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Welcome to the ‘Karate Kids Academy’ website. We are affiliated with ‘Okinawan Traditional Goju-ryu Association’ (OTGKA) which is headed by Sensei George Andrews (8th Dan) and also with International Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) which is headed by Morio Higaonna Sensei (10th Dan) , This IOGKF organisation was established in 1979 during a meeting held at the first international Gasshuku in Poole, Dorset, England. Morio Higaonna Sensei became Chairman and World Chief Instructor.

The IOGKF was formed for the main purpose of preserving the traditional Goju Ryu Karate-do as in its original form as was passed on by the founder of Goju Ryu Chojun Miyagi.

The OTGKA which if affiliated to the IOGKF was formed by Sensei George Andrews in January 2002 along with the senior instructors to preserve the Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu of his Instructor Sensei Morio Higaonna.


Left to Right -  Anchi Miyagi Sensei, Sensei George Andrews, Morio Higoanna Sensei

Explanation of the Badge

Kenkon the badge of the I.O.G.K.F Heaven and Earth are described as Kenkon in Japanese.

Ken meaning heaven and Kon indicating earth, Heaven is shown as round and earth as square, which symbolises the vastness of heaven and earth. The badge expresses the harmony of hardness and softness in nature...heaven and earth.

The meaning of Goju is directly related to the badge since this also means hard and soft, Go translates as hard whilst Ju equals soft.

The Symbol on the outer circle symbolise technique. 

The symbol within the circle is the family crest of the Miyagi family, since the idea of heaven and earth, hard and soft originated with Miyagi Sensei.

Okinawan Goju Ryu History
This comprehensive history was written by Shihan Drs. Harry de Spa (1951 - 1999)


Ryu Ryu Ko and Kanryo Higaonna - The Chinese Roots

Higaonna Kanryo
It was the Okinawan Kanryo Higaonna (1853-1915) who through his intensive studies in Fuzhou (Fujian, China) -in the period 1867-1881- laid the foundation of what later would become known as Goju-Ryu karate-do. Kanryo set sail for Fuzhou in the autumn of 1867, when he was 15, with the Ryukyu Kan, an area compromising a microcosm of Okinawan life, as his final destination. Kanpu Tanmei, the manager of his boarding house the Uchinayaru, learned about Kanryo's eagerness to study the Chinese martial arts and introduced him to the Chinese master Ryu Ryu Ko.

There is still no consensus of opinion about Ryu Ryu Ko's exact identity nor about the exact martial art style which he taught. However it is widely believed that the family of Ryu Ryu Ko had originally been of the aristocratic class, and in those times only the aristocratic classes studied the martial arts. Ryu Ryu Ko studied at the southern Shaolin Temple in the mountains of Fujian Province. Due to the internal strife that threatened the feudal system and therefore the Chinese aristocracy, the family was forced to conceal their status in order to survive. For this reason Ryu Ryu Ko worked as a bricklayer and a builder. In later life he lived by making a variety of everyday goods such as baskets, furniture and other items from cane. This was the profession he was following when Kanryo Higaonna became his pupil. In the area Kanryo Higaonna disembarked, White Crane teachers were living and probably Ryu Ryu Ko was one of them. The White Crane (Bai He) genealogy of Fujian goes back to Fang Jiniang, the daughter of Fang Shiyu, who is said to have learned Monk Fist (Luohan Quan) during his stay in the southern Buddhist Fujian Shaolin Temple on the mountain Julianshan (Nine Lotus) near Fuzhou in the Puliang-district. Fang Jiniang, from Yongchun near Fuzhou, had also studied the defence- and attack-movements of the White Crane and became due to this the founder of the first generation White Crane masters. The second generation Yongchun White Crane Boxing grandmaster was Zeng Cishu, who was also a Black Tiger Boxing master.

