What is Goju-ryu Karate?

The History of Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流) Karate

Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流), Japanese for "hard-soft style", and is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. These techniques come from the famous martial arts book (Bubishi) used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries. 

It implements soft circular blocking techniques, similar in nature to jujitsu techniques, in combination with powerful counter-strike combinations such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including joint locks, grappling, takedowns, and throws.


This style of karate was founded in 1930 by Chojun Miyagi, said to be Kanryo Higaonna’s best student. Higaonna was a well-known karate master.  Miyagi chose the name Goju-ryu for this style of karate because it applies not just to karate, but to life in general; only hardness or only softness will not enable one to deal effectively with the fluctuations of life. 


Miyagi believed that the ultimate goal of karate was to build character and find spiritual freedom. He thought that it was important to balance karate training for self-defense with training for the mind; which meant cultivating the idea that there is no first strike in karate.


Because of the Japanese suppression that occurred in the 1600’s, Okinawan martial artists tended to use weapons that were actually farm tools such as:  The Bokken (a wooden sword) and The Bo (a wooden staff). 


This adaptation of farm tools used as weapons let the martial artists train in a way that did not bring attention to the fact that they were practicing self-defensive martial arts.

Characteristics of Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流) Karate

Goju-ryu karate is generally a stand up style, characterized by both hard (closed fist) and soft (open hand or circular) techniques. Many Goju-ryu practitioners feel as if they are martial art technicians because they utilize angles to deflect strikes rather than trying to meet strength with strength. 

In addition, Goju-ryu tends to emphasize meeting an opponent’s offensive moves with the opposite defense. For example, striking the head (a hard part of the body) with the open hand (a soft part of the body) or striking the groin (soft) with a groin kick (hard).

Beyond this, Goju-ryu karate is known for teaching breathing techniques to a great extent. It also utilizes some takedowns, throws, and weapons.

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Basic Goals of Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流) Karate

The basic goal of Goju-ryu karate is self-defense.  It is primarily a stand up form that teaches students how to block strikes by using angles, and then subdue their opponent with takedowns and then finish them with hand and leg strikes.

Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流) Karate Interesting Facts

  • The breathing techniques taught in Goju-ryu Karate are helpful in all fighting disciplines and sports.
  • Goju-ryu Karate was the style of karate that Ralph Macchio practiced under his teacher Mr. Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid.
  • The Crane Block was presented in the movie The Karate Kid as an unstoppable move. It is not an unstoppable move. There is no such thing.

The Kata

The Kata is a training exercise for students of karate and is used to improve a student's physical 

conditioning, balance, muscle memory, focus and concentration.

Major emphasis is given to breathing correctly and its basic approach to fighting (distance, power generation, etc.).

The movements can be fast and light or slow and heavy.  They integrate proper balance and power in every coordinated movement.  There is flow to the kata, and all the components work together to further a student’s karate training.

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Karate Gi (空手着 or 空手衣)

Gi (pronounced “gee”) is the Japanese name of the traditional uniform used for karate practice and competition.  It is consists of loose-fitting pants, a wraparound jacket and a cloth belt to maximize 

mobility for striking, kicking and standing throws.


(Registration Fee of $85 Includes School Gi)

Kaizen (改善) The term kaizen in Japanese simply means "change for better."