Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Goju Ryu (Japanese for "Hard-soft style") is a style of karate, so called as it allows a combination of hard and soft techniques. The development of Goju Ryu goes back to Kanryo Higashionna, (1850-1915), a native of Naha, Okinawa. As a teenager he trained with an Okinawan master named Aragaki Seisho . At the age of twenty he sailed to Fuzhou in the Fukien Province of China and spent many years studying various martial arts, mostly under the kung fu master Liu Liu Ko, who is supposed to have been a shoemaker. He returned to Okinawa during the middle of the Meiji Era (1868-1911) and continued in the family business of selling firewood, while teaching a new school of martial arts, distinguished by its integration of go-no (hard) and ju-no (soft) kempo in one system. The word karate was not in common use at that time, and Higashionna's style was known as Naha-te.
Higashionna's most prominent student was Miyagi Chojun (1888-1953) who began training under Higashionna at the age of 12. After Higashionna's death Miyagi sailed to China and studied there for several years, returning to Naha in 1918. Many of Higashionna's students continued to train with him, including Higa Seiko (1898-1966) who inadvertently gave the style its name. After a demonstration one day, Higa was asked what the style was called. Recalling a favorite saying of Miyagi's, Higa said it was called "Goju-ryu." The name stuck. The line he was thinking of was "Successful methods require both give and take (go and ju)" which is from an anonymous poem called the Ha Po ("Eight Sayings") from a Chinese manual called Wu Pei Chih ("Handbook of Military Arts and Science") well-known in Okinawa, where its title is pronounced "Bubishi ".
'Go' means hardness or external force, 'ju' means softness or internal force.
Goju-ryu combines hard striking attacks like kicks and punches with softer circular techniques for blocking and controlling the opponent. Major emphasis is given to breathing correctly.
The International Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) has made Goju-ryu widely popular, with schools in almost fifty countries. The IOGKF is run by its founder Morio Higaonna , a student of Miyagi An'ichi , a student (though no relation) of Miyagi Chojun.
However, Goju-ryu has developed an extremely complex web of diverse traditions founded by different students of Miyagi Chojun and their successors, and no one person can be objectively said to be the leader of Goju-ryu nor any one entity the governing body of the entire style.
Other leading figures have included Yagi Meitoku (1912-2003), who inherited Miyagi's school on Okinawa; Toguchi Seikichi (1917-1998) ; and Miyazato Ei'ichi (1922-1999). Peter Urban (1934-2004), Anthony Mirakian , and Kimo Wall are prominent Americans who brought Goju-ryu to the United States.
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