The Institute of Classical Japanese Budo Culture

文武館 - 古典日本武道文化研究会

                              THE BUNBUKAN         文 武 館

BUN               literary or written word
BU                 military or martial
KAN              hall

BUNBUKAN – The hall of martial study

The kanji BU is made up of two characters, one showing halberds crossing, indicating fighting; and another character meaning to stop. Therefore the true meaning of Bu is to stop fighting, so the Bunbukan is a hall where one studies how to stop fighting.

The Bunbukan, the Institute of Classical Japanese Budo Culture, was founded by Chris Rowen Shihan in the early 90’s to preserve, promote and disseminate the aspects of Koryu Karatedo ( old style empty hand way ), such as etiquette, respectfulness and the spiritual side, as followed by Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi ( Rowen Shihan’s teacher ) and his peers. It is these principles that the Bunbukan is trying to preserve and carry on and bring to a wider audience.

The first Bunbukan dojo was near London’s Liverpool Street. This dojo was formally known as the London Goju Ryu Karate Centre. At this dojo Rowen Shihan regularly invited instructors from other martial art traditions and styles to teach his students, as well as allowing other systems access to training facilities. This he did following on from the similar practice carried out by his own teacher in Japan.

Recognising a common bond between all martial arts and martial artists, Rowen Shihan changed the name of the dojo to Bunbukan to encourage not just Goju Ryu karate practitioners, but also any other martial artists wanting to study traditional Budo to come and be part of his organisation.
The Honbu dojo moved to Winchester in 2006.


The MON (badge / crest) of the Bunbukan incorporates two things:

The black outer edge represents the ENSO, meaning circle. It is perhaps the most common subject of Japanese calligraphy. Some artists draw Enso “closed”, while others leave an opening in the circle, symbolising that the Enso is not separate, but is part of something greater. Enso symbolises enlightenment, strength, elegance, and the universe, and is an "expression of the moment". The Enso is one of the deepest symbols in Japanese Zen: a symbolic representation encompassing the universe in an endless, cyclical line it said to show the true nature of existence and enlightenment. It is a symbol that combines the visible and the hidden, the simple and the profound, the empty and the full. 

The inner symbol is TOMOE, meaning turning or circular, referring to the motion of the earth. The tomoe is related to the yin – yang symbol, and has a similar meaning, representing the play of forces in the cosmos. Visually, the tomoe is made up of interlocked flames. The symbol has three flames that reflect the threefold division of Shinto cosmology, and is said to represent the earth, the heavens, and humankind.