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avatarrules123
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 05 Aug 2020
Posts: 6


PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:32 pm    Post subject: Basics of Goju-Ryu? Reply with quote

I have talked to people about both Shotokan and Kyokushin styles but I am unable to come across someone who can can tell me about Goju-ryu details. According to my basic (Google) knowledge of the difference between Goju-Ryu and other karate styles, these are some differences I have found (please correct me if I am wrong).

Goju Ryu is both a hard and soft style, incorporating both elements of Shotokan and Kyokushin. Goju Ryu's "soft" style (redirection of energy) is used mostly, if not always, in defense, while its "hard" style is used mainly in attacking.

Ignoring the katas of Goju-Ryu, how does overall kumite (does Goju Ryu even do mich kumite?) compare and stand up to other karate forms? Or how is it different from the overall sparring techniques of Shotokan (what I've come to believe is a semi-contact "soft" style) and Kyokushin (which I've come to believe is a full-contact "hard" style)? It seems very useful/applicable since it teaches both hard and soft techniques. Any comments/feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for your karate wisdom and information!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15490
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out and away of what Goju is and/or isn't and/or compared to, I'd observe many videos/books about Morio Higaonna Sensei; he's a Goju-ryu legend, imho. Your post does give you the basics in a small nutshell, but effective enough to start your research.

If there's a Goju dojo near you, you could go watch as many classes as necessary and talk to that CI. You might be able to get on the floor for a trail lesson.

Goju Ryu is quite attracted to close distance, strikes to vulnerable points, hardening of palm, fingers, body, misdirection with pain. doesn't do sport Kumite of much notice, probably only at the dojo. It's not about sport. Kumite is medium contact.

Shotokan is faster, very solid and quick technique, albeit, movement in Kumite is very linear. Kumite is light or no contact, unless CI decide otherwise. Some strong nods in training towards humility.

Oftentimes, to me, they both look quite similar while engaged in Kumite, yet, with the blink of the eye, they no longer have that similarity, and their own Kumite methodology are quite noticeable...and appreciated.

Imho.



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Last edited by sensei8 on Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sensei8 hit the nail on the head, as he always does.

I would like to add that what goes on and how things are truly approached will come down to the CIís philosophy and emphasis more than anything else. Weíre stereotyping the styles here; individual teachers vary greatly. As a point of reference, my teacher attends dan testing quite often at our honbu. There are students from all over the country and internationally testing. My teacher says he can easily tell which students came from which dojo by watching their performance. Not from a quality of performance standpoint, but from their technique and strategy. I guess after youíve been around for 40+ years and have seen their students enough times, the differences become blatantly obvious.

There are a few Goju Ryu schools near me. They vary enough for me to easily see the difference, and I donít have much experience training in Goju.
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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
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Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 478
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As JR 137 has pointed out, with regards to Kumite, it ultimately depends on the instructor of a particular Dojo. However, the organisation they belong too will have some influence as certain organisations expect to see competency in certain sorts of Kumite. Furthermore, it depends on whether that dojo, in particular, bothers with competition and what sort of competition they engage in: their approach to Kumite is likely to, if they engage in sport-specific training, be very much based around the competition format they participate in.

With that said, there are trends that can be discussed:

Okinawan Goju-Ryu has a number of free-sparring exercises called Kakei-Kumite, which on the surface look like pushing hands (tui shou) or sticking hands (chi sao) from Tai Chi Quen and Wing Chun respectively. These are not unique to Goju-Ryu and Naha-Te, being found in Shorin-Ryu and Shuri-Te derivatives as well, but the more recent Chinese influence on Naha-te seems to have made it more prevalent in Goju-Ryu. Such Kumite is designed for developing close-quarter fighting skills, and proprioception. There are a number of partner exercises which look like Yakusoku Kumite on the surface, called Ude Tanren, but they are conditioning exercises. There is also a lot of two-man kata training in Okinawan Goju-Ryu, which generally takes the place of pre-arranged Kumite.

Japanese Goju-Ryu generally speaking has followed the trends of Nippon Karate-Do. You have the practice of Yakusoku Kumite, or promise sparring, which is the commonly seen pre-arranged two-person exercises. You then have Jiyu Kumite, or Free-Sparring, in the style as developed in Japan amongst the University clubs.

With that said, those are broad trends, and to return to the initial point: it always depends on the Dojo in question. You will find Jiyu-Kumite practised in Okinawan Goju-Ryu, and you will Japanese Goju-Ryu has inherited many exercises from its Okinawan forebear.

