Goju Ryu Karatedo


GO             hard
JU               soft
RYU          style
KARA       empty
TE              hand
DO              way

GOJU RYU KARATEDO – the hard / soft style way of the empty hand

Goju Ryu is a system of Karate, which uses a combination of hard and soft techniques. It combines hard striking attacks like kicks and punches with softer circular techniques for blocking and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws. Goju Ryu’s specialty is in-fighting or close-quarter combat.

Originally in Okinawa, karate was usually called Tode - China hand ( the written character To 唐,, meaning China, could also be read as Kara, and in order to popularise their martial art in mainland Japan, the kara reading of tode was adopted but using the ideogram meaning empty 空,, De could also be read as Te, so the martial art of Tode 唐 手 became karate 空 手 ). There were three “styles” of karate practiced in Okinawa, Tomarite (which has left no modern successor ); Shurite ( from which styles such as Shotokan evolved ) and Nahate ( from which Goju Ryu evolved ).

A man recognised as the foremost teacher of Nahate was CHOJUN MIYAGI Sensei (who trained under KANRYO HIGAONNA). When one of his students, Jinan Shinzato was demonstrating his karate in mainland Japan, he was asked what was the name of the style of karate he was doing (in Japan, all styles of martial arts had a “name”). Unable to answer, on his return to Okinawa he asked Miyagi what he should answer to such a question in future. Miyagi Sensei took the name for his style of karate from a line in the classical Chinese text on martial arts, the Bubishi. In this text was a poem called the Kenpo Hakku ("The eight laws of the fist"), which reads “Ho wa Go Ju wa Don To su” ( the way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness ).

The name Goju Ryu was formally registered with the Dai Nippon Butokukai ( the All Japan Martial Arts Association ) in 1933.

In the 1930’s Miyagi Sensei taught GOGEN YAMAGUCHI in Japan, and on his return to Okinawa, left Yamaguchi as the head of Goju Ryu in Japan.

In 1998 the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai recognized Goju ryu Karatedo as an ancient form of martial art (koryu) and as a bujutsu. Until that time, only martial arts practiced in mainland Japan by samurai had been accepted as koryu bujutsu.