Goju-ryu

My Goju-ryu Story - Closer To My Target

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My Goju-ryu Story

 

(Closer To My Target)

 

NOTE: You should understand that my teaching style is often VERY direct. At times, I even use explicit language…which may offend some people. This teaching style often goes against what many people “expect” from a teacher or instructor. And, sometimes this offends what many people in the West call “the Ego”. If this teaching style is NOT for you then I strongly encourage you to find another teacher that better matches your current needs and expectations.

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If you have not read my earlier post My Shotokan Story – What Got Me Started On My Path, then I recommend you do so. It will help to make this post make a little more sense. Just click on the link below.

While Shotokan Karate-do1松濤 – Shoto – translates to “pine waves” and kan – 館 – which translates to “house” or “hall”. is a Japanese based art with Okinawan roots, Goju-ryu Karate-do2Goju-ryu – 剛柔流 – is translated as hard/soft style or school or half hard, half soft. More information on how the name of the art came to be can be found in the body of this post. is an Okinawan art that has, at least to a small degree origins or connections to Southern Chinese martial arts3 .

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Goju-ryu Karate-do

Goju-ryu Karate-do History

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Higaonna Kanryu Goju-ryu

Higaonna Kanryo

東恩納 寛量

1853-1915

Here’s an example of the kind of information out there on Higaonna Kanryo floating around out there on the interwebs:

There is still no consensus of opinion about Ryu Ryu Ko’s exact identity nor about the exact martial art style which he taught. However it is widely believed that the family of Ryu Ryu Ko had originally been of the aristocratic class, and in those times only the aristocratic classes studied the martial arts. Ryu Ryu Ko studied at the southern Shaolin Temple in the mountains of Fujian Province. Due to the internal strife that threatened the feudal system and therefore the Chinese aristocracy, the family was forced to conceal their status in order to survive. For this reason Ryu Ryu Ko worked as a bricklayer and a builder. In later life he lived by making a variety of everyday goods such as baskets, furniture and other items from cane. This was the profession he was following when Kanryo Higaonna became his pupil…such was the devotion of Kanryo Higaonna that he eventually became Ryu Ryu Ko’s uchi-deshi i.e. he received the inner teachings thus learning the whole system, as well as the study of weapons, and traditional Chinese medicine.

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The Mysterious Ryu Ryu Ko

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Ryu Ryu Ko Goju-Ryu

 

[browser-shot url=”https://historyandstoriesofgojuryu.blogspot.com/2020/10/ryu-ryu-ko-mysterious-teacher-of-kanryo.html” width=”775″ height=”345″]

 

If this is the mysterious Ryu Ryu Ko, I do have an interesting connection to him through both my Yangshi Taijiquan4Yangshi – 揚式 – translates as Yang Family and Taijiquan – 太极拳 – translates to Grand Ultimate Fist or Boxing. The Yang family system of Taijiquan is the second oldest version of Taijiquan and it is the most widely practiced Taijiquan system in the world. lineage as well as my Ryusei-ha Hakutsuru-ken5Translated, Ryusei – 龍精 – is Dragon Spirit and ha –  派 is school, faction or sect. Hakutsuru – 白鶴 – is White Crane and ken – 拳 is first. lineage. Please do take the time to review the following if you have not:

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[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt-jtJOqthw” /]

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mezxms-qXbY” /]

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8hOuVK8EW0″ /]

Miyagi Chojun Goju-ryu

Miyagi Chojun

Founder of Goju-ryu Karate-do

 

 

With regards to Goju-ryu (including the information above and below this section) and much of martial arts in general (regardless of the country of origin) is that sometimes you just have to say “I don’t know”. Written records are few, far between and sometimes just non-existent. And, for those of us from an Okinawan based lineage, there was World War II and the utter destruction of so much of Okinawa6The Battle of Okinawa in April of 1945 last approximately 82 days and was the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of operations. Approximately 149,611 Okinawans and  77,485 Imperial Japanese soldiers lost their lives. It is approximated that 90% of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures..

 

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Ho Goju_Donto

 

Bubishi Kenpo Hakku Goju-ryu

Bubishi Kenpo Hakku – Click to enlarge

 

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Goju-ryu Kata

Goju-ryu Karate-do Kata

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When it comes to the kata7 型 – the pre-arranged one person forms or sets of Goju-ryu Karate-do, there is some very interesting research information that indicates that Higaonna Kanryo

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Shoreikan Goju-ryu

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Seikichi Toguchi Goju-ryu

Shoreikan Goju-ryu

 

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Seiko Higa Goju-ryu

 

I do have to admit that for quite some time as a young man, I really did “ignore” the entire Toguchi line of Goju-ryu Karate-do. And, honestly, I cannot tell you why. As a very young man, I did have Toguchi Sensei’s original book. But I just cannot tell you specifically why he and his line of Goju never really struck a cord with me. My personal loss really as I believe that there is a great deal of interesting information there.

