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Miyagi Chojun Sensei

Miyagi, Chojun Sensei (宮城 長順 Miyagi Chōjun, April 25, 1888—October 8, 1953) was a Japanese martial artist who founded the Gojyu-ryu school of  Okinawan Karate. 


In 1900, Miyagi Sensei was  first intoduced to Budo from Ryuko Aragaki, who then introduced him to Kanryo Higashionna when Miyagi was 14 years old.  Under his tutelage, Miyagi Sensei underwent a very long and arduous period of training. His training with Higaonna was interrupted for a two-year period while Miyagi completed his military service, 1910–1912, in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture. 


In 1915, Miyagi Sensei travelled to Fujian Province. In China he visited the grave of Higaonna's teacher, Ryu Ryu Ko. After Kanryo Higaonna's death in October of 1915, he made a second trip to Foochow with Gokenki. He studied some local Chinese martial arts.  It was in this second trip that he observed the Rokkishu (a set of hand exercises rather than a formal kata, which emphasizes the rotation of the forearms and wrists to execute offensive and defensive techniques), which he then adapted into the Tensho Kata. From the blending of these systems, and his native Naha-Te, a new system emerged. However, it was not until 1929 that Chojun Miyagi named the system Goju-ryu, meaning "hard soft style", a name that was taken from an article in the Bubishi, "Hakku Kempo".


After several months in China, Chōjun Miyagi returned to Naha where he opened a dojo. He taught for many years, gaining an enormous reputation as a karateka. Despite his reputation, his greatest achievements lie in popularization and the organization of karate teaching methods. In recognition of his leadership in spreading karate in Japan, his style, the Gojyu-Ryu, became the first style to be officially recognized by the Dai Nippon Butokukai.


He introduced karate into Okinawa police work, high schools and other fields of society. He revised and further developed Sanchin - the hard aspect of Gojyu, and created Tensho - the soft aspect. These kata are considered to contain the essence of the Gojyu-ryu. Tensho was influenced by the White Crane kata Rokushu, which he learned from his long-time friend Gokenki. With the goal of unification of various karate styles which was in fashion at that time, he also created more Shurite-like katas Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni in 1940, taking techniques from higher forms (notably Suparinpei, and upper blocks uncommon for Gojyu-ryu at that time) and incorporating them into a shorter forms. It is said he created these kata to bridge the gap between Sanchin and Saifa, which contains much more complex moves compared to Sanchin.


Miyagi Sensei died in Okinawa on October 8, 1953 from a heart attack. Some of Miyagi's more notable students were: Seko Higa (his oldest student and also a student of Kanryo Higaonna), Meitoku Yagi (founder of the Meibukan dojo, who eventually accepted Miyagi's gi and obi from Miyagi's family), Miyazato Ei'ichi(founder of the Jundokan dojo), Seikichi Toguchi (founder of Shorei-kan Goju-ryu), and on the Japanese mainland Gōgen Yamaguchi who was the founder of the International Karate do Goju Kai Association and who after training with Miyagi, became the representative of Gōjyū-ryū in Japan. At a later date Gōgen Yamaguchi invested much time studying Kata under Meitoku Yagi Sensei.


Some of Miyagi Sensei's philosopies lie in the following documents which I suggest you research at some point:


1. Ouline of Karate-do
2. The Last Teachings


In Pop Culture, the character of Keisuke Miyagi in the original The Karate Kid film series, written by Robert Mark Kamen was inspired by Chōjun Miyagi



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