Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate Doh Jundokan South Africa  

Copyright 1997 by Buddy Govender.  Permission to use, copy and/or download any material from this site MUST be sought from the copyright holder.


What is Okinawa Karate-Doh Goju Ryu?

Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-Doh is a blend of Chinese soft and flowing dynamics of White Crane Kung Fu (from the Fukien Province in China), and, the powerful and destructive techniques of Okinawan Kempo (way of the fist). Goju Ryu Karate-Doh literally means 'The Way of the Half Hard, Half Soft System of Empty Hand.'  Goju Ryu was developed by Miyagi Chojun O'Sensei (1888-1953), a wealthy Okinawan, who devoted his entire life to the study and development of the art of Naha-Te from his teacher Higaonna Kanryo Sensei (1853-1915). Higaonna Kanryo Sensei studied Shaolin Kempo in Foochow, Fukien Province, China from Master Ryu Ryuko. On Higaonna Sensei's return to Naha, Okinawa, he opened a Dojo in Nishimachi at his home. His reputation spread and many sought him out for instruction, however, many did not last as the training was severe.  Miyagi Chojun Sensei started his training with Higaonna Sensei when he was fourteen years old. Miyagi Sensei was one of the few that remained with Higaonna Sensei and persevered with his training.  When Higaonna Sensei passed away in October 1916, Miyagi Sensei was the natural successor and continued with the refinement and advancement of Naha-Te. In 1921, Miyagi Sensei performed Naha-Te to the then crown prince Hirohito at Nakagusuku Bay in Okinawa. This performance impressed upon the crown prince that Karate-doh was highly developed in Okinawa. Miyagi Sensei was one of the first teachers of Karate-doh to teach outside of Japan. In 1934, he went to Hawaii to spread Okinawa Goju Ryu.

Miyagi Sensei was represented by his most senior student, Shinzato Jin'an at the All Japan Martial Arts Tournament, which was held to celebrate the Coronation of Hirohito. After his demonstration of Kata, heMiyazato Sensei teaching Miyazato, Yagi, Toguchi and Eiko Miyazato Sensei's was asked which school of karate he represented. He did not have an answer as there was no name given to their brand of Naha-Te. On his return to Naha, he discussed this with Miyagi Sensei, who decided to choose a name from the "Eight Precepts" of Chinese Kempo found in the document called "Bubishi". It translates as "The way of inhaling and exhaling is  hardness and softness" 

Miyagi Sensei's training was also severe and testing. The training focused around Sanchin Kata and Junbi Undo, e.g. Nigiri-game (heavy stone jars), makiwara (striking post) and ude tanren (forearm conditioning). Sanchin Kata was repeated over and over again. Miyagi Sensei's most notable students were Seiko Higa Sensei, Miyazato Ei'ichi Sensei, Yagi Meitoku Sensei, Iha Koshin Sensei, Kina Seiko Sensei, Shinzato Jin'an Sensei, An'ichi Miyagi Sensei.

Goju Ryu deMiyagi Sensei teaching pre-war classfenses are circular, sweeping and deflective in nature (soft), whilst the attacks are direct, destructive and devastating (hard). Emphasis is given to a particular type of deep breathing Kata called 'Sanchin' and 'Tensho'. With sincere and consistent practice of these two Kata, it is possible to develop the internal organs, muscles, skeletal system, co-ordination, mind and spirit, without the use of body- building weights, expensive gyms and health clubs.  The fighting techniques used in Goju Ryu are extremely effective in real life self-defense situations but are not conducive to the 'glamour' of competition Karate, whiMiyazato Sensei correcting Buddy's katach only allows you to use a limited number of techniques (e.g. gyaku tsuki, mawashi geri etc.). Therefore we are convinced that Kata (forms) is the soul of Karate-Do as all the techniques can be practiced at full power and without the fear of endangering your training partners life. Goju Ryu Karate-Do can be practiced by children and adults, both male and female of any age. Whatever your present physical condition, the training is carefully packaged to introduce you to this fascinating and dynamic art. Progress depends entirely on you commitment and consistency. What you put into your training, so will you be rewarded.                                                                                        

With grateful thanks to Terry O'Neill's Fighting Arts International No. 36 (Vol.6  No. 6) for many of the photos