What is Goju-Ryu Karate?

The literal translation of the Japanese term Goju is “hard/soft” – go meaning hard and ju meaning soft.   Ryu means school, thus Goju-Ryu is the hard/soft school of Karate.  Goju-Ryu Karate was founded by Chojun Miyagi.   Sensei Miyagi had spent years in China training with the Chinese masters of White Crane style Kung Fu before returning to Okinawa to formulate what is now known as Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Do.’;

Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate has a very pure lineage.  It is a traditional martial art that was handed down from the founder Sensei Chojun Miyagi to his student Sensei Anichi Miyagi and then to Sensei Morio Higaonna in an unbroken line, which means the art has not been diluted or embellished through the generations like many other martial arts have.  Instead, Traditional Okinawan Karate persists as a highly effective fighting system today. It is not a sport style of Karate but offers its students a practical method of self defence in any situation.

Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate

Sensei Terry Lyon performing Ko-Uke

The picture shows Sensei Terry Lyon, 5th Dan Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate, instructing a class in his Dojo in Cottesloe, Perth, Western Australia. The Karate technique shown is rising Ko-Uke, crane block, made famous by the movie “The Karate Kid”.

The basic idea of the hard and soft style is use a soft blocking technique to block a hard strike or to deflect the strike rather than to meet force with force. Likewise, when attacking, Goju-Ryu employs a hard technique against a soft target and vice versa. For example, in Okinawan Goju-Ryu a palm heel strike (using the relatively soft palm heel of the hand) is often used to strike something hard like the head. Another example for the hard/soft aspect is a kick (hard) into the groin (soft).