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Okinawa is an island south of Japan, situated in near equal distance between China and Japan. A secret indigenous weaponless martial art developed (called Te, "Hands") that experienced strong Chinese influences. Chinese sailors, traders and businessmen brought their martial art to Okinawa during their import/export business travels. In addition, many original Okinawan masters travelled to China to learn Chinese boxing (Ch'uanFa, "The fist way") directly from Chinese masters.

Having acquired new skills, in particular what is nowadays referred to as White Crane Kung Fu, these masters would return to Okinawa and begin to teach an art that had both original Okinawan and also Chinese heritage. This new way of fighting was called To-De, "Chinese Hands", to indicate the Chinese origin of many of the techniques.

In Okinawa, there were three villages that, although only few miles apart, each developed their own style of To-De. In the port town of Naha, Naha-Te developed. In the more aristocratic Shuri, the ancient capital of Okinawa, Shuri-Te developed, and further north in Tomari, Tomari-Te developed.

This seemingly unlikely isolation has its foundation partly in the geographical location of these villages, with a river separating Naha in the south from Shuri and Tomari in the North, but also by its very different social classes, with business and commercial trade enterprises in Naha, the King and aristocracy in Shuri, and farmers and country people in Tomari.

Okinawa has a long history of both Chinese and Japanese suppression that outlawed the possession of conventional weapons (such as swords).

Thus, Okinawan martial arts developed a unique range of substitute weapons that in many cases were derived from farming tools. The use of these weapons is still practiced today in many Karate styles of Okinawan origin.


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 MorioHigaonna 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-defense in any situation.


MorioHigaonna is the world leader and Chief Instructor of the Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Do Federation (T.O.G.K.F.) which has branched out into dojos all around the world. Sensei Higaonna travels regularly to instruct and grade students at these dojos and also holds regular gashuku (training camps), where students come to train with him. Sensei has his own dojos in Okinawa, Tokyo and San Marcos, America.

Sensei Higaonna is the leading exponent of Traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate in the world today. He has trained under Sensei Anichi Miyagi, a direct student of the founder of Okinawan Goju-Ryu Sensei Chojun Miyagi, and thus continues the legacy of a pure style that is relevant today as a highly effective fighting system.


It is told by TueroChinen sensei that sensei Hugh Thompson was allowed by  Higaonnasensei (after he has visited South Africa in 1969-71) to run his own organization (Karate-Do) in SA "without requiring direct affiliation with GojuRyu or Jundokan".

In 1972 after Chinensensei visited sensei James Rossouw in SA he got the support from Higaonna sensei to appoint sensei James Rossouw as the SA Jundokan representative. This has led to conflict between sensei Higaonna and sensei Hugh Thompson and sensei Thompson  losing sensei  Higaonna's blessing.

In 1982-3 some senior students of sensei Hugh Thompson broke away from Karate-Do and establish their own organizations. Amongst them were sensei Johan Roux (5th Dan) to establish Karate-Zen, sensei Jack Matthews (3rd Dan) to establish Bushido, sensei Thomas Wright (2nd Dan) to establish Goju-Kan.

On 11 December 2010 some senior studentsof Karate-Zen, under the leadership of sensei Johnny Toerien (6th Dan), decided to break away from the organization to establish a new organization, KARATE KYOUSEI.

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