The White Crane tradition of the17th century Fujian became strongly influenced by Monk Fist and Tiger Boxing, and is probably the foundation on which Ryu Ryu Ko taught Kanryo Higaonna. The original Ancestral (Zong He Quan) or Trembling (Zhan He Quan) Crane style was later split into five main separate branches known as: Singing Crane, Sleeping Crane (Su He Quan), Flying Crane (Fei He Quan), Eating Crane (Shi He Quan) and Shouting Crane (Ming He Quan) and probably numerous sub-branches as well.
However such was the devotion of Kanryo Higaonna that he eventually became Ryu Ryu Ko's uchi-deshi i.e. he received the inner teachings thus learning the whole system, as well as the study of weapons, and traditional Chinese medicine. It is not clear exactly which year Kanryo Higaonna began teaching the martial arts in Okinawa, but it is known that he did not begin teaching until a few years after his return from China. Kanryo first began teaching martial arts in his home in Nishishin-machi, but later taught also at the Naha Kuritsu Shogyo Koto Gakko (Naha Commercial High School) in September 1905. He had many notable students and eventually his most favourite student, Chojun Miyagi, succeeded him as the leading master of Naha-te.

Chojun Miyagi's Goju Ryu Karate-do

PictureMiyagi Chojun
Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) is the founder of today's Goju-Ryu karate-do; he was responsible for taking Naha-te and formulating it into a system.

Miyagi was Kanryo Higaonna's most talented and chosen pupil. Miyagi came from a rich family of high esteem, ship owners who imported -amongst others- medicines from China and supplied these to the royal family, the government and business houses. To prepare him for his future task to lead the family, when only eleven years old Chojun was brought to Ryuko Aragaki (1875-1961), who on his terms sent him at the age of fourteen to Kanryo Higaonna. Here Chojun Miyagi, together with Juhatsu Kyoda (1887-1967), was tutored thoroughly in Higaonna's Naha-te.

After the death of Higaonna the well-off Miyagi, who occupied himself full-time with the study of martial arts, planned a trip to Fuzhou, the mecca of South-Chinese fighting arts (Nan Quan), to visit the birthplace of Kanryo Higaonna's Naha-te and to pay his respects to Ryu Ryu Ko's grave. For two months Chojun Miyagi together with Aisho Nakamoto (1881-1945) stayed in Fuzhou to train and they also visited the Julianshan Fujian Shaolin Temple.

Back on Okinawa he became friends with two tea-merchants from Fuzhou Wu Xianhui (Jap. Go Kenki) and Tang Daiji (Jap. To Daiki, both of them where famous martial arts teachers. Wu Xianhui (1886-1940) came to Naha in 1912 to teach White Crane boxing and made friends with amongst others Juhatsu Kiyoda, Chojun Miyagi and Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952).

Together with Wu Xianhui, Chojun Miyagi left to visit Fuzhou again at the end of the twenties. Apart from Wu Xianhui who emigrated from Fuzhou to Naha in 1912, Miyagi had as already stated a good relationship with Tang Daiji (1887-1937) a Tiger Boxing (Hu Quan) master who also emigrated from Fuzhou to Naha. Introduced by Wu Xianshui, Miyagi met in February 1936 in Shanghai the famous Monk Fist (Luohan Quan) master Miao Xing (1881-1939). Miyagi is said to have trained for some time diligently with Miao Xing and other Chinese masters associated with theJingwu Athletic Association. He also visited the national martial arts championships.

Miyagi dedicated his whole life to the development of what was called 'toudijutsu' (China hand art) or simply'te' on Okinawa. In 1921 crown-prince Hirohito visited Okinawa before travelling to Europe. Due to his visit Shuri-te as well asNaha-te(by Chojun Miyagi) was demonstrated.

In 1925 Miyagi demonstrated for prince Chichibu-Nomiya and shortly after, in 1926, he founded theOkinawa Karate Kenkyu-Kai (Okinawa Karate Research Club) together with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Choyu Motobu (Tomari-te) and Kenwa Mabuni. One year later, Chojun Miyagi demonstrated to Jigoro Kano, grappling, locking and throwing techniques and the correct use of breathing. Kano was very impressed by this toudijutsu and introduced Miyagi, accompanied by his friend Mabuni in Japan.

At the end of the twenties and the beginning of the thirties, Miyagi, together with his -at that time- top student Jinan Shinzato (1901-1945), gave seminars and demonstrations at Japanese universities, Budo-tournaments and at the crowning festivities of crown-prince Hirohito.

In 1933 Chojun Miyagi registered'toudi' officially as Goju-Ryuat the Japanese regulating Budo-institution, the prestigiousDaiNipponButokukai, theAllJapanMartialArtsAssociation.

