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Goju-Ryu is one of four major schools of Karate-Do with a proud history and tradition. The founder of Goju-Ryu, Master Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) entrusted the teaching of Goju-Ryu in mainland Japan to Master Gogen Yamaguchi (1909-1989). Master Gogen Yamaguchi founded All Japan Karate-Do Goju-Kai in 1950 and promoted Goju-Kai throughout the world. Along with our new president of Goju-Kai, Master Goshi Yamaguchi, all of the members of Goju-Kai worldwide are working as one to pursue and contribute to the development of Karate-Do.


The characteristics of Goju-Ryu can be divided into four main categories:


 1. Breathing Techniques ("Ibuki"): To consciously control breathing to unite the mind and body, activate the internal organs and to reach a state of total awareness.


 2. The principle Yo ("Go") and Yin ("Ju"): The techniques of Goju-Ryu are based on the infinite combinations of "Go" (strength) and "Ju" (softness). One can use the circular movements of "Ju" to counter the "Go" attacks and swiftly fight back with "Go".


 3. "Jiyu Kumite" (Free Fight / Combat) suited to close range combat: The "Kumite" (the practice in free style combat) of Goju-Ryu is suited to close range combat using the "Nekoashi-Dachi" (The Cat Stance) for unrestricted movement and successive multiple attacks.


 4. The philosophy of "Buji" (absence of conflict or peace): The philosophy behind Goju-Ryu is demonstrated in Master Chojun Miyagi's words "Not to be hit / attacked or hit / attack, the absence of conflict is the essence".


All Japan Karate-Do Goju-Kai continues passing down these traditions as well as actively promoting Karate-Do as a modern competition sport by participating in tournaments worldwide, gaining recognition for admirable results.

(1840 - 1910)
Kanryo Higashionna - Chojun Miyagi's Teacher

The history of Goju Ryu can be traced back to a man named Master Kanryo Higashionna, approx 1840-1910, known as the "Fist Saint of Naha". Naha city in Okinawa was thriving with martial arts activity in the 1850's. Along with practitioners from the towns of tomari and Shuri, the Naha karateka were laying the groundwork for the development of modern karate-do and kobudo (weaponry). But although Higashionna Kanryo began his training here, the true seeds of Goju were not planted in Okinawa but rather in China.  Higashionna Kanryo went to China and studied there under a man by the name of Master Woo (Ru in Japanese), who was a practitioner of Chinese boxing. Kanryo Higashionna then trained under Master Woo for approximately 15 to 20 years. On his return to Okinawa he combined his native fighting system with the Chinese system and became the father of Naha-te (Fist of Naha). It didn't take long before his fame spread throughout the island and students started to come to him for tuition. Among them was a student by the name of Chojun Miyagi.

(1888 - 1953)
Chojun Miyagi the founder of Goju Ryu

Chojun Miyagi was born in Naha as the son of a wealthy businessman on April 25 1888. Miyagi Chojun began his study in karate between the ages of nine and eleven years. In his early teens he became the student of Master Kanryo Higashionna. Under the tutelage of his Master, Miyagi underwent a very long and arduous period of training. After the death of Master Kanryo Higashionna, Miyagi Chojun then travelled to the Fukien Province in China as his teacher had done before him. In China he studied the shaolin and pa kua forms of Chinese Boxing. From the blending of these systems, one the hard/external form of shaolin, the other the soft circular/internal form of pa kua and his native Naha-te a new system emerged. However, it was not until 1929 that Chojun Miyagi named the system Goju Ryu, meaning hard soft style. The name was inspired by the `eight precepts' of traditional Chinese Boxing, quote: Everything in the universe breathes out (hard) and in (soft), etc. After some years in China, Chojun Miyagi returned to Naha where he opened a dojo (training hall). He taught for many years, and even though Miyagi Sensei's reputation as a man of Karate do was enormous, his greatest achievements lie in the organization of Karate-do teaching methods. He introduced karate-do into schools and other fields of society. He developed Kata Sanchin - the hard aspect of Goju Ryu, and created Kata Tensho - the soft aspect. These kata are considered to be the essence of the Goju style. Chojun Miyagi was a man of extremely mild temperament and it is said that he was a very humble man. He lived according to the principles of Martial Art's, that of none violence. Master Miyagi died on Okinawa on October 8, 1953.

(1909 - 1989)
Gogen Yamaguchi founder of the IKGA Goju-Kai

Jitsumi Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso. Founder and Grandmaster of Goju Kai Karate Do IKGA


Born on January 20, 1909, in Miyakonojou, Shonai, Miyazaki Prefecture near Kagoshima city on the Island of Kyushu Japan. 


Grandmaster Gogen Yamaguchi Hanshi travelled to Australia on two occasions, 1970 & 1972. During both visits he stayed at the home of Paul Starling Shihan's parents in Sydney. The Goju Kai members from Sydney, and Victoria, hold precious memories of training in the presence of Yamaguchi Kaiso, and many hundreds of Australian members have since taken the opportunity to train in his Hombu Dojo in Suginami Ku in Tokyo.


Paul Starling Shihan was the first graduate at Shihan of Gogen Sensei's prestigious Nihon Karate do Senmon Gakko, Japan Karate do College, whereby Grandmasters Inoue Motokatsu- Ryukyu Kobujitsu,  Ohtsuka Hironori-Wado Ryu , and Tamae Sensei-Rembukan, as well as Iwata Manzao-Shito Ryu, all taught regularly along side Yamaguchi Gogen Hanshi and his son Yamaguchi Goshi Shihan.


Goju Kai practitioners throughout the world mourned the passing of Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso in 1989. He had been married twice, firstly to Midori and secondly to Mitsue, and had five children: Gosei Norimi Yamaguchi; Gosen Kishio Yamaguchi;  Makiko Yamaguchi;  Goshi Hiroufumi Yamaguchi; Makiko Yamaguchi and Gokyoko Wakako Yamaguchi. All of his children practiced Karate do. Gosei Shihan has his own organisation in the United states of America and Goshi Shihan is the President of the International Karate do Goju Kai with branches in 60 countries. Gosen Shihan passed away recently and was fully involved in the running of the IKGA. Wakako Shihan was an All Japan Kata Champion and like her brothers a dedicated and inspirational instructor. Makiko Yamaguchi passed away in the 1980's .

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