It should also be mentioned that there is a Kumite rule-set called Irikumi. It is conducted in a Go (Hard) variation which is a form of hard-contact free fighting allowing throws and limited ground-fighting, and also a Ju (Soft) which is a form of continuous sparring restricted to light and controlled contact. These are popular internationally, and in Japan, especially after the MMA boom of the late 90s/early Millenium but WKF rules and knock-down competition are equally popular.

To explain why I differentiate between Okinawan and Japanese Goju-Ryu:

Goju-Ryu on Okinawa is quite diverse as Miyagi Chojun never declared a successor, and he was constantly evolving his expression of Karate and his teachings. After he died, Goju-Ryu became rather disparate on Okinawa, and his students tended to teach a slightly different version of Goju-Ryu based on the period they spent their most intense training under Miyagi and their other influences unique to them.

In contrast, Japanese Goju-Ryu spread largely under the vision of one man, Yamaguchi Gogen, and he adopted a number of the conventions of Nippon Karate-Do into his version of Goju-Ryu. Such as Yakusoku and Jiyu Kumite, and rudimentary beginner kata such as the Taikyokugata. As it could be said that Shotokan and Wado-Ryu are distinctly Japanese interpretations of Shuri-Te, the Goju-Ryu of Yamaguchi and the Goju Kai can be said to be a distinctly Japanese interpretation of Naha Te.
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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 169
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always appreciate what sensei8 has to say.

Iíve only actually trained in Shorin Ryu (extensively) and Chito Ryu (only about 5 months now) but Iíve been a huge fan of Goju Ryu ever since I first discovered it back when I started Shorin Ryu. To this day I wish I could find a Goju dojo near me so I can start training there!

I started Shorin Ryu because I wanted to do Kyokushin but couldnít find any dojoís near me. I was always a big fan of their kumite because it looks like too much fun. Absolutely known as a hard style.

In Shorin Ryu, we hardly do any sparring the way that Shotokan does it and no way have we even tried it the Kyokushin way.

I hope someone corrects me if Iím wrong, but Goju Ryu is the ďsister styleĒ of Shorin Ryu, so they tend to be very similar in many ways, but VERY different in others. In particular, Goju utilizes the Seisan dachi while Shorin utilizes shizentai dachi (natural stance). I once heard from a former instructor that Goju takes unnatural, powerful stances and trains them until theyíre natural, while Shorin Ryu takes natural stances and trains them until theyíre powerful. No idea if thatís correct on the Goju side!

But in general, our kumite is practiced through Yakusoku kumite, Tegumi and futari geiko. If these can be practiced using bunkai, thatís great, but thatís not always the case.

Iím more or less just sharing my thoughts. Iím totally open to someone calling me out if anything I said is simply absurd. LOL
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Wado Heretic
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Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 478
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just noticed I failed to carry over a couple of paragraphs from copy and paste in my original answer:

Shotokan is characterised by strikes at the full-extension of the limbs, which is a result of their training methodology and the influence of competition. Generally speaking, they will aim for a decisive blow or throw a powerful barrage of techniques. Leading with a kick, or using counter-punches are other common sights in Shotokan Kumite.

Kyokushin is generally characterised by exchanging punches in the pocket so as to be inside kicking range. Kicks, of course, being the only attack allowed to the head, and body shots being relatively easy to absorb if you know they are coming. Many innovative Kyokushin fighters have got around this by developing low kicks, allowing them to prevent their opponent to get inside kick-range, but also an unusual Mawashi-Geri designed to come around and behind the guard. Other innovations to get around this issue include sacrifice techniques such as the Do Mawashi Kaiten Geri which do not generally exist in other systems.

Goju-Ryu ultimately depends on the type of Kumite and the organisation. The use of Neko-Ashi as a fighting stance, and keeping the front leg between oneself and one's opponent used to be a characteristic of Goju-Ryu in Sundome Kumite such as Irikumi Ju. Kicks to the body, in-fighting, and throws were also distinctive marks of Goju-Ryu Kumite. These days, however, you tend to see the influence of sport-specific training. Squared stances closer to seisan-dachi, and the use of high-kicks and hooks, though in looking and competing in Irikumi Go I would say they tend to stand and fight closer than Kick-Boxers and other karatekas, yet further than Kyokushin and knock-down fighters.

Edit: To make sense of that point of comparison: If you watch Boxers, Kick-Boxers, Tae Kwon Do, or point-fighting Karate they tend to float around just outside of each other's reach until one decides to engage. This distance serves as a safety wall, giving one more time to react to your opponent's movement, and stops one getting clocked by a punch or kick you failed to see. In contrast, Knock-Down fighters tend to engage each other at arm's length and try to keep their opponent right in front of them. From watching Irikumi Go, and having competed in it, I find a lot of Goju-Ryu practitioners like to stick to his nebulous area where they can connect if they stick their limbs out, but stay far away enough they can see a strike coming. It is a little weird, and always goes against my kick-boxing instincts, but it has its advantages. Makes it harder to get away from a grab attempt and to set up combinations.

