Goju Ryu Karate-do - "Hard and soft style empty hand way"
The words Goju Ryu Karate-do mean "hard and soft style empty hand way". The system is based on the concept that all hardness and stiffness is not good, and at the same time all softness and too much gentleness is not good. Goju Ryu reflects the concept of Yin and Yang--that these two opposites should complement each other. It is this complement of hard and soft which gives Goju Ryu its beautiful, disciplined movements, filled with grace, flowing forms, and strength. Actions are sometimes extremely fast and other times slow and majestic.
The founder of Goju Ryu Karate-do is Chojun Miyagi. He was born in Naha, Okinawa on April 25th, 1888 to a noble family. At the age of 14 Miyagi began training under the foremost Naha-te grand master, Kanryo Higaonna. He was his Sensei's disciple for 15 years. In 1904, after Higaonna died, Miyagi went to China to study other martial arts and Zen. He learned different styles of Gung Fu. In Fuzhou, Fukien Province, Miyagi studied Shao Lin Chuan (hard fist - external style of qi) and also Ba Gwa Chang (eight diagram 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 and soft aspects of the original art-- the give and take required to be successful.
An essential aspect to karate-do is the emphasis on its use for defensive purposes, not for attacking.
"Karate is a total commitment. There is no halfway measure. Either you do it or you don't. Nothing is impossible!"