By very the nature of Zen-Buddhism's
influence on Karate, Karate-do established itself in Okinawa as
'unique' compared to other forms of Martial Arts. During turbulent,
feudal times of Asian history, other Martial Arts carried out
the chief aim of mortally injuring and maiming as many enemies
In contrast, 'Karate' was developed as spiritual art form, whose
goal extended beyond self-defence, to the ultimate goal of peace.
"A kind heart shows a person's true strength."
--Ikemiyagi Masaaki Hanshi
Karate philosophy emphasized teachings that true strength and
character came through the demonstration of compassion towards
others, self-discipline, meditation, and appreciation of the spirit.
Yet despite notions of enlightenment, Karate training comprised
superior defensive techniques, and throughout Okinawa's oppressive
times under foreign rule, such techniques necessitated training
in superior offensive situations.
Today, Goju Kai Karate is well-regarded as one of the most effective
self-defence systems in the world. It utilizes directed blows
of the hands and feet, accompanied by special breathing techniques
and energy channelling shouts, which are dealt from solid, poised
positions. The Traditional Masters of Goju Kai Karate are regarded
as, 'Kanryo Higaonna, Chojun Miyagi, and Sensei Gogen Yamaguchi'.
Upon the onset of the 1600's, under rule of the King of Tokagawa,
Japanese feudal lords, or the 'Shogunate', invaded and conquered
the Island of Okinawa in an occupation which would last the next
270 years. To prevent any further peasantry uprisings, the Shogunate
proceeded to outlaw the use of all weapons throughout the Ryukyu
Islands. This encouraged the Okinawans to develop and refine empty-hand
self-defence techniques, which were trained in secret and passed
down as an integral part of Okinawan cultural heritage, from generation-to-generation,
Evidence of how extremely close
Karate was kept to Okinawa was demonstrated by the fact that Karate
training was not formally introduced to the Japanese public until
1922, by Funakoski Gichin. Karate is now chiefly associated with
Japan, embraced by the country as part of its cultural history.
However, the secret origins of Karate's highly effective fighting
style can be said to extend much further back in time than its
ultimate home in Japan, or even the Island of Okinawa for that
matter. The founding hallmarks of Karate's deepest roots and most
powerful fighting techniques can be traced to influences from
old and ancient fighting styles, such as Indian-Hindu Kalaripayat,
Chinese Wai Chia, Whit Crane Wushu, Buddhist Shaolin Kempo and
Naha-te, in what is essentially, an ongoing Martial Arts ancestry
which has been handed down through history, from teacher-to-student,
for more than 1000 years...