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Adults                         9:00 – 10:00am

Purple belt & Above      5:00 – 6:00pm


Ages 3-5                     4:00 – 4:45pm

Ages 6-12                   5:00 – 6:00pm

Adults & Teens            6:15 – 7:15pm


Adults                         9:00 – 10:00am

Purple belt & Above      5:00 – 6:00pm  


Ages 3-5                     4:00 – 4:45pm

Ages 6-12                   5:00 – 6:00pm

Adults & Teens            6:15 – 7:15pm

Friday                        No Classes


Ages 3-5                     9:15 – 10:00am

Ages 6-12                  10:15 – 11:15am 

Adults & Teens           11:30 – 1pm

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The History of Goju Karate

In the early part of this century, a style of karate was developed on Okinawa that made it possible for many people to learn the benefits of a traditional self defense system. Eventually becoming known as Goju-Ryu (the hard/soft style), the art combined traditional Okinawan techniques with both internal and external Chinese principles. The soft, internal Chinese styles concentrate on circular movements and the development of qi (vital energy), while external, hard principles rely upon physical strength. The combination of these principles makes Goju-Ryu a close range, infighting system that concentrates on efficiency of movement as well as personal development.

Master Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Okinawan Goju-Ryu karate do, saw the martial arts as being more than just effective methods of self defense, and the system that he developed reflected this belief. Through the influence of Master Miyagi, Goju-Ryu karate became an educational subject that could be taught in schools, and the creation of new katas (forms) made the art more understandable to the public. Miyagi thus became one of the pioneers that brought karate out of its exclusively Okinawan enclave of relatively few practitioners to worldwide acceptance.

Devoting his life to the promotion of the martial arts, Miyagi reportedly made more than ten trips to China, made more than seven to the Japanese mainland, and also visited Hawaii and Korea. It has been said that he spent millions of dollars traveling to promote karate and helping friends with their debts. Since Miyagi was prone to seasickness, he seldom traveled alone and often was not fully recovered from his ailment when giving a demonstration or lecture.

Very pleasant in nature, Miyagi was called "Bushi Miyagusuku" ("Gentleman Warrior Miyagi") on Okinawa. Possessed of tremendous physical strength, he was known far and wide for his extraordinary gripping power and performance of kata that displayed his great devotion to martial arts training. However, Miyagi's gentle manner was his strongest asset. Despite stories that may contain more fable than fact, Miyagi never fought, keeping a promise to his teacher that he would not use the martial arts to hurt another human being.

The Early Years

Born Matsu Miyagi on April 25, 1888, at Higashi Machi, Hana, the son of Chosho Miyagi came to inherit the fortune of one of the wealthiest families on Okinawa ("Miyagi" is the Japanese derivative of the Okinawan name "Miyagusuku"). Involved with the importing of pharmaceuticals, the family owned two trading ships, which were used to supply the government and private merchants. Miyagi was adopted at the age of five by an uncle after the death of the main successor to the family, and his first name was changed to Chojun, as he became heir to the family fortune. Being born into great wealth allowed Miyagi in later years to devote all his time to study and traveling to promote the martial arts.

At the age of eleven, the strongly built youth began training under karate master Aragaki Ryuko. This early instruction consisted mainly of exercises designed to develop the body, using Okinawan implements such as the chishi (stone lever weight), nigiri-game (clay gripping jars), and makiwara (punching post). From this strong foundation, Miyagi later carried over the principles of strength development to his own teachings, and he always encouraged his students to engage in supplementary weight training. As a physical culture enthusiast, Miyagi developed scientific methods of exercising that reflect his early training, which stressed the importance of a sound body.

In 1901, Miyagi was introduced to Kanryo Higashionna (1853-1916), a master of Naha-Te, who had studied in China before returning to Okinawa, where he became very well known as a teacher of the martial arts. Miyagi studied under Higashionna for fifteen years and became the successor to the art form that eventually evolved into form Goju-Ryu karate.

Master Higashionna Master Higashionna became interested in Chinese boxing while working for an import/export company, a job which enabled him to travel back and forth from Okinawa to China. An 1868 trip to Fuzhou in Fujian Province in southern China resulted in his studying under martial artist Ryu Ryu Ko, a master of Shaolin Kempo of the Southern School. When he eventually returned to Okinawa, Higashionna established a style of self-defense known as Naha-Te, which was a combination of Chinese Kempo and Okinawan techniques. With his home in Nishi Machi serving as a dojo, Higashionna's fame as a teacher spread, and he became the martial arts instructor for the royal family. In 1905, Higashionna taught the physical and philosophical values of his art at a public high school in Naha.

A modest, quiet man, Master Higashionna stood only five foot one inch tall, but was very strongly built. He was called "Kensei" ("Sacred Fists") on Okinawa and was known for his extremely fast footwork and low kicking techniques. However, Higashionna believed that the integral purpose of the martial arts was to help society, not to hurt people. This philosophy was passed on to his students, especially to Miyagi, on whom the lesson was never lost.

Chojun Miyagi left Dai Ichi Junior High School in Naha in the ninth grade to study Naha-Te exclusively and became the only student of Higashionna to learn all the katas of the system. Under Higashionna's instruction, a student would usually concentrate on only one kata over the years and become highly proficient in the particular movements; however, Miyagi was able to learn all aspects of Naha-Te. The training was extremely harsh, with a concentration on the Sanchin ("Three Battles") kata, which is a breathing form that involves dynamic tension. Miyagi was one of the few who remained a student of Higashionna, despite the rigors of a demanding schedule.

After marrying at the age of nineteen, Miyagi entered the army in 1908 and served the Fifth Division of Kumamoto for three years. In 1915, he made his first trip to China, going to Fuzhou to study Chugoku Kempo, accompanied by his friend Gokenki (1886-1940), who adopted the Japanese name "Yoshikawa" and taught a southern Shaolin form of White Crane in his tea shop in Naha. It is possible that Gokenki's influence on the young Miyagi may be seen in the katas that were developed for Goju-Ryu, since they contain movements similar to those of White Crane. This Chinese system is also known as Pai-Hao Quanor, in the Japanese translation, as Hakutsuru-Ken and was developed by Fang Chi Liang, a woman who lived in Tan Yong Chun in Fujian Province.

Miyagi's relationship with his teacher was a close one, as his wealth allowed him to house Higashionna and pay for instruction. Since he remained in the constant company of Higashionna, Miyagi was able to learn all the Naha-Te kata under the master's close scrutiny. Saddened by the death of Higashionna in October of 1916, Miyagi took care of all funeral arrange meets, then went back to China in search of the dojo of Ryu Ryu Ko but was unsuccessful in the attempt. When Miyagi returned to Okinawa in 1917, he became the instructor at the Okinawa Ken Police Training Center, Naha City Commercial School, Okinawa Normal School, and the Prefectural Health Center.

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