Later on Miyagi was distinguished by the Ministry of Physical Education, receiving the highest honour of theDaiNipponButokukaiand was appointed representative of the Butokukaidepartment for Okinawa.

Thus Goju-Ryu karate-do -the name derived from the Bubishi- was the first and eldest karate-tradition recognised by the Dai Nippon Butokukai; its founder, Chojun Miyagi, acquired an outstanding position in karate-do.

May 1934, Chojun Miyagi travelled on invitation to Hawaii where he taught and gave demonstrations until February 1935. His teachings for that matter were referred to as kempo karate.

On the 25th of October 1936 the most outstanding Okinawa-masters (Chomo Hanashiro , Chotoku Kyan, Choki Motobu, Chosin Chibana, Juhatsu Kiyoda and Chojun Miyagi) assembled and changed the nametoudijutsu into karate-do.

An'ichi Miyagi and Morio Higaonna

Before World War II Chojun Miyagi's top student was Jinan Shinzato. Shinzato was a police-detective by profession. Besides karate he also trained in judo. Shinzato was talented and it was generally known that he was to become Chojun Miyagi's successor. Unfortunately he was killed during World War II. Except for Shinzato, Chojun Miyagi also lost two daughters and his third son during this war.

Before the war Chojun Miyagi's teaching method began with hojo undo, uke harai, ude tanren, yakusoku kumite, kakie and then sanchin kata . This was the students' routine for the first three to five years and comprised eighty percent of Chojun Miyagi's teaching. After this, one or two kaishugata would be taught, the depth and applications varied according to one's level of understanding and technical ability. Jinan Shinzato learned sanchin, sesan and tensho; Seiko Kina learned sanchin and seiyunchin; Meitoku Yagi learned sanchin and suparinpei; Shunshin Furugen learned sanchin and kururunfa. However the senior students from before the war, Seiko Kina, Meitoku Yagi, Kiei Tomoyose, Shunshin Furugen, Eiko Miyazato and Eiichi Miyazato, did not train anymore as they were busy trying to make a living in these hard times.

Therefore in 1948 Chojun Miyagi accepted new students and revised his teaching system, arranging the kata of Goju-Ryu into a set sequence, something that had not existed previously.

In February of that year four students came to his dojo. These were An'ichi Miyagi, Bise Chishin, Gima Seikichi and Tokeshi Kako. After one year of intensive training only An'ichi Miyagi stayed. Up to 1951 he was Chojun Miyagi's sole student. A close relation between both grew; Chojun Miyagi treated An'ichi like a son of his own.

Chojun Miyagi who realised that he wasn't getting any younger taught the essence (gokui) of Goju-Ryu to An'ichi Miyagi. From February 1948 to October 1953 Chojun Miyagi taught An'ichi everything he knew to preserve this knowledge as a whole for future generations.

In 1951 Miyagi accepted new students. The first of them was Shuichi Aragaki, after him gradually more followed. Usually these students were taught by An'ichi. In 1952 the number of dojo-members gradually began to grow.

On the 8th of October 1953 master Chojun Miyagi died suddenly of a heart-attack.

Training continued in the garden-dojo of Chojun Miyagi's house. Mostly An'ichi taught and through his tuition three special students arose: Yasuo Iba, Anya Sauchi and Saburo Higa. For the first time since World War II the Goju-Ryu garden-dojo started to flourish and could claim many outstanding students.

About this time, Morio Higaonna joined the garden-dojo of the late Chojun Miyagi. Before that time Morio Higaonna trained in Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu with Tsunetaka Shimabukuru, Kenji Kaneshiro and Yoshishige Omine. At the intercession of Tsunetaka Shimabukuru, Morio Higaonna was introduced to the garden-dojo in March 1955. At his first visit he met Yasuo Iba. He told the young Morio Higaonna that he should go to An'ichi Miyagi as he was the most competent of the dojo. After training Morio Higaonna always visited Chojun Miyagi's widow Makato (1887-1966). Sometimes they spoke about Chojun Miyagi, some of his senior students, and of karate. She stressed that he should learn from An'ichi Miyagi as the latter was most close to her husband and learned from him Goju-Ryu in great detail.

