A Brief History of Goju-Ryu

The art of Naha-te, founded by Kanryo Higaonna Sensei, forms the basis of Goju Ryu Karate. Kanryo Higaonna Sensei was born in 1853 and was part of the lower gentry. He longed to study in China the art of Chinese Kempo, however, was lacking in financial means until he was introduced to the owner of a ship.

Fortunately, the owner granted him passage and Kanryo Higaonna Sensei soon arrived at the port city of Foochow, the only city in China engaged in trade with Okinawa at that time. Eventually, he was introduced to Master Ryu Ryuko. Kanryo Higaonna Sensei spent sixteen years in Foochow, China, studying under Master Ryu Ryuko and become like a son to him.

He also became well known throughout the region as a great martial artist. Upon his return to Okinawa, Kanryo Higaonna Sensei paid his respects to the owner of the ship, Yoshimura, and began teaching his sons the art he had learned. As the word spread of his great skill, he soon also taught members of the royal family. Later he opened his own dojo.

Okinawan GOJU Ryu

Miyagi Chojun Sensei chose the name Goju-Ryu from the third of the Eight Precepts of traditional Chinese Kempo, as found in the document “Bubishi.” They are as follows:

1. The mind is one with heaven and earth.
2. The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.
3. The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.
4. Act in accordance with time and change.
5. Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.
6. The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.
7. The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.
8. The ears listen well in all directions.

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