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Garry Lever has posted an excellent discussion on the roots of Goju Ryu over at the Goju Kenkyukai blog. This is one of the more sober looks at the history of any karate group out there. Karate in general suffers from the effects of unnecessary myth-making and mysticism; as a result the histories of different practices and individuals are badly garbled and left open to some pretty silly stuff.  I think Garry hits this one head on- forget trying to pin down direct sources and secret transmissions; it’s more likely that Goju Ryu has it’s roots with a bunch of guys who knew a few things about fighting skills, getting together in the park to train. Hmmm…now why does that seem so familiar?

Check it out there

Mario McKenna has posted some very salient observations on the growing trend of slapping dubious historical connections and illustrious names together in order to sell a place/school as “the” origin of this type of karate or that. Give it a look for a very clear-headed perspective on the recent effort to increase tourism in Fuzhou by hyping it up as the birthplace of Goju Ryu.

Nahate Heresy

My posting of the comparative Goju/Uechi versions of the Seisan kata has prompted the following comment:

“The Seisan version you do is the version Higaonna Morio started teaching in 1977 after he left the Jundokan and hooked up with Aniichi Miyagi. It’s not the Seisan done by the Jundokan (or Higaonna Morio before 1977) Check versions done by Miyazato on Youtube.”

For the sake of comparison, let’s do exactly that!  Below are several clips showing Miyazato in the 1980’s, Miyagi in 2003, and Higaonna in 1975 and again in the 1990’s,  performing the Seisan kata.  If, as the commenter stated, Higaonna changed the kata after leaving the Jundokan in 1977, there should be an appreciable difference between his 1975 version and the more recent one.  Likewise, there should be a difference between Miyagi’s version and Miyazato’s. If you can spot an appreciable difference (beyond age-related factors) among these  renderings or time periods, please share!

Here is Miyazato Eiichi of the Jundokan in 1983:

Morio Higaonna in 1975  (Seisan begins at 1:04):

Morio Higaonna in the 1990’s:

Morio Higaonna’s teacher, An’ichi Miyagi in 2003:

Senior Goju Ryu exponent An’ichi Miyagi sensi passed away on Monday April 27th. Miyagi sensei  was one of Chojun Miyagi’s last and most notable students. As a teacher he  produced a legacy that includes Goju Ryu maestro Morio Higaonna. Our sympathies go to his family and students.

sensei_anichi

An interview with Morio Higaonna about his teacher is available here.          More information about An’ichi Miyagi sensei is available here.

An article about Uechi Kanei was translated and posted by Mario McKenna on his blog:

Uechi Kanei

There are several interesting intersections of historical karate figures in this article. Enjoy!


"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin

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