What is Goju-Ryu Karate?
The literal translation of the Japanese term Goju is “hard/soft” – go meaning hard and ju meaning soft. Ryu means school, thus Goju-Ryu is the hard/soft school of Karate.
Goju-Ryu Karate is one of the four original Okinawan styles of Karate, and was founded by Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953). Sensei Miyagi had spent years in China training with the Chinese masters of White Crane style Kung Fu before returning to Okinawa to formulate what is now known as Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Do.
Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate has a very pure lineage.
Gojo-Ryu Karate is a traditional martial art that was handed down from the founder Sensei Chojun Miyagi to his student Sensei Anichi Miyagi and then to Sensei Morio Higaonna in an unbroken line, which means the art has not been diluted or embellished through the generations like many other martial arts have. Instead, Goju-Ryu Karate persists as a highly effective fighting system today. It is not a sport style of Karate but offers its students a practical method of self defence in any situation.
Characteristics of Goju-Ryu Karate
Goju-Ryu Karate has a great variety of hand and foot techniques and employs hard and soft techniques with both circular and linear movements. Particular emphasis is placed on strengthening the body and mind with supplementary exercises.
The basic idea of the hard and soft style is use a soft blocking technique to block a hard strike or to deflect the strike rather than to meet force with force. Likewise, when attacking, Goju-Ryu employs a hard technique against a soft target and vice versa. For example, in Okinawan Goju-Ryu a palm heel strike (using the relatively soft palm heel of the hand) is often used to strike something hard like the head. Another example for the hard/soft aspect is a kick (hard) into the groin (soft).