August 1957, Eiichi Miyazato built a large dojo in the Asato district of Naha, which he named Jundokan, after the name of Jigoro Kano's first judo-dojo. Miyazato who after the war was heavily occupied with judo became a judo champion around 1950 or 1951 and even left for Japan in April 1953, to attend the Japan Kodokan seminar. Miyazato finally became an accomplished judo master and president of the Okinawan Judo Federation as well. Because of his authority and position as a police-officer Miyazato became official head of the dojo with Koshin Iha as his assistant and responsible for the fees. They rarely taught however, leaving the daily teaching responsibilities to An'ichi Miyagi. It was An'ichi Miyagi who for example taught Yasuo Iha suparinpei kata.

In 1959 An'ichi Miyagi left Okinawa to work on an American owned oil tanker. At this time work was very difficult to find on Okinawa and An'ichi still had the responsibility of supporting his family. One year later, Morio Higaonna decided to go to Tokyo, mainland Japan, to attend Takushoku University. Attending university he would return to Okinawa just twice a year, each winter for about one month and each summer for about two or three months. On these occasions he continued his training and further development with An'ichi Miyagi.

The Okinawa Karate-do Renmei had been formed in May of 1956, with Choshin Chibana, the founder of Shorin-Ryu, as its first chairman. On December 30, 1960, this seminal organisation held the first all-style dan grading. Shoshin Nagamine from Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu was chairman at that time. The top-instructors of each style were awarded godan; twenty-five karate-ka were graded sandan (among them Morio Higaonna); twenty-three were awarded nidan; and forty were awarded shodan.

Morio Higaonna spent twenty years teaching at a dojo in Yoyogi, a suburb in Tokyo, during which time he built it up into a place which became famous throughout the world. As a result many people from a variety of martial arts backgrounds would come to train with and learn from Higaonna. In Tokyo Higaonna also introduced his teacher An'ichi Miyagi. During these years An'ichi Miyagi passed on the secret and highest level techniques of Goju-Ryu to his student Morio Higaonna.

In 1979 with the support of the family of Chojun Miyagi and Ken Miyagi the fourth son of the founder of Goju-Ryu, as well as many of Chojun Miyagi's senior students, the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) was formed. This to keep Goju-Ryu's original techniques unchanged and to further its technical development as well as its popularity according to the wish of Chojun Miyagi. An'ichi Miyagi was appointed honourable chairman; Morio Higaonna was appointed world chief-instructor.

In 1981, Higaonna moved to Okinawa and opened a dojo in Naha (Higaonna dojo) to do more research. Here he was selected by the documentary makers of the BBC -Howard Reid and Michael Croucher- to represent traditional karate-do in the series "The Way of the Warrior".

In 1987 he left for the USA to promote Goju-Ryu. Since 1987 he visited Fuzhou on many occasions to expand his knowledge on the Chinese roots of Goju-Ryu. From these visits a close bond between the IOGKF and the China Fuzhou Wushu Association (CFWA) was established.

The IOGKF today has a large following, numbering tens of thousands of students in forty-five countries all over the world. At this moment the IOGKF Honbu Dojo is being constructed on Okinawa, the birthplace of karate. It will be the true Goju-Ryu Budokan, with dojo, meeting rooms and upstairs a dormitory.

Miyagi An'ichi Sensei
In 1981, Higaonna moved to Okinawa and opened a dojo in Naha (Higaonna dojo) to do more research. Here he was selected by the documentary makers of the BBC -Howard Reid and Michael Croucher- to represent traditional karate-do in the series "The Way of the Warrior".

In 1987 he left for the USA to promote Goju-Ryu. Since 1987 he visited Fuzhou on many occasions to expand his knowledge on the Chinese roots of Goju-Ryu. From these visits a close bond between the IOGKF and the China Fuzhou Wushu Association (CFWA) was established.

The IOGKF today has a large following, numbering tens of thousands of students in forty-five countries all over the world. At this moment the IOGKF Honbu Dojo is being constructed on Okinawa, the birthplace of karate. It will be the true Goju-Ryu Budokan, with dojo, meeting rooms and upstairs a dormitory.

Higoanna Morio Sensei

© Karate Dojo 2014