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Bermuda News Weather Property Rentals Jobs Reviews Social
December 13, 2018


In the year 1868, Higaonna Kanryo Sensei landed in Fuzhou, Southern China to study the Chinese martial arts. On his arrival he lodged at a hostel frequented by Okinawans. The manager of this hostel, after learning of Higaonna Kanryo's desire to study martial arts, introduced him to Master Ryu Ryu Ko, a renowned master of Southern Chinese Martial Arts in Fuzhou.

Higaonna Kanryo Sensei studied these martial arts thoroughly and became "uchi deshi" (private disciple). After 13 yrs. of diligent study with his teacher he returned to Okinawa, and Naha where his martial arts became known as Naha-te.Higaonna Kanryo taught these martial arts to the people of Okinawa and at the same time continued his own research and practice. In order to teach the youth on Okinawa he developed a teaching method which was specifically designed to develop the mind & body; to improve both the physical & spiritual well-being.

The first occasion on which the previously secretive art of Naha-te was 'opened' to society in general, occurred in October 1905, when Higaonna Kanryo Sensei began teaching at the Naha Commercial High School.

Higaonna Kanryo Sensei's whole life was devoted to Karate. He passed away in December 1915 at the age of 63.

After the death of Higaonna Kanryo Sensei, Miyagi Chojun Sensei, as his top student succeeded his teacher to carry on the art then known as Naha-te.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei was born on April 25th, 1888. He began training in karate under Higaonna Kanryo at the age of 14, in 1902. 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. Miyagi Chojun became 'uchi deshi' (private disciple) of Higaonna Kanryo Sensei. He studied with his teacher for 14 years before his teacher's death in 1915.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei, as successor to Naha-te pushed himself to the limits of endurance in his desire to emulate the extraordinary skill of his teacher. To this end, that same year (1915) he journeyed to Fuzhou, China, the city where his teacher had studied the martial arts, to further his research. This was one of three trips he made to China during his lifetime.

On returning to Okinawa he began to teach the martial arts at his home in Naha. Later, he also began to teach 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).

Miyagi Chojun Sensei worked hard to spread karate throughout Okinawa and mainland Japan, and to earn Naha-te 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 karate at Kyoto University,Kansai University and Ritsumei Kan University. In 1933 Karate was registered at the Butokukai, the center for all martial arts in mainland Japan. This was a milestone for karate as it meant that it was recognized on a level with the martial arts of Japan.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei dedicated his whole life to karate. He was responsible for structuring Naha-te (which he later named 'Goju-Ryu') into a systemized discipline which could be taught to society in general. This teaching system which 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, Higaonna Kanryo Sensei, and his teacher before him, Ryu Ryu Ko Sensei.

The naming of Goju-Ryu came about more by accident than by design. In 1930, Miyagi Chojun Sensei's top student, Shinzato Jin'an, while in Tokyo was asked by numerous martial arts masters as to what school of martial arts he practiced. As Naha-te had no formal name he could not answer this question. On returning to Okinawa he reported this incident to Miyagi Chojun Sensei. After much consideration Miyagi Chojun Sensei decided on 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 Chinese text on the martial arts and other subjects). This line, which appears in a poem describing the eight precepts of the martial arts, reads, "Ho Goju Donto" (the way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness).

Shinzato Jin'an, an exceptional talent and whom Miyagi Chojun Sensei had chosen as his successor, was tragically killed during the Second World War. Later, after the war , he chose Miyagi An'ichi to succeed him, to pass on Goju-Ryu to the next generation.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei passed away October 8th, 1953 leaving a great legacy behind. He predicted that during the twentieth century karate would spread throughout the world. Today we can see that this prediction has been realized; karate is not only practiced in Japan and its islands but it can be found throughout the countries of the world. Karate can no longer be referred to as a solely Okinawan or Japanese art, but it has become an art with no boundaries, an art for all nations and all peoples of the world.

Today this tradition is being pass on by Master Morio Higaonna 9th Dan, the chief instructor of the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation,and the only student of Master An'ichi Miyagi.