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Goju Ryu Crest

Goju ryu Crest


The traditional crest is modeled after the right fist of Master Chojun Miyagi who was the founder of Goju Ryu Karate-Do.


The fist, you will notice, is half-closed and half-open representing Goju Ryu which is neither totally hard nor totally soft.


Our fist has three colours:

WHITE – White stands for the beginner in Karate-Do

BLACK – Black stands for the ideals that go with being a black belt in Goju Ryu.

RED – Red stands for the highest level of proficiency, that of the “Master”



Traditionally, higher black belts have part of their fist strategically filled in with Red to indicate different ranks. A 1st Dan has only the end parts of the banner at the bottom of the fist filled in. A 2nd Dan has the entire banner at the bottom of the fist filled in (as high up as the characters). A 3rd Dan has the banner and the wrist part of the fist filled in and the 4th Dan has the entire fist filled in Red.

Goju Ryu Karate-Do History

Goju Ryu Karate-Do History


Karate-Do owes its composition to diverse ancient fighting techniques such as Egyptian barehanded fighting, Roman gladiator combat, Japanese sumo wrestling, Indian and Persian foot fighting, and the weaponless fighting found in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The Chinese people were exposed to these different methods of fighting during this extensive military and economic contact with the above countries. The fighting styles were observed and influenced the configuration of Ch’uan fa; which is the Chinese tradition of pugilism and the forerunner of Karate-Do. The most prevalent school of thought traces the origins of Ch’uan fa back to the 6 th century mytho-historical figure of Bodhidharma and considers him to be the patriarch of Zen and the Chinese Martial Arts. According to the legend, Bodhidharma was born in India during the early 6th century to a warrior class known as Kshatriaya. He travelled from India to the Songshan Mountains in the Honan province in China and founded the Shao Lin Temple. The monks at the temple were weak and in poor condition and thus were vulnerable to attacks from bandits and muggers. Bodhidharma created Ch’uan fa to help them improve physically. Bodhidharma taught 18 postures, 2 Sutra and a sitting meditation called Zazen. The Kata included exercises and breathing techniques to foster physical health and strength which were modeled on the movements of animals; namely the tiger, monkey, leopard, crane, and snake. The sutra was developed to foster mental and spiritual growth. These kata, sutra and zazen formed the fundamentals of Ch’uan fa, the precursor of Karate-Do.


The roots of Goju Ryu Karate can be traced directly back to Okinawa, which was known as Ryukyu until 1870. In 1871 this small island officially became a prefecture of Japan. In 1340, the Ryukyu Dynasty established tributary with the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty and until 1866 delegates were sent back and forth from each country. Many masters of Chinese Kempo were among the delegates from China who taught their art to the Okinawan nobility. The Okinawans sent ships filled with extremely valuable presents to the Chinese Emperor as Tribute. To protect this precious cargo all the Okinawans on board (crew members and delegates) were well trained in Martial Arts. After paying Tribute to the Emperor some of the Okinawan delegates furthered their training in China before returning home. In 1470 all weapons in Okinawa were banned and confiscated. This political movement led directly to the development of two different fighting systems: “Te” which is a form of empty hand combat that was used by the nobility and “Kobudo” which is a form of armed combat using simple tools as weapons that was developed by farmers and fisherman. In both systems training was conducted in the strictest secrecy. Three different styles of Te (Naha-Te, Tomari-Te, Shuri-Te) were developed, each named after the villages where they were practiced. Naha-Te is the direct ancestor of Goju Ryu Karate-Do. Shuri-Te developed into Shorinji-Ryu which in turn developed into many styles two of which are Wado-Ryu and Shotokan Karate. A combination of Goju Ryu and Shorinji Ryu led to the formation of another style called Chito-Ryu.

Important Faces

Important Faces of Goju Ryu Karate-do

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Chojun Miyagi​

Chojun Miyagi is the founder of Goju-Ryu Karate-Do. Born Miyagusuku in Higashimashi in Naha, Okinawa on April 25, 1888 he was raised by a noble family. His birth name was changed to Miyagi by the Japanese.


Chojun Miyagi was introduced to martial arts by Ryuko Aragaki. Aragaki then introduced him to his friend the foremost Naha-Te master, Kanryo Higaonna At the age of 14 Miyagi began training under Higaonna and was his disciple for 15 years.


In 1904, after Higaonna died, Miyagi went to China to study many different styles of martial arts and Zen. In China the different styles of Kung Fu reflect the environment in which they evolved. For example, the Kung Fu in the northern area emphasizes kicks, utilizing the lower body strength traditionally developed by people living in the mountain terrain. In like fashion, the Kung Fu of Southern China emphasizes the upper body, since cultural emphasis on rowing effectively develops it.


In Foochow in Fukien Province, Miyagi studied Shao Lin Chuan and also Ba Gwa Chang (eight tigram palm - soft fist style). In 1908 he returned to Okinawa. Using his knowledge of Chinese Kempo he adapted Naha-Te to more fully reflect the hard soft aspects of Karate-Do – the give and take required to be successful. He invented three important katas: Tensho, Geksai Itch, and Geksai Ni.


