The GoJu thread
In which GoJu karate and it's different schools and derivatives will be discussed.
As well as such issues as:
Kata's - the good and the bad
Sparring - Why does most of the GoJu sparring I see on YouTube suck so bad????
A little about my GoJu. I don't actually study GoJu karate I study GoJu - Jitsu which is a blend of GoJu karate, Judo, some shoot wrestling and Trad JJ with an emphasis on Sport Ju Jitsu style randori / sparring.
As far as the Karate aspect goes it's pared down quite a bit from white to black there's only 7 katas to be learned. and we try to spar or grapple for at least 20 minutes in a class (not counting the sparring and grappling classes.)
We do however learn the various traditional strikes and self defense techniques as well as the traditions and history fo GoJu and karate in General.
Anyways what are other GoJu practitioners thoughts on the art?
When I started to look around the Internets and various sites like gojuryu.net and youtube I was kind of disappointed in what I read and saw as a lot of it seems very different from what I learn (different in a bad McDojo way)
It's weird. Even with my own style, there are many, many differences I see online. I see funky McDojo-esque and Bullshido-esque things, but I can't speak for them at all. I can only tell you what I learned and my experiences.
First off, this is the explanation of the system I wrote up recently for a student handbook.
The Shaolin Goju system is based on the concept of hard (go) and soft (ju) movements, always in harmony, with each equalizing the other. The art combines traditional Okinawan techniques with Chinese principles. The Okinawan style concentrates on hard, linear movements, while the soft Chinese style concentrates upon circular movements, using momentum and motion rather than strength. The Shaolin Goju system covers long and close range striking, trapping, throwing, holds, locks, takedowns, chokes, and grappling.
Shaolin Goju has a traditional foundation, but it is always evolving and will always remain modern. It gives the student a base from which to build, but allows them to tailor a fighting style that fits their personality and body type. Each individual is unique and must be comfortable and confident in how they move in a self defense situation.
As a baseline, I was taught all the traditional okinawan hard blocks, and then moved into the more realistic soft blocks.
We had 4 belts before black; white, yellow, green, brown.
We learned kata, but didn't spend a lot of time on them, and only learned a handful.
We learned everything. History, terms, stances, blocks, falls, strikes, kicks (from basic, spins, and jump spins), wrist locks (4), wrist throws, judo throws/takedowns (13), grappling positions (7), grappling submissions/locks (10), and chokes (basics and gi) (10).
We also did breaking, self-defense, and a lot of sparring and rolling.
My black belt test was a saturday afternoon. They wore our butts out with running and exercises (about 1.5 hours), and then we fought for like 3 hours.
IOGKF goju ryu
Lots of basics. Kata, bunkai, kakiei, conditioning, some sparring, a little ground work. I really enjoyed it though. My thoughts regarding the IOGKF are that they spend too much time on the basics and not enough on sparring. I think they fear that point fighting will reduce the effectiveness and the goals of goju ryu. They had (maybe they still do) occasional full contact competitions with gloves and head gear called "iri kumi go" but i haven't heard about it in some time.
jundokan Goju Ryu.
Schools's formerly IOGKF, but they had a bit of a falling out with Higaonna a while back.
As for more formal classes - basics basics basics & kata. Bunkai for those who've been there a while. Conditioning and a little sparring for senior students. The dan do what ever, but obviously fancy stufff.
Informal classes - what ever floats the instructors boat. Plenty of bunkai, conditioning and so on. bit of kata. Bagwork, focus mitt drills. Plenty of sanchin.
They don't do kumite, but irikumi. In other words, its just fancy wording to trick the insurance brokers. They see kumite and go nuts and insist on protective gear. Tell them its irikumi and no-ones the wiser.
That being said, there's never been any mention of recent competition although some of the dans competed over 10 years ago.
I am not a GoJu practitioner but have had met a few over the years including one who had solid experience in Goju as well as Thai boxing. For whats it worth
this GoJu - Jitsu sounds very focused on Shinken gata(real combat form) principles which is pretty good in terms of any Training methodology.
Not sure how it all fits historically, but my teacher is in the Lou Angel lineage. he and his brothers were high-school wrestlers and studied BJJ, so takedowns and defenses on the ground are included in the curriculum, as are some of the basic drills, but it's mostly just good old hard-soft karate. I've been in 3 years, just earned my brown belt this summer. My left jaw and ear were purple for a week.
Edit: I guess I didn't adress trianing methodology or Kata.
As for Kata, we probably don't focus on it as heavily as other schools. I've heard that there are twelve or so at most traditional schools. Our sylllabus has changed a bit since I started, I think we were originaly going to be taught 4 kata but I think that's jumped to 6.
So far we've learned Sanchin, Seyunchin, a bo kata and we're into Sanseru now.
Classes lately start with a warm-up of 25 reps from each side of a couple of combinations, then bag work for a few minutes, then skills drills intermixed with exercises like pushups, situps, shrimping drills, an unweighted Turkish get-up kind of thing, etc, etc. Right about the time I feel like passing out, we spar. It's usually about 80%, throws and ground included.
I haven't done any Goju, but it is a big part of Kyokushin. I've heard that some of the Goju spar as hard as Kyokushin. That said, back in my youth Shotokan sparred as hard as KK, at least in Kenneth Funakoshi's dojo.
I think we spar as hard as KK, however we wear more (more than nothing) safety equipment.
I studied Dragon Goju Karate, it was very kung-fu-esque. Allot of eyes, throats and groin shots except in sparring which was up there with some of the KK schools I've seen. Not much of a ground game, and the katas I learn were all short-form and self-defense focused. The history was kinda cool, it was derived from Dragon Kung-fu. The trapping, locking & breaking drills were pretty tight.
i just started to cross train in goju. so i dont know much about it but i like the focus on conditioning the body outside the dojo with additional weights training etc it makes sense to me. as for sparring i cant say i have never sparred in goju but i think people jump into sparing way to early anywasy these days. why would you want to fight if you cant properly use the strikes and blocks yet???
would be neat if the place i go to does full contact i wanna try it :D