What is Goju Ryu?

'Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do' translates into English as 'Okinawan hard/soft empty-hand way'. Traditional Goju Ryu is a non-sport system practised for real self defence situations, health, longevity and self discovery. The biproduct of this is a complete self defence system using grappling, punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques. The emphasis is on close-combat fighting, with focus on manipulation of joints and vital points, strangulation, throwing techniques and ground fighting. You will also learn many important foundations such as generating power, grounding, tension/relaxation and body evasion.

Click here to read 'Ryukyu kenpo karate-do gaiyo', a speach by Chojun Miyagi (Goju Ryu founder) about karate-do.


History of Goju Ryu Karate

Karate is a martial art that originated in the Ryukyu Islands based on Okinawan indigenous fighting methods and Chinese Kenpo. It began as a common fighting system known as "ti" (or "te" which means hand) among the pechin class of the Rykyuans. After trade relationships were established with the Ming dynasty of China by King Satto of Chūzan in 1372, some forms of Chinese martial arts were introduced to the Ryukyu Islands by the visitors from China, particularly Fujian Province. A group of 36 Chinese families moved to Okinawa around 1392 for the purpose of cultural exchange, where they established the community of Kumemura and shared their knowledge of a wide variety of Chinese arts and sciences, including the Chinese martial arts. The political centralization of Okinawa by King Shō Hashi in 1429 and the 'Policy of Banning Weapons,' enforced in Okinawa after the invasion of the Shimazu clan in 1609, are also factors that furthered the development of unarmed combat techniques in Okinawa.

There were few formal styles of ti, but rather many practitioners with their own methods. Early styles of karate are often generalized as Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te, named after the three cities from which they emerged. Each area and its teachers had particular kata, techniques, and principles that distinguished their local version of ti from the others.

Members of the Okinawan upper classes were sent to China regularly to study various political and practical disciplines. The incorporation of empty-handed Chinese wu shuinto Okinawan martial arts occurred partly because of these exchanges.

Traditional karate kata bear a strong resemblance to the forms found in Fujian martial arts such as Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Gangrou-quan (Hard Soft Fist; pronounced "Gojuken" in Japanese). Further influence came from Southeast Asia— particularly Sumatra, Java, and Melaka. Many Okinawan weapons such as the sai, tonfa, and nunchaku may have originated in and around Southeast Asia.

Goju Ryu was particullarly determined from Monk Fist (Luohan Quan), Crane Boxing (He Quan) and Tiger Boxing (Hu Quan) as it became gradually formed by Kanryo Higaonna and Chojun Miyagi.

In 1881 Higaonna Kanryo returned from China after years of instruction with Ryu Ryu Ko and founded what would become Naha-te. His student Chojun Miyagi was the founder of Goju Ryu. Chojun Miyagi taught such well-known karateka as An'ichi Miyagi (teacher of Morio Higaonna, I.O.G.K.F Chief Instructor), Seko Higa (who also trained with Higaonna), Meitoku Yagi, Miyazato Ei'ichi, and Seikichi Toguchi.