Master Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) was the founder of Goju Ryu Karate. He was a personal student of Karate Master Kanryo Higaonna (1853-1916), and developed Goju Ryu through his intensive first hand studies of the ancient Okinawan and Chinese fighting arts. Goju Ryu Karate emphasises physical power and body conditioning methods. It is one of the oldest styles of traditional Karate – a very complete and balanced system. Goju means “hard and soft”. “Go” represents physical hardness and strength of character. “Ju” is the gentleness that flows from the strength. “Ryu” means family (style).
Who Can Learn
Karate can be practiced by children, men and women of all ages. No previous training or proficiency in any sport is required. Whatever your physical condition, the training is carefully scaled to introduce you to this fascinating and dynamic art. Progress depends entirely on the individual and not on a group level, therefore you can join at any time and train according to your own wishes or the time available to you.
What to Wear
Wear appropriate clothing — a tee shirt and tracksuit trousers is fine for the first couple of weeks.
When the time comes you can get a Karate Uniform or Gi from a martial arts supplies store, such as the Fight Times Store down by the Courthouse. Prices range from as little as $30 to hundreds of dollars for a gi from Okinawa. Most people don’t need the expensive uniform. Most uniforms come with a white belt. As you grade you simply buy a new one. Some people like to keep all their belts as souvenirs as they grade through.
No footwear is permitted anywhere in the dojo building, other than the foyer area, where there are shoe racks to keep things tidy. We train barefoot so it is essential that feet are clean, and toenails and fingernails short. Wear shoes or jandals when arriving and leaving. Apart from the health issues of bare feet, we don’t want people tracking in dirt from the street onto the dojo floor. Keep it outside. Otherwise you may be asked to go clean your feet before training!
For your own comfort and safety you should keep long hair tied back. To avoid loss, or injuries to yourself and others jewelery (ear studs, watches, necklaces, etc) should not be worn. If you have a ring that cannot be removed, tape it!
Once you have trained for a while, and certainly for your first grading, you will be expected to wear the dojo patch that you will see on all the seniors’ uniforms. The first patch is included in the cost of your first dojo fees.
There are three categories of Karate Training.
- Kihon – Basic Movements, Techniques and Stances
- Kata – Prearranged forms simulating combat situations
- Bunkai – Application of the techniques and principals in the kata
The student is given instruction at the most basic level until the techniques become spontaneous. The student advances technically, progresses physically and develops greater stamina. As the skill level increases more advanded Kata and applications are introduced. As the student approaches Black Belt level, technique, stamina, speed and co-ordination become natural as a result of intensive practice.
Karate for Self Defense
Karate is a dynamic Martial Art. The trained Karate-ka is able to co-ordinate their mind and body utilising timing and precision, and it is this ability rather than just speed and physical strength that enables even a small person to be effective in self-defence.
The Value of Karate
Karate practice tones the body, develops co-ordination, quickens reflexes and builds stamina. The practice of Karate develops composure, a clearer thought process, deeper insight into your mental capabilities and increased self-confidence.
Grades or Belts
Karate has a grading system which helps reward students for their progress and to provide an ongoing incentive. For adults there are 9 kyu grades and three colours of belt prior to the Black Belt or Shodan.
For Juniors, there are more colours and more stripes. This lets us provide a wider range of grades and incentives for kids, and more rewards. The Juniors system uses white, yellow, orange, purple and blue belts, with from 0 to 4 stripes. Once a student has progressed beyond the blue belt they are almost always old enough to move into the adult grading system as green belts. We do not have junior black belts.
While there is no set time to progress from beginner to black belt, it usually takes at least 5 years of regular training.
Tying your belt
This site: http://www.all-karate.com has a photo guide to tying your belt.
What if I trained somewhere else?
We are relaxed about the belt that people wear. Some people like to wear the grade they got at some other karate dojo, some like to start at white belt again. Our view is that to a large extent it is up to you what you wear.
The important consideration isn’t what you wear, it is what grade we feel you should be wearing. If you wear grade from another group or association, then you will not be allowed to wear our emblem on your gi. Your belt represents where you came from. When you grade with us, and choose to wear a belt colour that we have awarded, then you will be allowed and expected to also wear our emblem on your gi.
If you’re just visiting, wear your organizational grade. When you choose to train and grade with us, wear the grade that we have awarded to you.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies
We usually follow a set formal process for starting and finishing classes, at the discretion of the instructor. They tend to be brief demarkations of the formal class time whereby students line up, acknowledge, and thank our instructor and our training partners.