihan in the Bunbukan).

Receiving their Instructors' license

 McEvoy Sensei graded to 5th dan at the Bunbukan Honbu Dojo, Winchester on the 18th of October 2008.

Jim McEvoy Sensei was awarded the M
enkyo Kaiden (license of total transmission) from his teacher Chris Rowen Shihan on the 4th of June 2013:-

in recognition of his many years of faithful study and practice of the martial arts"

 Jim McEvoy Sensei collaborated in Chris Rowen Shihans book "Kata Tensho, Ancient Form to Modern Day Application"


and the DVD's "Kata Tensho",  "Sanchin, Unification of Mind, Body and Spirit" and "Begining Goju Ryu Karatedo"

He also collaborated with Urban Krav Maga chief instructor, Stewart McGill in the online instructional course "Kata and Reality Self Defence"                     

In 2016, Jim McEvoy Sensei became a regular article writer for Martial Arts Guardian Magazine