History of Karate      Canadian Goju Ryu History

Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate traces its roots to China and Chinese Kung Fu (mainly Chinese White Crane and Black Tiger styles).

Kanyo Higaonna (born 1823) was an Okinawan trader. In 1867 he was involved in a confrontation and killed. This was taken especially hard by his son Kanryo. Kanryo Higaonna was born on March 10, 1853 in Nishimura, Okinawa. Only 14 years old at the time of his fathers death, Kanryo vowed he would avenge his father. And so in 1868, fifteen yr. old Kanryo set off from wartorn Okinawa to mainland China to study the martial way and be free from the violence of war. He also wanted to master the fighting techniques which he had heard so much about, and that he thought would help him defeat his father's assailant. He ended up in Foozhou, China in the Ryukyu Kan, a small group of Okinawan people living together in a community. Here he trained under Ryu Ryuko Roshi. Kanryo trained diligently. He helped his master with business and chores when he was not training. In seeking to learn martial arts in order to kill, Kanryo Higaonna ended up learning the values associated with studying the Martial Way.

Upon mastering Kung Fu and returning to Okinawa, he was able to forgive his father's killer and begin to teach the techniques he learned to his students and developed Naha-te Karate.

He took on an ambitious student by the name of Chojun Miyagi. Chojun Miyagi was a strong student and disciplined learner. His training under Higaonna Sensei was strict to the point of exhaustion. Miyagi entered the military and served honorably until returning to Okinawa. He then further developed all he learned from Higaonna Sensei into his "own" fighting style. He had no name for what he taught. He simply referred to it as Bu or Te (martial arts). On one occasion at a martial arts demonstration, a student of Chojun Miyagi, after demonstrating, was asked the name of his style. At this time karate was still obscure. It was not known well as were the already popular Judo, Kendo, and other such Japanese styles. The student wasn't sure how to respond. He relayed this event to Miyagi Sensei, who realized a need for a name if Okinawan Karate was ever to be recognized and respected. So Miyagi Chojun Sensei picked a name out of one of eight Kenpo Hakku (poems). It read: HO GOJU DONTO (the way of inhaling is hardness and the way of exhaling is softness). This pretty accurately described the style he taught, as breathing in Goju style is vitally important, and it is both an internal and external style... so it was named GOJU RYU (hard soft style).

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