Busaganashi Goju-ryu

Japanese Goju-ryu

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Yamaguchi Gogen Goju-ryu

Yamaguchi Gogen – The Cat

Japanese Goju-Kai

Goju Kai Goju-ryu

International Karatedo Gojukai Association

Yamaguchi Gogen Sensei’s nickname of “The Cat” is a bit of an interesting story. And, like much of Goju-ryu, it is shrouded in differing explanations.

Even today, young man, if you were to face me in combat, I would be able to determine in a second the strength of your Ki. Immediately I would know if you were a good opponent. It is this quality, and no other, which has given me the name of The Cat.Yamaguchi Gogen

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Sensei Luis Morales

10th dan (Judan), Hanshi

Goju-ryu Karate-do

Michael Davis with Sensei Luis Morales (center) circa 1992 in New Jersey
Click to enlarge

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My Goju-ryu Experience

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Higaonna Morio Goju-ryu

IOGKF Logo Goju-ryu

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Miyagi Anichi Goju-ryu

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IOGKF Website Goju-ryu

Jundokan Goju-ryu

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Shotokan Karate-do vs. Goju-ryu Karate-do

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Kyan Chotoku Goju-ryu

It is important to understand that the difference between Chinese method and Okinawan preference. The Chinese commonly use the tips of their fingers against an opponent while the clenched fist is chiefly used in Okinawa. It should be noted that the clenched fist is one of the fundamental differences that makes Karate a unique fighting method [when compared to its Chinese counterpart].Kyan Chotoku ~ 1929 interview

In case you missed it at the beginning of this article, I am making the comparison of Goju-ryu Karate-do to Shotokan Karate-do due to this earlier article. If you have not read it, it may help you to understand my journey and point of view related to most topics on this website.

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Goju-ryu Succession

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Goju-ryu Hakutsuru Connection

The Hakutsuru Connection

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In the end?

I hope no one is triggered by the tobacco reference

 

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  • 1
    松濤 – Shoto – translates to “pine waves” and kan – 館 – which translates to “house” or “hall”.
  • 2
    Goju-ryu – 剛柔流 – is translated as hard/soft style or school or half hard, half soft. More information on how the name of the art came to be can be found in the body of this post.
  • 3
  • 4
    Yangshi – 揚式 – translates as Yang Family and Taijiquan – 太极拳 – translates to Grand Ultimate Fist or Boxing. The Yang family system of Taijiquan is the second oldest version of Taijiquan and it is the most widely practiced Taijiquan system in the world.
  • 5
    Translated, Ryusei – 龍精 – is Dragon Spirit and ha –  派 is school, faction or sect. Hakutsuru – 白鶴 – is White Crane and ken – 拳 is first.
  • 6
    The Battle of Okinawa in April of 1945 last approximately 82 days and was the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of operations. Approximately 149,611 Okinawans and  77,485 Imperial Japanese soldiers lost their lives. It is approximated that 90% of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures.
  • 7
    型 – the pre-arranged one person forms or sets

 

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  • 1
    松濤 – Shoto – translates to “pine waves” and kan – 館 – which translates to “house” or “hall”.
  • 2
    Goju-ryu – 剛柔流 – is translated as hard/soft style or school or half hard, half soft. More information on how the name of the art came to be can be found in the body of this post.
  • 3
  • 4
    Yangshi – 揚式 – translates as Yang Family and Taijiquan – 太极拳 – translates to Grand Ultimate Fist or Boxing. The Yang family system of Taijiquan is the second oldest version of Taijiquan and it is the most widely practiced Taijiquan system in the world.
  • 5
    Translated, Ryusei – 龍精 – is Dragon Spirit and ha –  派 is school, faction or sect. Hakutsuru – 白鶴 – is White Crane and ken – 拳 is first.
  • 6
    The Battle of Okinawa in April of 1945 last approximately 82 days and was the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of operations. Approximately 149,611 Okinawans and  77,485 Imperial Japanese soldiers lost their lives. It is approximated that 90% of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures.
  • 7
    型 – the pre-arranged one person forms or sets

About Michael Davis

Michael Davis
Beginning his martial training almost 50 years ago, Michael Davis has spent almost his entire adult life attempting to internalize, add to and propagate the body of knowledge that makes up the principles and techniques of the life preserving combative arts and sciences. Michael has taught or assisted with the teaching of seminars and events in 17 US states and four countries. In addition to training every day martial artists, he has taught members of the US military as well as law enforcement at every level...from local LEOs to Federal Marshalls and US Secret Service agents (protective detail). He has co-authored a martial arts book, written numerous magazine articles that were published internationally as well as appearing in and assisting with the production of martial arts videos and other training materials.
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