What is a Traditional Martial Art?

By Sensei Terry Lyon, 6th Dan, Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate

Traditional Martial Arts do not concentrate on the sport aspect of training. They do not teach with winning tournaments as their main concern, which often means concentrating mainly on techniques that will score points. Some instructors of sports and tournament oriented
styles omit in their teaching anything that does not score points, and are known to change Katas to look better for tournaments.

Traditional Martial Arts have a lineage going back to the Grand Masters or founders of the style. Instructors in traditional martial arts
teach their art as it was taught from the beginning, including all of the various methods of blocking, kicking and striking. This variety
and the broad and comprehensive approach to fighting makes traditional martial arts a more practical method of self defence, as opposed to
a condensed “The Best Of ..” type of style that focuses on point scoring and flashy moves.

In our classes you will never hear the words “Point Scoring Technique”, or “this looks better…do it that way”. Instead we focus on
preserving the original art as a complete system of self defence.

Traditional Martial Art

Sensei Terry Lyon (left) with the World Chief Instructor of Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do, Sensei Morio Higaonna

There is nothing wrong with Sports Karate or styles that emphasise tournaments or point scoring. Many of the wide range of benefits of
Karate training can be achieved by studying a great diversity of different styles, even those that engage in the sports and competition

However, this is not what our classes or Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate is about. The martial art as a fighting art, these days mostly used for personal self defence, is studied and practiced without the sports or competition aspect. You are learning it to better yourself and your own skills, not to be recognised for your superior skills compared to somebody else.