A brief history of Go Ju-Ryu

Go Ju means ‘hard-soft’ and was the name given to the style by its founder Chojun Miyagi. The style is characterised by its contrasting ‘soft’ flowing circular movements and its ‘hard’ linear techniques. The ‘Go’ represents the positive and the ‘Ju’ represents the negative. It is based on the oriental concept that these opposing forces must complement each other. The hard aspect can be seen in the Goju kata ‘Sanchin’ and the soft in the kata ‘Tensho’. Karate as we know it, was developed over several centuries on the islands of Okinawa. It originated from the martial arts of China, to which the Okinawans were exposed through trade with the Chinese from as early as the 14th Century. Of all of the Japanese styles of Karate, Go Ju-Ryu has received the most Chinese influence. This can be explained by the fact that Miyagi’s teacher Kanryo Higaonna spent 14 years in China learning ‘Whooping White Crane’ martial arts from the master Ryu Ru Ko (Xie Zhongxiang). When Higaonna returned from China he combined what he had learnt with the traditional martial art of Okinawa, known as ‘Te’. This is how Go Ju-Ryu was born. Much credit has been given to Chojun Miyagi for his work in founding Go Ju-Ryu. However it was his teacher Kanryo Higaonna that actually laid the foundations of the style.