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Yoshin Wadokan Dojo

Yoshin Wadokan was the name given to our dojo by Dr. Hakoishi Katsumi Sensei 8th Dan JKF Wado-Kai on the 18th March 2005.  Yoshin Wadokan can be translated as: ‘The Hall of cultivation of the mind and heart through the study for peace and harmony’.


The Dojo is a dedicated building solely for the study of Wado Ryu Karate-Do and is a member of Karate New Zealand and affiliated directly to the JKF Wado-Kai (Click to See Affiliation). Below is story of how this came about.

The Dojo is now managed by Hamilton Wado-Kai Karate Club Incorporated, which was started back in late1997.  Under the leadership of Sensei Robbie Smith 6th Dan JKF Wado-Kai after his move back from Asia and the UK.  The club started to operate from school halls located within Hamilton City, with Hillcrest Normal School and Peachgrove Intermediate School being the main classes.

In January 2001 the club moved into the Peachgrove Lounge, which was managed by the City Council. Originally this building was a half way house, and then in later years split, with a play group operating from one half and a disability group operating a production factory in the other half.  The club leased the half that was used as a factory, which had a large wooden hall, built from native timber, and provided (after a lot of cleaning up) a fantastic dojo environment, complete with resident rats! (Left Picture: The Old PeachGrove Dojo)

It was at this time that the club became more established and decided to set up a fundraising group under the New Zealand Wado-Kai Karate-Do Inc. banner, with the interest to help to raise funds to provide subsidies for students to participate in tournaments and travel to seminars.

Peachgrove Lounge complex was always a temporary location as it had already been condemned to be demolished in 2007.   This gave Sensei Robbie time to look for a new building for the club to use as a dojo.  After many discussions with the council Sensei Robbie heard about a group of existing clubs on Lugton Park joining together to make one umbrella club with the interest of building new facilities and shared resources.

 (The original Bowling Club Rooms dated from the 19960’s)

Joanne Pennell (then treasurer) and Robbie Sensei, meet with Jim Hawes (Hillcrest Bowling Club) and Murray Dear (Hamilton East Bowling Club) in 2004, who started the concept of a combined sport club.  At that first meeting their vision was discussed of how the two bowling clubs would amalgamate and a new bowling clubroom with a new administration block and an area for us could be built as well as other complexes which would bring together the Tennis, Squash and Badminton Clubs, who are established clubs on the Lugton Park.  There was no use for the existing Hamilton East Bowling Clubrooms in their plan and we were told that it would be demolished.  Bingo!  Why demolish the building when it would make a fantastic dojo! It was also wishes of the members of the Hamilton East Bowling Club that the club rooms be put to use rather than be demolished.

 (Making space for the Changing rooms were the old chillier and bar once stood)

So after the first meeting the club joined the ‘Lugton Park Combined Sports Association Incorporated’ –Later branded as ‘Eastlink’.  The Eastlink made detailed plans and employed architects and held lengthy meetings with the council.  Many members for the Karate club have and still are involved with ‘Eastlink’ which is planned to be one of the main sporting areas in Hamilton.


At that time it was decided that the club structure needed to become more formal as its responsibilities would be greater and it was decided that it would form an independent committee from the NZKW Inc.  So Hamilton Wado-Kai Karate Club Inc was formed.


The original plan was for the club to move into the bowling club rooms once the new bowling greens and club rooms were built.  However, due to expensive repairs from vandalism bringing a financial strain along with a decreasing membership of the Club, they decided to amalgamate with the Hillcrest Bowling Club in 2004.  They gifted the building to Hamilton Wado-Kai Karate Club inc. in July 2004 and the club moved in on the 26th October 2004.

Eastlink by this time was well established and had applied for funding to modernise the bowling club rooms and renovate it into a state of the arts karate dojo.  To save money, members of the karate club worked hard to demolish many of the internal rooms and knocked out the bar which in the view of some of the members was not the smartest move!! With new paint, and many hours of hard work by so many members, we finally have a dojo that has outstanding facilities.

Main training dojo, with mirrors and matted floor

  •  Mirrored and large matted training area

  • Second matted training area

  • Waiting and meeting lounge

  • Gym

  • Parent waiting area with TV

  • Fully Equipped Kitchen

  • Male and Female changing rooms

  • Separate toilets and shower room

  • Storage and office space       

(Waiting are for parents, and centre part of our Dojo with smaller matted training area)

The building itself still needs on going work, and we are still improving the dojo equipment. We would like to thank all the members of our club who have donated their time and effort in either ripping out walls, painting or selling BBQ sausages as fundraising.

But a special thanks must go to Hamilton East Bowling Club who gave us the opportunity, and to its members who built the club rooms over the years. 

Thank You.

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