Goju Ryu Karate Do

Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流), Japanese for "hard-soft style," is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Both principles, hard and soft, come from the famous martial arts book used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bubishi (Chinese: 武備志; pinyin: Wǔbèi Zhì). , which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; , which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements. Gōjū-ryū incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum, combining hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including joint locks, grappling, takedowns, and throws.

Goju ryu Karate training places major emphasis breathing correctly in all of the katas but particularly in the Sanchinkata, which is one of two core katas of this style. The second breathing kata is called Tensho, meant to teach the student about the soft style of the system. Gōjū-Ryū practices methods that include body strengthening and conditioning, its basic approach to fighting (distance, stickiness, power generation, etc.), and partner drills.


Philosophy of Goju Ryu

Master Chujun Miyagi the founder of the Goju Ryu Karate believed that "the ultimate aim of karate-do was to build character, conquer human misery, and find spiritual freedom".

He stated that it was important to balance training for self-defense with "training the mind, or cultivating the precept karate-do ni sente nashi ('there is no first strike in karate')"; he also emphasized the importance of "cultivating intellect before strength".

Miyagi chose the name Goju-ryu ("go" meaning "hard" and "ju" meaning "soft"), to emphasize that his style integrated both "hard" and "soft" styles. Goju applies not just to karate, but to life in general; only hardness or only softness will not enable one "to deal effectively with the fluctuations of life". When blocking, "the body is soft and inhaling"; when striking, the body is "hard and exhaling"

Goju Ryu Karate Techiques


In Goju Ryu Major empathies are placed on the practice of Sanchin Dachi, Neko Ashi Dachi, Zenkutsu dachi, and Shiko Dachi. There are several variations of Sanchin Dachi found in Goju ryu Katas. The Formal Sanchin Stance found in Kata Sanchin, Heiko Sanchin with the feet in parallel when striking and a longer Sanchin found in Suparinpei. More explaination will be given in the presentation.

Striking and Punching Techniques:

In Goju Ryu kata they’re many Variation of striking and punching techniques:  straight and circular striking techniques are found in all Goju-Ryu Katas. All old martial arts system with roots in Chinese martial arts are primarily developed for self defense therefore striking techniques are use in long, short range and very closed proximity. Any part of the body can be use to hit or strike the opponent in real life situation.

Controlling Techniques:

In Goju ryu Kata you will find many controlling techniques that don't look powerful or fast, they are slow, and circular with sticky feeling using the concept of Muchimi. These types of techniques are design for grabbing, controlling and taking down the opponent.

Kicking Techniques:

The kicking in Goju ryu Kata are always low to strike or disable the knees and joints and to strike vital weak parts of the body. Front kick and low side kick are the primary kicks found in Goju Kata. Jumping double kick is found in Suparinpei. There no high side kicks found Goju Ryu Katas. However Round kicks, Side kicks and hook kicks are use in Kumite training.

Defense or Blocking Techniques:

The Goju Ryu Karate defense or Blocking uses closed fist block and many open hand blocking techniques. All defensive techniques contain circular smooth flowing movements.


Body Shifting in all direction, evading and sliding steps are found in Goju Ryu Katas.

Goju Ryu Katas

Katas are made up of a fixed number of movements or techniques designed to practice and perfect self-defense techniques. In Karate there is no first attack therefore all traditional katas start with blocking techniques. The original purpose of kata training is for self-defense, to develop a strong body and spiritual development.

Goju Ryu has two categories of Katas Heisshu and Kaishugata:

Heishu Kata means "kata with closed hands" or "fundamental kata". This kata teaches fundamentals (not only basics of movement but also principles) of the style while basics are learned during Kihon (Basic Movements). Traditionally, Kaishu Kata was taught as a second kata, or a "specialty kata" of a student, after Heishu kata, Sanchin-kata and/or Tensho-kata for Goju-Ryu is learned (this could take up to several years).

The Sanchin and Tensho Kata are performed with constant Muscular tension from the beginning to the end. It develops the physical foundation, grounding, strong body structure, teaches how to connect the upper and lower body via the core with a stable straight back.

Kaishu Katas on the other hand are open hand katas meaning the body is relax until the execution of the techniques. The Bunkai are the application for self defense and are open to interpretation by the practitioners. As one master katas with many years of training the Bunkai can varied:

We follow the formal 12 Goju-Ryu Katas as currently though in the Okinawa Goju Ryu karate do Kyo Kai and JKF Gojukai:

  1. Gekisai daichi 
  2. Gekisai dai Ni
  3. Sanchin
  4. Saifa
  5. Seiunchin
  6. Sanseiru
  7. Shisochin
  8. Seipai
  9. Seisan
  10. Kurunfa
  11. Suparunpei
  12. Tensho