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History of the Martial Arts
A Goju-Ryu perspective

According to the legend propagated by many systems, the Indian monk Bodiharma (Daruma) traveled from India to China to teach the existing dynasty the tenets of Zen Buddhism. It is imperative to understand the extent of Daruma’s mental and physical development for which he was renowned. After spreading the tenets of Buddhism, Daruma remained in Southern China teaching spiritual concepts to the Chinese. In addition, he became famous for his uncompromising adherence to strict mental and physical training.

Even though there are stylistic similarities in the fighting arts of both India and China, there is no substantive evidence that the Chinese fighting arts derived from India. Daruma was intent on teaching the rigorous, monastic lifestyle demanded of all monks. Because of the ascetic and severe training demanded of all Shaolin monks, they were widely regarded and respected for their skill in combat.

Fighting Monks



Most of the Chan Fa systems of China descend from the 170 hand and foot postures of the Ch’Uen Yuan. Hence, Chuan Fa evolved into 9 external, and 6 internal schools of fighting. The nine external schools were: Shaolin Chan Fa, Hung Chuan, Tau Tei Yu Tan Tui, Hon Chuan, Erh-Lang Men, Fan Chuan, Cha Chuan, Mi Tsung Yum, and Pa Chuan. The six internal schools include: Wu Tang Pai, Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua Chuan, Hsin Yi Chua, Tzu Fan Men, and Liu He Pa Fa. The different schools emphasized distinct aspects of martial training and conditioning.

Goju-Ryu in Okinawa

It has been commonly accepted that Okinawa-the main island of the Ryukyu Island chain between Japan and Taiwan-had interaction with China for centuries. Cultural and artistic exchanges were common among both countries. The indigenous fighting arts of this island were also heavily influenced by the Chinese fighting arts. The first of these Okinawa-systems was called Te, meaning hand. This system was later renamed Toudi or Toudijutsu-China hand art. The Japanese also called this system Kempo-fist way. Within the traditions of Okinawa, three main schools developed before the advent of Karate in Japan; these three schools were: Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te. Eventually, these systems further evolved into what is known presently as Goju-Ryu, and Shorin-Ryu. The people of Okinawa were known for their tenacity, bravery, and adherence to tradition. Their martial arts tradition exemplifies their commitment to honor.

Even though there are stylistic similarities in the fighting arts of both India and China, there is no substantive evidence that the Chinese fighting arts derived from India. Daruma was intent on teaching the rigorous, monastic lifestyle demanded of all monks. Because of the ascetic and severe training demanded of all Shaolin monks, they were widely regarded and respected for their skill in combat.

Goju-Ryu in Japan

In 1917, a teacher from Okinawa-Gichin Funakoshi is credited with introducing Okinawa-martial arts to the Japanese. He named his system, Shotokan. Although the Japanese had practiced Sumo and Jiu-Jitsu for centuries, Karate was in its infancy stages. I want to mention here that term Karate was not widely used until the 1930’s, but prior to Funakoshi’s arrival in Japan, an Okinawa-master Chomo Hanagi had first used the term Karate in 1905. Miyagi Sensei is credited with bringing Goju-Ryu to Japan as an official combat art.

Goju-Ryu Karate

Goju-Ryu-hard/soft system-has its origins in Chinese martial arts. For the purposes of our specific lineage, the journey commences with Kanryo Higaonna. Higaonna Sensei was born in 1853 in Okinawa. As a teenager, he traveled to Fuzhou (Fugian), China and began his studies with Ryu Ryu Ko-Xie Zhongxiang. Although the exact identity of his training under Ryu Ryu Ko is speculative, it is believed that he trained in the White Crane (Bai He) system. The White Crane system that was practiced after the 17th century was heavily influenced by the Monk Fist and Black Tiger systems and was probably the foundation of Ryu Ryu Ko’s knowledge of martial arts. As Ryu Ryu Ko’s uchi-deshi, Higaonna Sensei received the inner teachings of the entire system, including weapons and traditional Chinese medicine.

After years of arduous training, Higaonna Sensei returned to Okinawa in 1881. During that time, he developed a reputation for his training methods, swift kicking, and gracefulness. It is not clear, however, when Higaonna Sensei actually began teaching students. In 1905, Higaonna Sensei began teaching the art he had learned from Ryu Ryu Ko at the Naha Kuritsu Shogyo Koto Gakko, a public high school in Okinawa. His attention to details, in addition to his commitment to excellence permeated his love of teaching. His most notable students include Chojun Miyagi---founder of Goju-Ryu, and Kenwa Mabuni---founder of Shito-Ryu. Higaonna Sensei continued to propagate and research Naha-te until his death in 1915.

