Morio Higaonna was born 25th December 1938, he began training in karate when he was fourteen. He studied Shorin-Ryu with his father, he was also training with a friend Tsunetaka Shimabukuro another Shorin-Ryu stylist. At the age of sixteen he began to train in the Goju-ryu style on the recommendation of Shimabukuro Sensei. The year was 1955 and the young Higaonna was training in the garden dojo of the late Chojun Miyagi Sensei, his instructor was Anichi Miyagi Sensei.

At that time the training regime was very tough and Higaonna Sensei tells us of the countless times he would practice Kata or Kakie training with many different opponents until he could no longer move his arms. Anyone who has trained in Okinawa will know that due to the climate this requires tremendous effort.

In 1957 the garden dojo moved to a permanent building, this was called the Jundokan, he continued his training there, training up to five hours every day. After his instructor Anichi Miyagi Sensei moved away to work on an American oil tanker Higaonna Sensei gained a place at the Takushoku University in Tokyo, it was around this time that the first official Dan grading was organised, Higaonna Sensei was awarded 3rd Dan, the year was 1960. It was in Tokyo that Higaonna Sensei taught at the famous Yoyogi dojo. Many thousands of students passed through this dojo, some of the more notable were Sensei's Ogawa, Todano and Terauchi and from the west Ernest Brenech, James Rousseau, Bakies Laubscher and from Shotokan Karate Terry O'Niel.

During the late sixties and early seventies Higaonna Sensei begun to travel to several of the countries that were practicing Okinawa Goju-ryu, he was invited to perform a demonstration at the World karate Championships in Paris in 1972 and his reputation as one of the strongest Goju-ryu practitioners in the world was growing. In 1979 in Poole, England with the help of his senior international instructors the IOGKF was set up.

From that time to this Higaonna Sensei has maintained his own strict training regime and continues to research the original Kata and training methods of Goju-ryu, he still consults the advice of his instructor Anichi Miyagi Sensei and other senior IOGKF advisors.

Anyone who has ever met Higaonna Sensei will not only be impressed by his karate ability but also by his humility and good natured personality. It leaves you with the feeling of having met a true master of karate.

Courtesy of the IOGKF

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