The Jigoku Dojo

The Jigoku Dojo is the Hombu (headquarters) for Kyokushin Budokai Goshin Do

New Kanji horizontal blk and red

Kanji reads: Jigoku Dojo

The history of the Jigoku Dojo stretches back to 1988. It came about because of Hanshi Howes’ pragmatic viewpoint on karate training. He believes that hard, simple training, linked with repetition is the key to producing strong and capable karateka. During this time period we trained in a dojo that had bare wooden floorboards which, before training had a white bleached look, but quickly became black with the accumulated sweat. No windows were allowed to be opened and the heat was, on occasion, truly terrible. One senior student had to attend a wedding and missed training, but with a little time to spare had decided to pop in for a quick look. As he opened the door a wave of heat hit him that genuinely made him stagger back, at which point he gasped, ‘Bloody hell! It’s as hot as Hades in here!’

Soon, extra hard sessions became known as ‘Hell Sessions’, then Hanshi Howes found that the Japanese translation for Hell this was ‘Jigoku’ and then they were called ‘Jigoku Sessions’. One evening in early 1988, a lad came in wanting to join the club and asked, ‘Is this the Jigoku Dojo?’ Hanshi Howes smiled and answered, ‘Yes. You want to train?’ From the night onward, the Jigoku Dojo was born.

In 2015, Hanshi got his wish and a permanent Jigoku Dojo was opened. Small but perfect for small quality classes and with an authentic Japanese feel; it became the Hombu (head dojo) for Kyokushin Budokai Goshin Do. In 2017 Jigoku Dojo became Hanshi Howes’ exclusive trademark (see below). In 2019, a larger wooden dojo, based on traditional Japanese dojos, was opened.


Stunning artistic work by Elaine Donati

An amazing pen drawing by the famous lithograph artist Austin Cole (

In 2018 we celebrated our 30th year since our founding! It really is incredible, in today’s ‘throwaway’ society, that the Jigoku Dojo, founded for pragmatic karate, still holds true to its creed.


The Japanese-style dojo is a ‘humble wee dojo’ and is perfect for the small classes and one-to-one training that Hanshi Marc Howes considers important for learning KBGD. Since 2019 it is used for Pressure Testing.

The new Jigoku Dojo, larger and with a traditional feel.

As always, our Kaicho watches over us.