Aims and Objectives
At the Goju-Ryu Martial Arts Academy (GMAA), you will experience training in traditional Goju-Ryu Karate-Do self-Defence. The instructors take great care of all members in a manner that is fair to all and seek to promote openness and compassion through the art of Goju-Ryu. There is the opportunity to attend seminars (gasshukus), competitions and the opportunity to travel, including Okinawa, for training(when covid is under control).
As a member of the GMAA, you are expected to abide by the following rules;
- Train within the traditional format taught, respect senior grades and their decisions.
- Keep to training times laid down as lateness in arriving to training can inconvenience all.
- Wear a suitably clean, tidy Karate uniform (gi), correctly coloured belt and Goju-Ryu kenkon patch.
- Refrain from physical or verbal abuse, which will not be tolerated at any time.
- Pay promptly the appropriate fees for membership, training and grading.
There is a fixed etiquette in training which if followed carefully will significantly reduce the injury risks of training in a contact activity. The instructors have strict guidelines concerning coaching and safety is most important as this is a very practical self-defence system.
The preliminary warm-up exercises which we use today in Goju-Ryu were systematically developed by Master Miyagi to benefit training in Goju-Ryu. The full warm-up routine not only serves to limber up the muscles but also provides a basis for improving our karate techniques. Our warm-up routine is designed with the needs of the human body placed foremost. Strenuous karate training without warming up can lead to damage of the muscle tissue and ligaments. We have the added benefit that the stretching and breathing exercises greatly enhance the well-being of the body and all the major internal organs, as well as improving blood circulation.
Before training the student meditates (Mokuso). Sitting quietly, eyes closed, breathing deeply into the lower abdomen (tanden). The mind should be cleared in preparation for the training to come, warming up the mind before warming the body. After training the student again meditates, breathing deeply, calming the mind and relaxing the body once more.
We traditionally begin by warming the limbs and larger muscles furthest from the heart. This is done by beginning with the toes and ankles in stretching, then progressing to the knees, muscles of the lower and upper leg and then hips.
Several stretching breathing exercises can now be performed as we work the back area in all directions, following on to the shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists and fingers. Finally, to finish, the neck and head are moved through a full range of movement. Exercises for physical strength and stamina, such as press-ups, abdominal exercises, squat thrusts etc. can then follow, once the body is thoroughly warmed.
Students must be careful to exhale and inhale correctly during all exercises, using the tanden point, consciously being aware of balance and inner calm. For many health reasons, doing the preliminary exercises before starting the formal karate training is important. Students should be aware of the routine used by instructors, since it will be based upon that designed by Master Miyagi and is proven to be a suitable preliminary exercise for Goju-Ryu karate.
The Meaning of Goju-Ryu
The philosophy of Goju-Ryu is one of balance and harmony, this is similar to that of Asian philosophy. The founder of our style, Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi, created Goju-Ryu by following similar precepts found in the Chinese martial arts. “Go” means to be hard or resilient, while “Ju” means to be soft or yielding. In this way, Goju-Ryu is the school of “hard/soft.” While this philosophy applies to the technical and physical aspects of Goju-Ryu, it is also the underlying feeling. In the study of Goju-Ryu, we hope to attain balance and harmony not only in our practice, but also in our mind, body, and spirit.