Goju Ryu History
Goju Ryu Karate do is one of the four major karate styles in Japan. It is a strong system, as it has direct lineage back to original and powerful Chinese Kung Fu Martial Arts styles.
Chinese Whooping Crane Kung Fu was probably the seed of the Goju style. The main teacher of this style is considered to be Ryu Ryu Ko. Ryu Ryu Ko lived between 1852 and 1930.
Kanryo Higaonna was one of several martial arts aficionados who traveled to Fuchou in the province of Fukien, China. The area was a hotbed of martial arts, including a form of Shaolin Gung Fu which developed into Goju’s sister art, Uechi Ryu. Higaonna brought back the key Goju Kata, such as Sanchin and Seisan.
Around 1902 a young fellow name of Chojun Miyagi applied to Master Higaonna for training. Master Miyagi underwent intensive training for over twelve years, and, upon the death of his teacher, he went to China to study such arts as Pa Kua Chang and Shaolin.
Returning to Okinawa, Master Miyagi founded the system now known as Goju Ryu Karate Do. The name means ‘hard soft’ style. It primarily consists of the forms taught by Master Higaonna and the softer and more subtle influence of Shaolin and Pa Kua.
While Master Miyagi established Goju, it would fall to one of his students, Gogen Yamaguchi, to present it to the world. Master Yamagushi, also known as ‘The Cat,’ took Karate to Japan, where he established the International Karate Do Goju Kai. Master Yamagushi was renowned for his traiing techniques, one of which was training in snow and doing Karate meditation under freezing water falls.
The American guiding light, when it comes Goju, is Karatedo Peter Urban. Master Urban trained in Karate under such luminaries as Richard Kim, Masutatsu Oyama, and…Gogen Yamaguchi.
In 1959 Master Urban brought Goju Ryu to the United States where, in New Jersey, he opened his first Karate Dojo, and one of the first karate schools in the United States.
In 1966 Urban returned to Japan to ask for permission to start a United States branch of Master Yamaguchi’s art. Master Yamaguchi refused permission, stating that a white man, according to the code of Bushido, could not achieve nirvana.
Urban snapped back that Bushido claimed that Japan could never lose a war.
Realizing that he had committed serious error and offended the master, Urban prepared to cut off his pinkie. fortunately, Yamaguchi’s eldest son intervened, and Peter returned to America with all his digits intact.