As a self-defence system, Karate evolved from centuries of study, combining methods discovered in China and the Asian-Pacific Archipelago with the native innovation and unique culture of its homeland, the island nation of Okinawa. Karate focuses on striking with hands, feet and other “natural weapons,” blocking blows, and evading attacks–but it also includes grappling, strategy and more complex elements, making it a subject for lifelong study.
Okinawa Goju Ryu
Goju Ryu takes its name from Go, the principle of concentrated force or “hardness,” and Ju, the principle of pliability or “softness.” Goju Ryu seeks a balance between hard and soft in its techniques, physical training and philosophy. The term Ryu, “stream,” refers to the traditional lineage of this martial art, passed from teacher to student for generations. Certain aspects of the Goju Ryu taught at Seito Bugei Juku (Okinawa Goju Ryu, to distinguish it from Japanese Goju Ryu) have been preserved in their original form, while others have been enhanced through studies in anatomy, kinesiology, and physics.
Traditional Karate training is often thought of as “three Ks:”
- Kihon, or practising the basics to develop instinctive technical skill.
- Kata, combinations of basic and advanced movements designed to teach ways of moving, physical conditioning and inspire self-defence concepts.
- Kumite, or sparring with prearranged movements, freestyle techniques, or exercises that fall somewhere in between.
In addition, Okinawa Goju Ryu includes special exercises to condition the body and improve mental focus.
人に拷たれず Hito ni Gou ta re zu Never be beaten by others
人打たず Hito U ta zu Never strike others
事なきを Koto na ki wo Nothing (bad) will occur
もととするなり Moto to suru nari This is the basic principle
Benefits of Traditional Karate Training
In the traditional Karate Dojo (training place), emphasis is placed on rigorously conditioning the body, developing the mind and enlightening other spirit through classical training. Improving in the art and achieving higher grades instills a sense of accomplishment and greater self-confidence.
Modern life often deprives us of the exercise necessary for physical and mental health. Karate is a fun and challenging way of addressing this problem, and Okinawa Goju Ryu is especially known for its emphasis on physical training that hones practitioners into excellent shape. Take note of these advantages:
- It can be practiced at any age. As a lifelong activity, it staves off premature aging.
- It does not require exceptional flexibility or natural talent.
- It teaches valuable self-defence skills.
- Okinawa Goju Ryu combines strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training, making it a complete form of exercise.
- It demands no special equipment or facilities, and can be practised alone or with a group.
- It brings practitioners in touch with a tradition, and makes them part of a community.
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