Founder of Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do
(1888 - 1953)
history is provided courtesy of Sensei Meagher
of Northwest Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate
Miyagi was born on April 25,1888. He began his Karate training in Shuri-te
and at the age of 14 was introduced to Kanryo
Higaonna with whom he began his study of Naha-te. Like his teacher
before him, because of his great natural talent and fierce determination,
he progressed very rapidly. The training was severe beyond belief at times
but he practiced ever harder with an enthusiasm unmatched by any of the
other students. Chojun Miyagi became "uchi deshi" (private discipline)
of Kanryo Higaonna. He studied with
his teacher for 14 years before his teacher's death in 1915.
Chojun Miyagi, as
successor to his teacher's "te", pushed himself to the limits
of endurance in his desire to emulate his teacher's extraordinary skill.
In 1915 he journeyed to Fuzhou, China, the city where his teacher had
studied martial arts to further his research. This was one of three trips
he made to China during his lifetime.
On his return to Okinawa
he began to teach the martial arts out of his home in Naha. Later, he
also taught at the Okinawan Prefecture Police Training Center, at the
Okinawan Master's Training College, and at the Naha Commercial High School
(where his teacher had once taught).
Chojun Miyagi worked
hard to spread Karate throughout Okinawa and mainland Japan, and to earn
his toudi a status equal to that of the highly respected Japanese martial
arts of Judo and Kendo. To achieve this he traveled frequently to mainland
Japan where he was invited to teach at Kyoto University, Kansai University
and Ritsumei Kan University. In 1933, Goju-Ryu Karate was the first Okinawan
martial art to be registered with the Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai, the center
for all martial arts in Japan. This was a milestone for Karate as it meant
it would aligned with the highly respected martial arts of Japan.
Chojun Miyagi dedicated
his whole life to Karate. He was responsible for structuring his toudi
(which he later named Goju-Ryu) into a systemized discipline which could
be taught to society in general. This teaching system that he formulated
enabled Karate to be taught in schools for the benefit of the young, and
to reach vast numbers of people throughout the world. However, his private
teaching at his home remained strictly in adherence to the principles
and traditions of his teacher, Kanryo
Higaonna, and his teacher before him, RuRuKo.
The naming of Goju-Ryu
came about more by accident than by design. In 1930, Chojun Miyagi's top
student, Jin'an Shinzato, while in Tokyo demostrating the Karate of his
teacher, was asked as to what school of martial arts he practiced. As
Naha-te had no formal name he could not answer this question. On his return
to Okinawa he reported this incident to Chojun Miyagi. After much consideration,
Chojun Miyagi chose the name Goju-Ryu (hard and soft school) as a name
for his style. This name he took from a line in the "Bubishi"
(a classical text on martial arts and other subjects) is shown below.
This line reads, "Ho Goju Donto". It is necessary to point out
that these precepts have a much greater importance than simply as the
source for the naming on Goju-ryu. They present great insight into the
indispensable knowledge and application of the sciences practiced by the
martial arts masters of this time. Without proper and complete research
and study of these paradiagms, the true essence of Goju-ryu can never
be truly understood.
The mind is one with heaven and Earth
#2. The circulatory system of the body is similar to that of the sun and
#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 the slightest change.
#8. The ears listen well in all directions
Last Teachings by Chojun Miyagi
"Do not be struck by others.
Do not strike others.
The principle is the peace without incident."
to the History of Gojuryu Karate
of Kanryo Higaonna
Profile of Ei'ichi Miyazato