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Sensei Miyagi (April 25, 1888—October 8, 1953):
Born in Naha, Okinawa and was the adopted son of a wealthy businessman, and began studying Karate-do at the age of 14. He was introduced to Naha-te by Master Kanryo Higashionna. After the death of Master Kanryo Higashionna in 1915, Miyagi travelled to China. In China he studied the Shaolin and Pa Kua forms of Chinese boxing. By combining the hard (Shaolin) and soft (Pa Kua), and is native Naha-Te, Sensei Miyagi developed a new system. In 1929, he named it “Goju-ryu”, or hard/soft style. Chōjun Miyagi returned to Naha where he opened a dojo. He taught for many years, gaining an enormous reputation as a karateka (karate practitioner).
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Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi (March 6, 1912—Feb 7, 2003):
Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi Meitoku Yagi to be the first and only person to learn all of the Gojyu-Ryu kata directly from Sensei Miyagi. He helped develop all the Meibukan Kata, Renzoku Kumite, Kakomi Kumite, Meibukan Bo, Meibukan Sai, Nihon Kumite, Renzoku and Kakomi forms. Eventually teaching and adding to Goju-Ryu.
History of Goju Ryu:
Okinawan Goju-Ryu is one of the 4 main styles of Okinawan karate. Goju-ryu features a combination of hard and soft techniques. Go which means hard, is a reference to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; Ju which means soft is a reference to open hand techniques and circular movements. It incorporates both circular and linear movements. Goju-ryu practices include body strengthening and conditioning and places major emphasis on correct breathing.
Karate and Okinawa:
One of Japan’s southern prefectures, the Okinawan Prefecture consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 km long. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of the largest and most populous island, Okinawa Island. Karate originated in Okinawa and began as the common fighting system, te, among the warrior class in Okinawa. After trade was established with the Ming dynasty, some forms of Chinese martial arts were introduced to the Ryukyu Islands by the visitors from China. The political centralization of Okinawa and the banning of weapons enforced in Okinawa were factors that furthered the development of unarmed combat techniques in Okinawa.