Okinawan Karate is fairly homogeneous. At the turn of the century karate largely became divided into two broad forms: School, or town karate, and Village karate.

School karate largely formed around Itosu Anko of Shuri-Te and Higoanna Kanryo of Naha-Te, and their respective students. It got the designation of school/town karate because Itosu famously pioneered karate being taught in schools, and Higoanna began teaching large, open classes in Naha, in contrast to the old way of teaching select students in privacy.

The most famous students of these two also formed the nucleus of the Tode-Kenkyukai formed in 1918, and which lasted until 1929, where they collectively trained in karate and exchanged methods and ideas. As such, aside from kata, and some distinct characteristics, much became aligned between the two with regards to training and combative methods.

As such, the Shorin-Ryu of Chosin Chibana (Itsou's most senior student who remained in Okinawa and survived Itosu by significant years) and the Goju-Ryu of Miyagi Chojun (The De Facto inheritor of Higoanna Kanryo) inherited the students and important work of their forebears. Most importantly, they also survived the Second World War in a credible state. As such Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu can be considered the "Orthodox Okinawan Karate" due to their size and popularity, and they can be called sister systems in that they have much in common.

In comparison, Village Karate, referred to those systems that followed the old way. Passing the art from father to son, and training in relative privacy and following the idealogy of one master. Village coming from the fact this training persisted in the villages whereas the teachings of Itosu and Higoanna came to dominate the towns of Shuri and Naha.

Furthermore, both Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu began to acknowledge the conceits of Japanese Karate-Do in the early 30s when Choshin Chibana and Miyagi Chojun registered their arts with the Dai Nippon Butokukai. The heterodox schools of Village Karate would not do so until the 1950s when Japanese Karate-Do and its conceits and traditions were actively exported to Okinawa.
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Moegster
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 04 Aug 2020
Posts: 6

Styles: Yamaguchi Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know the feeling haha! I first discovered alot of material from Morio Higaonna's Goju Ryu and it was amazing! But there are no IOGKF in or near my city... Eventually I found a Goju Kai (Yamaguchi's Goju Ryu organization) school. It shows ALOT of similarities (as far as i can say, as a beginner) with Higaonna's Goju Ryu. I find the IOGKF much more appealing than the IGKF (Goju Kai), they tend to share more knowledge in books, videos and the use of modern media AND more gasshuku's.

Wado Heretic and Sensei8, you guys rock! its a pleasure to read both your contributions

scohen0300 wrote:
I always appreciate what sensei8 has to say.

Iíve only actually trained in Shorin Ryu (extensively) and Chito Ryu (only about 5 months now) but Iíve been a huge fan of Goju Ryu ever since I first discovered it back when I started Shorin Ryu. To this day I wish I could find a Goju dojo near me so I can start training there!

I started Shorin Ryu because I wanted to do Kyokushin but couldnít find any dojoís near me. I was always a big fan of their kumite because it looks like too much fun. Absolutely known as a hard style.

In Shorin Ryu, we hardly do any sparring the way that Shotokan does it and no way have we even tried it the Kyokushin way.

I hope someone corrects me if Iím wrong, but Goju Ryu is the ďsister styleĒ of Shorin Ryu, so they tend to be very similar in many ways, but VERY different in others. In particular, Goju utilizes the Seisan dachi while Shorin utilizes shizentai dachi (natural stance). I once heard from a former instructor that Goju takes unnatural, powerful stances and trains them until theyíre natural, while Shorin Ryu takes natural stances and trains them until theyíre powerful. No idea if thatís correct on the Goju side!

But in general, our kumite is practiced through Yakusoku kumite, Tegumi and futari geiko. If these can be practiced using bunkai, thatís great, but thatís not always the case.

Iím more or less just sharing my thoughts. Iím totally open to someone calling me out if anything I said is simply absurd. LOL
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advfhorn
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 61
Location: NJ - USA
Styles: Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After training in Goju Ry for 6 years and now in addition training Shorin Ryu (Shidokan) .... my Shorin Ryu Sensei keeps telling me to "relax". Perhaps I have not learned the Ryu part of Goju Ryu yet

To me the most obvious differences was no body shifting, very circular movement on the blocks, most stances are lower (sheiko) .... Shorin ryu there seems to be a pattern of back stance to block and front stance to attack, which I do not see in Goju Ryu katas (with the exception of the Cat Stance).
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