Miyagi was born in Naha, Okinawa, April 25th 1888. At the age of eleven
he started training under Ryuko Aragaki, a teacher of Tomarite. Because
he proved a good student, Aragaki introduced Miyagi to a renowned
martial artist (whose karate was said to be second to none) Kanryo
Miyagi became Higaonna’s student in 1902. The training was very severe, but Miyagi excelled in it.
After Higaonna’s death in 1916, Miyagi travelled to China in an attempt to find Higaonna’s teacher Ryu Ryu Ko, to further his knowledge. Unfortunately, Ryu Ryu Ko was by that time deceased, but Miyagi never the less took the opportunity to study the Chinese martial arts.
On his return to Okinawa he opened a dojo to teach his style of karate. His reputation as a great karate man soon grew and he was asked to instruct the police force and begin teaching at various Okinawan schools. He revised and further developed the kata, and created the Gekisai kata along with the kata Tensho.
He travelled to the Japanese mainland in the 1930’s meeting and teaching while he was there Gogen Yamaguchi, whom he left in charge of the Goju Ryu in Japan after his return to Okinawa. He named his system of karate Goju Ryu after a line in a poem from a classic book on martial arts, the Bubishi, which read “the way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness” ( Ho wa Goju wa Donto su ).
Miyagi sensei died of a heart attack aged 65 on October 8th 1953
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