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History of Goju-Ryu Karate-do

Welcome to the world of Martial Arts. The martial arts discussed below are Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate and Ryukyu Kobu-jutsu. Okinawa refers to the main island of the Ryukyu island, a chain of islands stretching from southern Japan to Taiwan.

GO (hard or firm) refers to strong, straight-liner and powerful aggressive strikes and blocks, while JU (soft or gentle) refers to soft, yielding, circular deflections and pinpoint strikes to vital areas.

Karate originally meant "China hand", but was changed to de-emphasize its Chinese origin. The modern word "Karate" translates as "empty hand". It should be noted that contrary to popular belief, the term "Karate" does not refer to without weapons. "Kara" (empty) is a Taoist or Zen concept and does not relate to weaponry. Kobu-jutsu refers to ancient weaponry fighting arts. The concept of the hard and soft are also valuable in the development of character.

The student of Goju-ryu should always be strong and capable of defending him / herself while at the same time practicing humility and respect for others. As the student advances in training, the emphasis gradually shifts from hard-style basics to softer more advanced techniques.

Goju-ryu Karate-do was founded by Master Chogun Miyagi in the late 1920's. Master Miyagi was the successor to Master Kanryo Higashionna, the leading exponent of Naha-te, on of the three original "systems" that later developed in modern Karate.

While a young man, Master Higashionna (already an accomplished martial artist) was a seaman on a ship engaged in the China trade. On one of these expeditions a young boy fell overboard. master Higashionna bravely jumped overboard and saved the drowning youth.

The boy's grateful father happened to be a well-known Chinese Boxing master, Master Ryu Ryu Ko. When Master Ryu offered Master Higashionna a reward, the young Higashionna asked for instruction in Ryu Ryu Ko's Chinese Boxing (Kingai-noon) System. Master Higashionna studied in Fukien, China for thirty years and upon his return, brought most of the forms and techniques tht would later form the basis of the Goju-ryu system (as well as many others).

Master Miyagi, born to a wealthy family devoted his life to the mastery of Master Higashionna's techniques even housing his instructor so not a moments training would be wasted.

After his teacher's death, Master Miyagi also journeyed to Fukien, China, where he studied Southern White Crane Boxing and other internal arts (said to include Hsing I and Pa Kua Chuan).

Upon his return to Okinawa, Master Miyagi set about systemizing what would later be known as Goju-ryu. This combination of the "hard style" techniques and conditioning with the theories and techniques of the "internal" Chinese schools allows students to constantly progress as one advances in age and experience, instead of declining with age as a result of developing only physical strength.

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