The origin of karate dates back more than a thousand years to the unarmed combat skills developed by the Buddhist monks. These ancient unarmed combat skills together with their philosophy of non-violence formthe basis of the Yamaguchi Goju-Kai Karate-Do. It is a traditional style that continues to embody all the concentrated experience of numerous generations of past martial artists. One such master was the late Gogen Yamaguchi 10th Dan Black Belt and the founder of the IKGA. His son Goshi, a grandmaster in his own right is Chief Instructor and President if the IKGA. All students graded to Black Belt are recognised internationally with certificates issued from Japan that are personally signed by Yamaguchi sensei.
President: International Karate-Do Goju-Kai Association.
Goju-Ryu is one of the four major Japanese schools of Karate-Do. The founder of the Goju-Ryu, Master Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) entrusted the teaching in mainland Japan to Master Gogen Yamaguchi (1909-1989) who subsequently founded the All Japan Karate-Do Goju-Kai in 1950 and the International Karate-Do Goju-Kai Association in 1965.
The third son of the world-renowned Grand Master, Goshi Yamaguchi was appointed President of All Japan Karate-Do Goju-Kai Association and the International Karate-do Goju-Kai Association in 1990. He continues to travel the world promoting the ideals of Goju-Ryu Karate-Do to the Association’s 50 plus member countries.
Goju-Ryu karate is made up of an infinite combination of straight and circular kicking, striking and throwing techniques that harmonize with one’s internal energy (ki) to produce a powerful and dynamic art form emphazing speed and fluidity.
Having started training at the age of eight, no one is more adept at portraying the powerful beauty of Goju-Ryu Karate than Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi, a grand master in his own right.
The jiyu kumite, continuous free sparring, is one of the events held in the Goju-Kai World Championships. In this dissertation on the event, Saiko Shihan reveals the philosophy integral in following the true martial arts path to enlightenment.
All people who engage in Jiyu Kumite competition must always keep in mind the “Spirit” that should exist in Kumite (sparring) in Goju-ryu Karate-do, and they must be familiar with the characteristics of the “Techniques” of Kumite in Goju-ryu Karate-do.
The goals of the attacks and defenses (Kôbô) of Goju-ryu’s traditional Jiyu Kumite are to develop your sparring techniques, as well as being spiritual training for your fighting “spirit”.
The attacks and defenses of one’s opponent are a fight against yourself by projecting oneself onto your opponent, and in doing so you can borrow the other person to focus on developing yourself, while sparring.
In the course of sparring, therefore, you must always remember to be grateful to your opponent.
In the event that your opponent’s level is lower than yours, if you continue attacking that person in a one-sided manner, with an ostentatious display of how strong you are, that would be disrespectful to your own self and would call for deep contrition.
If the two people engaged in Kumite were allowed to attack one another in an emotional manner, Kumite would no longer constitute competition.
It is fine to have a vigorous fighting spirit, but while attacking at a minimum one must remember the “feeling of respect for one’s opponent”. Correctly controlling one’s emotions will result in correctly controlling one’s fists, and it will also heighten the dignity of one’s Karate.
Grappling and decisive techniques used against an opponent must also be controlled. Controlled strikes and kicks do not mean weakening one’s force, but remembering to execute one’s techniques with enough distancing so that one can compete more at ease while maintaining his or her power, that is, to use techniques called “stopping one inch away” (sun-dome) or “stopping at the point of impact” (ate-dome).
Kumite in Goju-ryu is, as indicated by its name, comprised of endless combinations of “hard” (go) and “soft” (ju), and it is an arrangement of strong and weak that is an intricate combination of linear and curved movements. A small amount of power can be used to utilize your opponent’s power against him, and one can observe many techniques that receive high assessment as a matter of the physical sciences as well.
What characterizes Goju Kumite is that the two karate-ka will engage in attacks and defenses (Kôbô) in a variety of continuous techniques (renzoku waza) in close range fighting (sekkin-sen).
“Blocking” (uke) does not mean separating and escaping from your opponent. The close range distancing for “blocking” is equal to that for “attacking”, so attacks and defenses are not artificially separated in Goju-ryu Kumite.
With continuous movements in close range where it is difficult to accelerate, one must continuously demonstrate full power by applying force utilizing the turning of one’s body and the turning of one’s hips and shoulders.
Actions should be based on the turning of one’s body with circular motions as the main axis, and attacks and defenses should be based on intuitive judgments (sabaki).
You may use any stance (tachi-kata), but the “Cat Foot Stance” (neko-ashi dachi) is associated with the characteristic image of Goju-ryu. “The Cat Foot Stance” has the advantage of enabling you to adapt rapidly to your opponent’s moves and changing situations, while at the same time making it easy to transition to other stances.
Jiyu Kumite offers one a great opportunity to demonstrate techniques that one has developed over the entire course of one’s training.
In Jiyu Kumite one will be evaluated not only in one’s techniques, but also in one’s overall capabilities, including one’s character.
For a person full of power and stamina but poor technique, or a person who has a good appearance and speed but is lacking in stamina, or a person with a high level of techniques but is lacking in control and makes “contact” (ate) too much without regard to distancing, or a crude and rough person lacking in attitude and character, not only the number of karate techniques that person possesses, but also that person’s human nature are exposed through Jiyu Kumite.
In order for the power of Kumite to be given proper respect, it is desired that Kumite be filled with moderation and dignity.
President: International Karate-Do Goju-Kai Association.