A brief history of Goju Ryu Karate
Karate originated on the island of Okinawa off the southern coast of Japan. However fighting systems had existed in Asia for thousands of years before the name ‘Karate’ was ever used. When the various martial arts that existed in China were practiced on Okinawa, they were collectively known as Tode, or Chinese Hand.
Okinawa also had its own systems of combat known as Te; the main ones being Naha-te, Shuri-te and Tomari-te. It was the fusion and development of these arts that became widely known as Kara-te when a council of Okinawan-te masters agreed the term in 1936.
Karate, or empty hand, was therefore never meant to be a ‘style’ in its own right; rather a global term to represent all unarmed fighting arts. Therefore, although the name ‘Karate’ is relatively new, the fighting art that we practice has a heritage of several thousand years.
The name Goju is derived from two contrasting terms: ‘Go’ meaning hard, and ‘Ju’ meaning soft. Goju differs from most other Karate systems in its proximity of fighting. Great emphasis is placed on striking and grappling at close quarters, both standing and on the ground, making it a good style for reality-based self defense.
Goju Ryu traced its roots to the late 19th Century, when an Okinawan islander named Kanryo Higaonna travelled to Southern China and trained under a White Crane master named Ryu Ryu Ko. On his return he taught his art and one of his students began to emerge as exceptional. His name was Chojun Miyagi.
After Higaonna’s death in 1915, Miyagi combined his knowledge of Chinese systems with his own native Okinawan fighting arts (Tode) to create Goju Ryu Karate. On his death in 1953, Ei’ichi Miyazato took over as the head of the Jundokan and the Okinawan Goju Ryu system.
Just like the founder of Goju Ryu we at DKK have a holistic approach to teaching, learning and training. We continue to explore the fighting arts and if something has the correct fundamentals and concepts it can be used within the DKK Goju framework since we are concerned with effective self defence techniques through basics, forms, drills, sparring, groundwork, weapons and supplementary exercises for combatants to reach their optimum fighting ability. Thai and European boxing, wrestling, throwing and weapons training have played a part in the evolution of this system, making it a very effective modern combative system.
Shihan Lewis and Shihan Mulholland are only three generations away from the founder of Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate.