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Goju-Kai, is the style of Tode practised in Naha-te. It was established by Sensei Chojun Miyagi who was a disciple of Kanryo Higaonna Sensei, the master of Naha-te. At the age of 16, Chojun Miyagi Sensei went to China and studied Karate under many renowned Karate masters. He also studied other martial arts styles and old Chinese literature, named “Bubishi”. Goju-Ryu Karate-Do was established through a combination of all the techniques he acquired along with his ideas.

Goju-Ryu is named after a line from the "Bubishi” which he has high regards for. Throughout his development of Goju-Ryu, he revised older training methods into a rational program of Kihon-kata, and Kaishu-kata. In 1927, Takeo Maruta, a carpenter and Goju-Ryu practitioner from Okinawa introduced his student Jitsumi Yamaguchi to Ryuso Chojun Miyagi. Prior to this meeting, Chojun Miyagi only trained the “hard” aspect of Goju under Murata.


Through the meeting, Yamaguchi became aware of the need to train on the “soft” spiritual side. Miyagi thought highly of Yamaguchi and gave him the nickname “Gogen”, meaning rough. It was during this period when Miyagi appointed Yamaguchi as his successor of the Goju school in Mainland, Japan. 


 “Do not strike others, and do not allow others to strike you. The goal is peace without incident.”

“One must polish their character and become one with nature, to understand true Karate”

- Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953)

Just like the key teachings of Karate from Okinawa, Goju-Ryu emphasises on peace and character building of its practitioners. It’s aim is not merely on improving physicality, but in building strong mental strength, willpower, spirit and character; kindness and mindfulness. 



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According to Goju-Kai's spirit, all existence consists of Go, or hardness, which becomes positive and Ju, or softness which becomes negative. During a fight, Go becomes one's offence and Ju becomes one's defence for protecting our safety. Mixing Go and Ju leads to a tranquil mental state to prevent fighting.

As Goju-ryu originated in the southern part of China where boats are a common means for transportation, it created the stance now as Sanchin-dachi. This stance were initially developed to help people maintain balance and move about on the boat without having their feet leave the ground. This necessity also formulated the nature of circular feet movement where one glides the feet to move from one stance to another.

This curved motion characteristic, known as “Muchimi”, presents itself in all facets of Goju-Ryu. Blocks are done in this Muchimi motion as a soft approach to redirect attacks to another direction without using force. This method is believed to reduce the impact shock of an attack, allowing any practitioner to defend themselves against even opponents larger size than them.

On top of Muchimi, Goju-Ryu emphasises on the Kisoku no Donto which believes in training our inner mind and body. This is achieved from a deep breathing method seen in many of the Kihon kata, Sanchin and Tensho

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In 1965, late Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi formed IKGA to help bring Gojuryu Karatedo to the world.  Under his leadership IKGA flourished with thousands of members worldwide. After the passing of Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi in 1989, the baton was passed onto his third son, Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi who was born in 1942 and began practicing Karate-do at the age of eight.

Since its beginning, IKGA now has become a world-wide organization that spans over 60 countries and regions. It can be found in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Oceania. Saiko Shihan travels regularly to each regions to teach the highest level of Goju-Ryu Karate-Do to instructors. An IKGA World Championship is held every 4 years, to bring the IKGA countries together.


Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi was born on 20 January 1909, in Kagoshima city southern Kyushu. He established his first Karate-Do dojo in Kyoto in 1929. In 1930, Shihan Yamaguchi led the establishment of a Karate-Do club at Ritsumeikan University. It was during this period that Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi created the first stages towards what is now known as Jiyu Kumite (free sparring) and established rules for winning a match. During his time as president, he spent a great amount of time united both aspects of Go (Hard) and Ju (Soft) into a concerted union.

Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi passed away at the age of 81 years old as a 10th Dan Black Belt (awarded by Miyagi) in 1989 and handed the legacy of Goju-Kai to his third son Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi.

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Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi

10th Dan


Goshi Yamaguchi, third son of Kaiso (the Founder) Master Gogen Yamaguchi, was born in 1942. At the age of eight, he began practicing karate-do at Senzoku Doju in Asakusa. and received the 1st dan in 1957 and the 2nd dan in 1959. In 1962 he became a 3rd dan holder and an instructor.

He entered Nihon University in 1963, majoring in cinema studies in the Department of Arts. While he was a student, he had an opportunity to teach karate-do at an American branch dojo for a year.


After he came back to Japan, he taught in various Goju-ryu dojo. He graduated from the university in 1969, when he became full time shihan in the head dojo with a view to promote and develop Goju-ryu Karate-do. He has visited and taught in more than 40 countries in the world thus far. In 1990, he was appointed as the president and Saiko Shihan (Grand Master) of All Japan Karate-do Goju-kai Association and International Karate-do Goju-Kai Association.

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Current president /

Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi

8th Dan Hanshi

(Shuyo kun)

Trust, honour, respect, integrity, truthfulness, humility and honesty are fundamental to the practice of Goju Kai karate. These values are incorporated within the traditional virtues of IKGA ("Dojo Kun") as follows :


We the students of Goju Ryu, aspire to these virtues:

- We are proud to study the way of Goju.

- We are courteous in manners.

- We strive to be humble but strong.

- We cultivate understanding and foster the spirit of cooperation.

- We respect the ideals of honor and loyalty.

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