What is Karate?
In Japanese "kara" means empty and "te" means hand. Therefore, karate translates as “empty hand”, the art of self defense without a weapon. Through the IOGKF you will learn a dynamic and powerful martial art. You will learn how, through correct breathing, coordination of your own body and concentration, tremendous power can be achieved. You will gain mastery over your body which will help you in self-defense situations in your everyday life. However, karate is much more than just the physical aspect. It is a complete discipline involving kokoro, the heart or spirit, and karada the physical body. Through the training of the body, we can discipline the mind and temper the spirit. The most important purpose of karate is to develop balance within ourselves so that we may express our true nature and become better human beings.
There are many schools of karate, all which can trace their origins back to the island of Okinawa, Japan. However, originally there existed only three styles, each of which were names after the city from which it originated. These are: Tomari-te, Shuri-te and Naha-te. The Tomari-te and Shuri-te styles were unified to form one school known as Shorin-Ryu while Naha-te remained in its true form and became known as Goju-Ryu.
The meaning of Goju-Ryu
According to oriental philosophy, to achieve harmony and order in the world, everything must express a balanced nature. So there is night and day, fire and water and so on. The founder of our style, Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi chose the name Goju-Ryu based on the precepts from the Chinese martial arts. Go means hard or resilient; ju means soft or yielding. Therefore, Goju-Ryu translates as the hard-soft school. This refers specifically to both the technical characteristics of our style and to its underlying philosophy.
For the Kids
Karate teaches us strength, courage and self control. We become strong by training both our minds and our bodies. If we are respectful to our parents and pay attention to our teachers, our minds will grow and become strong. We become courageous by being kind to other people and respecting one another's differences. We can also become more courageous by admitting our mistakes – even when we are afraid to do so. True warriors or “karate-ka” never allow themselves to be provoked into violence. We must always try our very best to walk away from a fight. By keeping our karate training for ourselves, we learn self control.