The word Goju means hard and soft. Go is the Japanese word for hardness and Ju is the word for softness. The system is based on the oriental concept that all hardness or softness is not good. The two should complement each other. The combinations give Goju-Ryu its beautiful, disciplined movements, filled with grace, and flowing strength. Actions are sometimes extremely fast and other times slow and majestic.


Goju Ryu relies on an aggressive style of attack with emphasis on delivering blows hard but with easy effort and in rapid succession, maneuvering not only forwards and backwards but also from side to side.

Gogen Yamaguchi

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Yamaguchi sensei was born January 20, 1909 in Kagoshima, Japan. He heard of Goju Ryu Karate-Do and of the great Okinawa, Myagi Chojun, while attending Restsumeikan University in 1929. Curious about the system, Yamaguchi Sensei (The Cat) wrote to Miyagi Sensei and invited him to come to Japan. The meeting of the two proved to be fateful, not only for Goju Ryu but for all Karate. Yamaguchi Sensei immediately fell in love with the strange and intricate patterns displayed by Miyagi. The hard and soft approach was for him. When Miyagi Chojun Sensei had left Japan to return to Okinawa he left behind a well-trained and educated follower in Goju Ryu.


In 1930, various Masters succeeded in getting Karate-Do admitted into the butoku-Kai (the official government headquarters for the Japanese Martial Arts). The same year Goju Ryu headquarters were established in Tokyo next to the famous Giho Kai Judo Institute. In 1950 the headquarters of all Japanese Karate was relocated to Tokyo. This led to an increase in the popularity and exposure to Goju Ryu.


In 1936 Yamaguchi Sensei organized a dojo that radically altered the development of Karate Do. He believed that the strict Okinawa brand of Karate Do was too static and limited, and thus, developed a form Jiu Kumite that did not exist in the traditional system. He blended the Okinawan GoJu Ryu with yoga, and Shito elements and the Bushi (Samurai) tradition creating a typically Japanese style.


The Second World War introduced Goju Ryu Karate-Do to servicemen who helped spread it to different countries. In 1953, Miyagi Sensei passed away, leaving Meitoku Yagi to succeed him in Okinawa and with Yamaguchi Sensei continuing his efforts in expanding the art in Japan.

Sensei Peter Urban

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Sensei Peter Urban is a teacher, writer and self-employed business man, and a consulting psychologist. His specialty is the field of martial art combatants and their cognates. He is considered the world’s foremost authority on Karate Psychology or Psychotherapy (philosophical Psychoanalysis of the Martial arts). He is the head of the American Goju Do.


Sensei Urban began training in 1953 when he was 18 years old. He had gone to Japan as a sailor in the US Navy and stayed for 8 years to study Karate-Do. Sensei Urban started studying in Yokohama with O’Sensei Richard Kim and then a year later trained with Sensei Yamaguchi and Sensei Mas Oyama in Tokyo. He returned to the States and taught Karate-Do, introducing Goju Ryu to North America.


In 1965 he founded his famous China Town dojo and established American Goju-Do. Sensei Urban believed that America should have its own endemic Karate style in much the same way that the Okinawans and the Japanese have theirs. He developed a uniquely American style which includes the additions of the Kata Empei Han and Urban Han. His students include Skipper Ingram, Chuck Merriman, Phil Maldonato, Johnny Cool, Al Gotay, Bob Dalgeish and Wallace Platt.


When Sensei Urban turned sixty he was quoted as saying: “Karate has been very, very good to me and on this day I celebrate that fact forever. The purpose of Karate training is to walk with confidence in your old age. I walk with confidence. I started Karate as a very young child. That is why I walk with confidence today.”

Tenets of Goju Ryu

Tenets of goju ryu karate-do

We who are studying Karate-Do Aspire to these virtues

1. We are proud to study the spirit of Goju

2. We shall practice courtesy

3. We shall be quick to seize the opportunity

4. We shall always practice patience

5. We shall always keep the fighting spirit of Karate-do

Creed of Karate Do

Creed of Karate-do

1. A Karate-Ka must keep in mind that his hands are considered deadly weapons by law.

2. A Karate-Ka must, as an obligation to society and the Art, do the utmost in his power to avoid fighting with any human being.

3. A Karate-Ka has the right to protect him/herself, but your fellow man is also guaranteed this right under law. Therefore do nothing to offend him by speech or action. If you follow this course, there is no just reason for any man to attack you.

4. If you are offended by speech or action, remember, discretion is the better part of valor. Smile and ignore his actions. If he pursues a course of offending, you walk away.

5. If you are attacked and find no avenue of escape, protect yourself. This is your right. If, in protecting yourself, you knock your opponent senseless or knock him down, or in any way render him helpless of doing you any harm, do not press your attack and kill him

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