Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) was the founder of the Goju-ryu style, "The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness." Go means hard and Ju means soft. Since his style was a combination of these ideals it became known as Goju Ryu 'hard soft way'. In Goju-ryu much emphasis is placed on combining soft circular blocking techniques with quick strong counter attacks delivered in rapid succession.

Chojun Miyagi was born in Naha City, Okinawa on April 25th, 1888. He began training in karate under Kanryo Higa'shi'onna in 1902. Because of his great natural talent and fierce determination, he progressed very rapidly. Training was very severe, with a lot of running and strength exercises. It is said that he sometimes passed out performing Sanchin kata, so demanding was Sensei Higaonna on his student's performance. He studied with his teacher for 14 years before his teacher's death in 1915.

Chojun Miyagi

In 1915 he journeyed to Fuzhou, China, the city where his teacher had studied the martial arts, to further his own research. This was one of three trips he made to China during his lifetime. On his return to Okinawa, he began to teach the martial arts at his home in Naha. Later, he also taught at the Okinawan Prefecture Police Training Center, at the Okinawan Master's Training College, and at the Naha Commercial High School.

In 1921, he was chosen to represent Naha-te in a presentation to the visiting crown prince Hirohito, and gave an impressive performance. He repeated this in 1925 for prince Chichibu. He began to visualize the future of the Okinawan fighting arts, and in 1926, at the age of 38, set up the Karate Research Club, along with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Kenwa Mabuni (Shito Ryu) and Choki Motobu, spending the next 3 years training in basics, kata, fitness and philosophy. Chojun Miyagi dedicated his whole life to karate. Every waking moment was spent in pursuit of the art, always remaining vigilante to his surroundings, always planning and ready for whatever might occur.

The teaching system, which he formulated, enabled karate to be taught in schools for the benefit of the young people, and to reach vast numbers of people throughout the world. However, his private teaching at his home remained strictly in adherence to the principles and traditions of the teacher, Kanryo Higa'shi'onna, and his teacher before him Ryu Ryu Ko.

In 1931, Goju-ryu Karate-Do was officially registered in the Butokukai, the center for all martial arts of Japan. This was a milestone for karate as it meant that it was recognized on a level with the highly respected martial arts of Japan. Chojun Miyagi died on October 8th, 1953, of either a heart attack or a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 65.

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