Chojun Miyagi Sensei, one of Higaonna Sensei’s top disciples, was born in 1888 in Okinawa. In 1899, he began his formal training under Ryuko Aragaki. Three years later, in 1902, he was introduced to Higaonna Sensei for formal instruction. Miyagi Sensei came from a wealthy family involved in the pharmaceutical business. After three years of formal instruction from Higaonna Sensei, he traveled to China to pay his respects to his predecessor’s teacher, Ryu Ryu Ko. This is one of his two trips to China for research. The first tenure lasted approximately two months, the latter was more fruitful. In 1921, Miyagi Sensei performed the Naha-te style for crown prince Hirohito. Five years later, in 1926, he along with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Choyu Motobu (Tomari-te), and Kenwa Mabuni founded the Okinawa Karate Kenkyu-Kai-Okinawa Karate Research Club. Three years later, in 1929, he was supposed to attend a martial arts symposium in Kyoto, Japan. Miyagi Sensei could not attend the function. In his place, he sent Master Shinsato to the function. Having no formal name for Naha-te, Shinsato called the art Hanko-Ryu-half-hard style.

In 1933, he renamed the system to Goju-Ryu Karate—taken from the poem titled Bubishi-“Everything in the universe is breathing hard and soft” That same year, Karate was formally accepted to the Dai Nippon Butokukai—All Japan Martial Arts Association. A year later, in 1934, he demonstrated Goju-Ryu in Hawaii. Two years later, Miyagi Sensei, along with Okinawa-masters—Chomo Hanashiro, Chotoku Kyan, Choki Motobu, Chosin Chibana, and Juhatsu Kiyoda officially changed the name of the art from Toudijutsu to Karate-do. In 1940, Miyagi Sensei created one of his crown jewels-Geki-Sai Dai Ichi and Geki-Sai Dai Ni. He died in 1953.

Goju-Ryu in America

Sensei, enlisted in the United States Navy. While stationed in Japan, Urban Sensei began his studies of Goju-Ryu under the direction of Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei-the cat He spent the next 7 years training under the direction of Japan’s greatest Karate-ka Yamaguchi Sensei, Masutatsu Oyama Sensei, and Richard Kim Sensei, respectively. After his discharge, Urban Sensei left Japan, and in 1959 opened his first studio in Union City, New Jersey. In 1967, he left the Japanese and incorporated USA Goju-Ryu. He has trained or supervised some the United States greatest Karate practitioners, and has been instrumental in the development of a myriad of GojuRyu organizations. Some of these organizations are among the largest and most respected in the world. He is singularly responsible for propagating Goju-Ryu in the United States.

Sekai Seito Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai

Sekai Seito Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai/World Orthodox Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Organization (WOGKO), formerly Neko-Do Goju-Ryu, was founded in 1987 by Dr. J.M.Gallego Kaicho. In 1969, Gallego Sensei began his martial arts studies in Union City, New Jersey. He first studied the discipline of Judo under Orlando Mesa Sensei. Shortly thereafter, seeking proficiency in diverse fighting principles, he began to practice the combat arts. This led him to martial arts legend, Yoshisada Yonezuka in Cranford, New Jersey. He later apprenticed in Goju-Ryu under the direction of Peter G. Urban Sensei. Since 1997, Dr. Gallego has been steadily evolving, refining, and researching authentic Okinawan Goju-Ryu. This led him to standardize his curriculum including kihon, kumite, and kata to align the organization with mainstream, classical Goju-Ryu. By 2005, the evolution was complete. Today, the WOGKO has branches in North America, the Caribbean, Russia, India, and Middle East respectively. The WOGKO is affiliated with the World Traditional Karate-Do Union. Our mission is to continue to research authentic Karate-Do, but to remain devoid of external control. We are a large organization that will not affiliate with the Renmei, or with the JKF. The WOGKO is committed to learning, teaching, and technical excellence. Kaicho continues to research technical aspects of Goju-Ryu, self-defense, bunkai, and methodology. He has seven earned university degrees, and three honorary doctorates.


The WOGKO continues to expand into other parts of the world. Our system in not commercial; hence, many of our affiliates cater to the impoverished and disadvantaged segments of society. We continue to work closely with other traditional organizations to better serve the needs of the modern practitioner.



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Sekai Seito Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai, 2010