CHOJUN MIYAGI SENSEI
Miyagi Chojun Sensei was born in Naha on April 25, 1888. His family belonged to the upper class, and were involved in the medical trade, his was one of the wealthiest families in Naha. At 5 he was named successor of the main family, even though he was his father's first son.
When Miyagi Sensei was 11 years old, his mother took him to a Karate master named Aragaki Ryuko. At the dojo of Aragaki Sensei, he trained mainly on makiwara, chishi, and nagiri-game, which were used to strengthen and develop the muscles. Later he introduced the young Miyagi to Higaona Sensei. Higaona was also not keen on accepting new students without a demonstration of character and personality. It was only after the person's behaviour had convinced him, that he would take the steps to train him. After watching the young Miyagi carrying out all of the chores around the house, Higaona Sensei decided to have him as a personal disciple, and started to teach him his art.
Miyagi Sensei's training was not confined just to the dojo. He ran every day from his High School, where he had enrolled previously, and a few times he was seen at the harbour as well. Miyagi did a lot of body conditioning before he went to Higaona's dojo, but still found the training extremely hard and demanding. Higaona's training was exhaustive, and Miyagi would pass out many an evening.
Although the training was very hard, Miyagi was enthusiastic about his karate, and Higaona Sensei was already thinking of him as his successor.Both were already working on the practice of kata and on the improvement of Naha-te. They stayed together for 15 years until the death of Higaona in October of 1916. In the same year, Miyagi Sensei visited Fukien in China and travelled to the house where Master Higaona once lived. Because of the revolutionary war, most Martial Artists escaped to Singapore and Malaysia, never came back, and remained underground. Back in Okinawa, Miyagi dedicated his time to the "development" of Tensho, for many his "master piece" Later he also created the katas Gekisai Ich and Ni.
Training by himself now, Miyagi decided to approach his karate in a more "natural" way. He worked out in the forests and on the beach, sometimes he even practised in the snow for long periods of time, as to bring his karate closer to nature.
Miyagi spent most of his time practising karate, and studying everything that could be related to Martial Arts, and had very interesting experiences while doing it. In 1921, he performed the Art of Naha-te in front of the then crown Prince Hirohito. The Prince was most impressed for what he saw, and couldn't believe such Art was coming from such a tiny island in Okinawa. Miyagi Sensei thought of organising Okinawan Karate, in order to preserve this Art as a cultural inheritance of the Okinawans, and set up a Club called Karate Research Club in Wakasa-cho, Naha.
The Club was also visited by other Masters of Karate, including Sensei Kenwa Mabuni, Hanashiro Chomo and Motosu Chobu whom took turns in the teaching curricula.Some years later, and after Jigoro Kano the founder of Judo visited Okinawa, Miyagi was invited to perform at the Butoku-sai tournament in Japan.This performance gave Miyagi Sensei the opportunity to spread the qualities of Okinawan Karate, in many Martial Arts circles, and was always invited to the Budo Tournaments sponsored by the Japanese government.
Miyagi Sensei named his art Goju Ryu, meaning "hard and soft", after the precepts of traditional Chinese kempo, which are found in the document called "Bubishi". He was the first Karate master to actually name his School, and he was recognised by the Butokukai as a registered founder of a "Ryu".
He spent all his life promoting and developing Goju Ryu, and improving scientific methods of exercise. He only stopped teaching during the war,and in 1946 he opened up a karate school in his backyard. Karate was rapidly spreading through Japan and for a while Miyagi taught in the Kansai area or Western Japan.Throughout the world, he is now highly respected and he's known as the "father of Goju Ryu". In Okinawa he became "Bushi Magusuku" which means "Gentleman warrior"
He passed away in 1953