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Dojo Etiquette: Rules of Conduct

Goju Ryu
Dojo Etiquette
Goju Ryu
8Questions About Karate

Karate Okinawa


Miyagi Chojun


Higaonna's best and most famous student was Miyagi Chojun (1888-1953) who began training under Higaonna at the age of 12. After Higaonna's death Miyagi sailed from Okinawa to China and studied there for several years, returning to Naha, the capital of Okinawa in 1918. Many famous students came to train and study with him.

One day Miyagi Sensei was walking near the temple. His approach scared a white crane which had been sitting on the roof of the temple. Startled, the crane flew away, but as it did, one of its wings hit a tile on the temple roof and broke it.

Miyagi Sensei was surprised that something as soft as a crane’s wing could break something as hard as a roof tile. "Tensho! Softness!" he said. "Yes! It is the softness and hardness together!"

In 1930, Miyagi Sensei’s top student went to Japan to a meeting of many martial arts masters.

"Hmm. Very good. Very impressive! Tell us the name of your style," the martial artist masters said. He bowed to them and said, "Senseitachi, I am sorry but I do not know the name of Naha-te which Miyagi Sensei teaches."

Each time a master asked him this question, he answered the same.

On his return to Okinawa he told Chojun Miyagi the problem. After thinking a long time, Chojun Miyagi decided "I will call my style Goju. The way of breathing out is hardness (go), and the way of breathing in is softness (ju)."

'Go' means hardness or external force, 'ju' means softness or internal force.

And so his martial arts school became known as Goju-Ryu.

Goju-ryu combines hard striking attacks like kicks and punches with softer circular techniques for blocking and controlling the opponent. Goju-ryu's specialty over the other karate styles is in-fighting or close-quarter combat. Breathing correctly is very important.