Ishinryu training has taken place at the Woodlane club Dojo since the mid 1970’s. Wood Lane is in Dagenham on the East London / Essex border and comes under the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
The first ever Ishinryu club was established by Ishinryu founder Ticky Donovan at Wood Lane in 1973. Woodlane karate is directly descended from that first club which was located on the same site as the old Wood Lane sports Centre. At that time Karate training was undertaken in Nissan huts until a sports centre was built on that site in 1982. A number of Karate legends trained under Ticky Donovan at Woodlane in the early days including Peter Dennis, Will Verner, and Tyrone White – all of whom went on to run their own clubs.
After some years sensei Donovan handed over the running of Woodlane to sensei Fred Kidd. Sensei John Walton ran the club during the 1980’s until 1991 and then handed the club over to sensei Tony Postbeschild and sensei Chris Vant.
The next change occurred in 2003. The other major Dagenham Ishinryu club, based at Goresbrook and led by sensei Lee Smith, merged with Woodlane. Goresbrook had formed in the early 1990’s from ex-Woodlane students, so this change was really just a unification of the original Woodlane club.
After 36 years of training on the same site, the old Wood Lane Sports Centre finally closed its doors in May 2011. The club relocated to the Becontree Heath Leisure Centre, just a few hundred yards away.
Following the 2020 Covid outbreak we had to move again – this time to our current location in Gooshays Drive. At the same time sensei Lee Smith decided to focus full time on running the new Ishinryu Hombu in Romford, and leadership of Woodlane was fully passed to sensei Chris Vant.
We continue to train as Woodlane Ishinryu in tribute to the long and successful history of our club.