Bunbukan Chief Instructor - Chris Rowen Shihan

Chris Rowen was born in Manchester on February 9th 1954. He was a natural sportsman and competed at a high level in athletics, football and boxing (at professional level). He became attracted to the martial arts and studied Kempo and Aka Ryu Jujitsu, achieving Dan Grades in both.
Looking for a more philosophical and spiritual dimension to his martial arts, he wrote to a Master he had heard of in Japan who would accept foreign students. This master was Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi. Yamaguchi Hanshi answered Chris Rowen, inviting him over to visit his dojo in Tokyo. So, in 1979, Chris Rowen went to Japan for a six-week stay to meet with and train under Yamaguchi Hanshi. In that short stay
Chris Rowen realised that Goju Ryu karate, as taught by Yamaguchi Hanshi was what he had been looking for. He returned to Japan for a second time and was told by Yamaguchi Hanshi that if he were serious in his endeavours to learn Goju Ryu Karatedo, then he should consider moving to Japan. Taking Hanshi’s advise, Chris Rowen moved to Japan in 1981.
Training at the dojo was hard and consisted of three sessions a day, six days a week, but Chris Rowen put all his efforts into his training, so much so that in the same year as he arrived in Japan, he graded to shodan.

While at Yamaguchi Hanshi’s dojo, Chris Rowen also had the opportunity to see exhibitions from various Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian martial art masters invited over to Japan by Hanshi. This attitude to opening up his dojo to any and all martial artists was to lead Chris Rowen to adopt the same policy when he would eventually open his own dojo back in England. Because Hanshi wanted to give Chris Rowen the best training he could get, when it came to learning kobudo (old martial ways) weaponry, he advised him to travel to Okinawa to study under Eisuke Akimine Sensei, the head of the Ryu Kyu Kobudo Ken Kyu Kai, and highly respected kobudo master. Another teacher Hanshi introduced Chris Rowen to was a Shinto priest called Ide Donno.
Following in Yamaguchi Hanshi’s footsteps Chris Rowen went on to become a Shinto priest as well as a teacher of Goju Ryu Karatedo.

After receiving his teachers’ license, Chris Rowen returned to England in 1984. His first dojo, the East West centre in London’s Old Street, soon became well known as a place of excellent karate. He next opened the London Goju Ryu Karate Centre at Curtain Road, near London’s Liverpool Street, again a mecca for anyone wishing to learn traditional Goju Ryu Karatedo.

Following his teachers’ example, Chris Rowen opened his doors to anyone wishing to train, regardless of system or style, and even allowed other clubs to use the dojo to practice their arts. The dojo name was changed to the Bunbukan, in order to unite all martial arts and artist’s, not just Goju Ryu Karatedo.
Chris Rowen was awarded his Shihan Menjo (master teachers license) in 1997 and his Nanadan (7th Dan) in 2007.