Naha-te - Kanryo Higaonna

Kanryo Higaonna SenseiThe first records of lineage for Goju Ryu can be traced to Higaonna Kanryo (1852-1915), referred to as Kensei or "Sacred Fist". He began the transformation of Naha-te into what eventually became Goju Ryu. Higaonna Sensei was a dedicated student of Okinawan unarmed combat. During that period many sailing vessels, merchants and government officials paid regular visits to the country. These people brought with them a diverse but exotic way of fighting, and passed this knowledge on to the Okinawa people. Higaonna was also interested in learning what he could of the Chinese systems. In addition to gleaning what he could from the visitors to Okinawa, he traveled to Mainland China, and made it a point to learn all he could about the Chinese fighting systems. He was said to have trained extensively with a teacher named Ryu-Ryu Ko.

After several years of study in China, Higaonna Sensei returned to Okinawa to continue his study. He began teaching what he had learned, and developed a reputation as a skilled martial artist and teacher. He was instrumental in bringing "Te" to the public, and trained many people who later went on to form their own styles, one of the most noteworthy being Miyagi Chojun.

Gojuryu - Chojun Miyagi

Chojun Miyagi SenseiMiyagi Sensei was an exceptionally strong man, and was renowned for his karate ability. He also traveled to China and attempted to find and train with his sensei's Kung Fu teachers. He was not successful in this, however he did find manage to find some masters willing to teach him. Combined with what he had learned under the teaching for Kanryo Higaonna Sensei, this continued to change and evolve into what was to become Goju-Ryu Karatedo. It was one of Miyagi Sensei's students who recognized the need for a name for their Karate. In 1933 Miyagi Sensei's student Jinan Arazato was faced with presenting his style of Karate in a demonstration, and was asked for the name of his system. Put on the spot, he referred to it as "Half-hard style", recalling that this was often how Miyagi Sensei described karate training. On asking his Sensei, Miyagi Sensei referred to the Bubishi (an ancient text of martial art) and drew the name of GOJU (meaning hard and soft) from it. Miyagi Sensei had many students who went on to become influential pioneers in the world of Karate. They include Meitoku Yagi, Eiichi Miyazato, Seiko Higa and Gogen Yamaguchi, as well as many others.

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