About the club


This club was established in May 2009 initially to provide an opportunity for local residents to learn traditional Karate but the club is open to anyone who wishes to train with us, even other styles of Karate and martial arts. Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do translates as the ‘Hard Soft School of the Way of the Empty Hand from the island of Okinawa’. Okinawa is the largest island in the Ryu Kyu chain of islands south of Japan and is where Karate developed after local trade with China.


Sensei Nigel Thomas, is a 7th Dan black belt, with over forty years experience of Goju Ryu and extensive knowledge of many other martial arts. Originally from New Zealand  he  has  trained all over the world including a great deal of time training in Okinawa, Japan, the spiritual home of Goju Ryu, with Supreme Master Morio Higoanna. Sensei Nigel is strong advocate of Higoanna’s mantra ‘Look, listen, sweat.’



Sensei Steven Walley, is a 5th Dan black belt. He began training in 1992 with Sensei Roy Flat in Liverpool and gained his black belt six years later. He was selected for the England team for the 2006 World Championships. He has also regularly trained in Okinawa. Sensei Steven’s personal philosophy: ‘Train hard and keep notes’



The club is affiliated to an international school called the International Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do Federation (IOGKF), through a national body, the English Goju Ryu Karate Do Association (EGKA). The IOGKF Supreme Master (Saiko Shihan) is
Morio Higaonna (Judan, Okinawa). Higaonna Shihan is a tenth Dan and a highly regarded master throughout the world. IOGKF Chief Instructor (Shuseki Shihan) is Tetsuji Nakamura (Nanadan, Canada). IOGKF Vice Chief Instructors (Fuku Shuseki Shihan) are Ernie Molyneux (Hachidan, England) and Henrik Larsen (Nanadan, Denmark)

Sensei Ernie Molyneux is also Chairman of the EGKA and UK Chief instructor.

Being affiliated to these groups gives us access to training events in the UK, around the world and in Japan at the headquarters dojo. There is a yearly European Gasshuku, or training camp, in a different European city and world Gasshuku every two years.


It is mandatory for members to hold an EGKA licence if you are training. This enables you to train at any EGKA or IOGKF dojo (trans: ‘Place of the way’, or school), hold an EGKA/IOGKF grade as well as providing personal liability insurance under the EGKA insurance scheme. (See below for prices)


Karate is a relatively cheap and affordable way of getting and staying fit. Your first lesson will be FREE, so that you can get a taste of what to expect and to see if you like it. Thereafter each session costs £8 for a1.5 hour lesson or if you prefer £50 per month (up to 3 lessons per week) which offers a £36 saving if you were to train three times per week. Kids can pay £50 per 12 week term. Other expenses include Licence currently cost £35 for 12 months for seniors and £20 for juniors (under 18). On top of this eventually you may want to purchase a “Gi” (white uniform or training suit) which is part of the formality of Karate training, this varies in price but generally between £20 – £30 will usually buy one a good quality outfit. Before you buy one, talk to the club and we might be able to get a discount if several people need to purchase a Gi at the same time. Other than this, as you become more serious and committed to training there will be various travel and accommodation expenses associated with attending regional (e.g. senior gradings), as well as national and international training events (e.g. Gasshuku). In time you are expected to attend some of these events but they are not compulsory. You’ll find the more you train, the more inclined and motivated you may become to attend such events.


The club has a written constitution based on the ethos and values of the governining bodies the IOGKF and EGKA. Please ask to read this if you wish.


The club is managed and organised by a committee comprising: Chairman, Sensei Nigel Thomas 7th Dan, Vice Chair, Sensei Steven Walley 5th Dan

Treasurer, Philip Norfolk, 1st Dan, Club Secretary David Kline 1st Dan and Secretary (kids club), Natatja Bauer 1st Dan.

More information

To find out more about our club, our parent organisations and the history of Goju Ryu Karate, take the time to have a look at the websites listed on our links page.