The Goju-kai founder, Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei (山口剛玄先生) who studied under Chojun Miyagi Sensei, unified the essential lecture points or aspects of All Japan Karate-do Federation Goju-kai. The present successor, Goshi Yamaguchi Supreme Master [Shihan] (最高師範山口剛史範士) improved those lecture points to nurture our spirits, our Ki and our body.
The core of Goju’s training, does not only consist of learning competitive Karate techniques, but also to train the mind to enjoy Karate as a way of life. We want adolescents learn common sense through group activities, to know the meaning of improving themselves and challenging this concept through participating in competitions.
Goju-ryu's basic training begins by being taught the basics of making proper fists, and preparing the student for rigorous blocking, punching / striking & kicking exercises.
Then we start seven basic forms of training;
- Tachikata - 立ち方
- Kamaekata - 構え方
- Ukekata - 受け方
- Tsukikata - 突き方
- Uchikata - 打ち方
- Atekata, - 当て方 and
- Kerikata - 蹴り方
There are two basic Wazas (Techniques); one is used for Kata and the other is used for Jiyu-kumite. There are also two kinds of foot movements; one is Unsoku for basic movement and the other is Tenshin and Sabaki for Kumite.
There are four groups of Katas,
- Kihon-gata - 基本形
- Fukyu-gata - 普及形
- Kaishu-gata, - 開手形 and
- Tokutei-gata - 持定型
Sanchin and Tensho are Kihon-gata. Sometimes, Tensho is performed after Kaishu-gata because it is recognized as Kaishu-gata.
In Goju-kai, Kihon-kata consists of a pair of Go Waza, or hardness and Jyu Waza, or softness. Fukyu-gata consists of 10 kinds of Taikyoku no Kata and Gekisai 1 and 2.
Kaishu-kata consists of Saifa, Seinchin, Seipai, Sanseru, Seisan, Shisouchin, Kururunfa and Suparinpei. Tokutei-gata, which consists of Genkaku, Chikaku, Tenryu & Kouryu are not to be taught to students or utilized at competitions.
There are various kinds of training methods, and they are broken down into the following: Kihon-kumite, Yakusoku-kumite and Jiyu-kumite. All forms of Kumite are forms of training that will be done in pairs. In Kumite training we need to pay special attention to the basics, timing, distance and other more difficult techniques.
To understand Kata, there are two methods of training; Katabunkai-kumite and Bunkaikata-kumite. In Katabunkai-kumite practice, we divide kata into segments and learn the meaning of each movement. Bunkaikata-kumite is the practical training and application of the above said methods, by using Kata from Gekisai ichi onward.
Very Important to Goju is the building of our basic strengths and forms of breathing. We have to determine our own ways of improving these qualities by supplementary training and exercises, even though our daily practice of Karate will aid in this. Improvement is always needed in our muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, as Karate demands that of our bodies in practice and all relevant practical applications.
The Goju-ryu's origin is in southern part of China where people use boats for their transportation. We can't miss this point when we come to think about its characteristics. Southern people who knew about boats very much, were good at standing firmly even in an unstable boat and their standing posture became Sanchin-dachi. Their soles never left a boat and they slide their feet to move. Their Waza seemed as if it came out from the ground because of this sliding movement.
Along with the original breathing "Kisoku no Donto", the curved movement which is based on a circle creates what is known as Muchimi. Kisoku no Donto is a breathing method controlling abdominal breathing and training our body from inside. We practice this breathing method by doing the Kihon kata, Sanchin and Tensho. There are two kinds of Ibuki; one is Yo Ibuki and the other is In Ibuki. Yo Ibuki is utilized for training, and breathing is very clear. In Ibuki is utilized at the moment of actual fighting whereas the breath is calm and held in. It is embodied in Yo and Han In Yo doing conscious abdominal breathing. We perform Enbu exercises by doing Ju-ho, Go-ho, Goju-ho and Seido-ho. Forms of breathing and movement.
Concentration on movements and breathing leads to Kiko practice.
Sanchin and Tensho are said to be Ritsuzen, a standing posture with Sanchin-dachi and breathing that leads to a mental state of Tenchi-jin, which is ultimately the sought after state of Goju-ryu.
To accomplish this Muchimi, Kotekitae, which is a kind of Kakie and Kake is utilized. This training method is suitable for learning flexible movements to control your opponent, diminishing the shock of impact, mounting a counterattack and being aware of the changing power of strength, counteractions of the strength and using Ki.
Goju-ryu's aim is not only to improve strength and techniques but also to improve the will power and spirit. Aim at building character and at pursuit of being strong along with nurturing kindness, dignity and thoughtfulness. The founder Chojun Miyagi Sensei said " Don't be struck by others, don't strike others and avoid trouble" and its spirit was seeking for peace and tranquility.
For a Breakdown of the Basis of IKGA Goju-Ryu Karate click HERE. It needs to be understood that this is the basis only and NOT the sole curriculum of what is taught or practiced in IKGA Dojos.