History of Karate




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For more information please contact Stefan Fredriksson,

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A History of Karate


Budo, the way of the warrior, traces its roots back to the samurai code of conduct and is a part of traditional Japanese culture. A large part of the philosophy of Budo relies on the unity between body and soul, one’s mental condition and one’s techniques. Therefore, it is not only the training itself that is important, but also the practitioner’s behavior and inner peace.


Goju Ryu Karate Do stems from the style of karate practiced by Kanryo Higaonna, a karate master who lived in Okinawa, Japan, between 1853 and 1915. He combined the martial arts that already existed in Okinawa (commonly called “te,” hand, combined with its place of origin: Shuri-te, Tomari-te, etc) with Chinese Kung Fu, to create the style that became known as Naha-te. In Naha-te, hard and soft techniques were combined in the same way that we train today.

The name Goju Ryu comes from one of Kanryo Higaonna’s students, Chojun Miyagi. Chojun Miyagi developed Kanryo Higaonna’s karate by for example taking inspiration from various other Chinese martial arts. He was famous for his strength with holds and his powerful kata, but was called “the Gentleman Warrior” because he never injured anyone with his knowledge of karate. Instead, he was helpful and kind to everyone around him. The name Goju Ryu comes from the words “go” (hard), “ju” (soft), and “ryu” (style), to show that karate is a mix of both hard and soft techniques. They exist together in the same way that Yin and Yang must co-exist in nature in order for it to be in balance.


When Miyagi sensei died in 1953, his student Eiichi Miyazato took over his dojo. Eiichi Miyazato had by then studied karate under Chojun Miyagi for over 15 years and had become a police and martial arts instructor for the police force thanks to Miyagi sensei’s recommendations. In 1957, Eiichi Miyazato opened the dojo that exists to this day in Asato, Naha, and called it the Jundokan, “the House that Follows the Way of the Father.” Miyazato sensei’s teaching have since then spread over the whole world and is today practiced on all continents. O.G.R. Karate is a part of the Jundokan family, led since Miyazato sensei’s death in 1999 by Tetsonosuke Yasuda sensei (10 dan), Tetsu Gima (9 dan) and Tsuneo Kinjo (9 dan), and practice traditional karate with focus on self defence and personal development, in the spirit of our style’s founding fathers.