The style we practiced was called GO JU RYU. The meaning of the word is Hard and Soft way. There is an interesting story behind the name of the style. This style originated in the Okinawa Island in Japan and invented by Kanryo Higoshionna. He started learning monk fist boxing at 1867 when he was at age of around 11 and then he learned various martial arts. He went to china for learning more and trained there under various masters and returned to Okinawa at 1882 and continued his family business. He then started a new school of martial arts intergrating Go and Ju type into one system (GO – hard, JU – Soft). His style was known as Naha- te. The ultimate aim of the style was to kill the opponent. He also designed a complementary art which is Karate whose ultimate aim is to achieve physical, intellectual and moral education.
One of his important students was Chojun Miyagi. He followed the teachings and philosophy of Higoshionna and called his martial as “Higoshionna’s Way”. In 1929 All Japan Martial arts Demonstration held and in that instead of Miyagi his friend and colleague Shinsato represented the style. When all others named their style, Shinsato felt embarrassed and all of a sudden he named it Hanko-ryu (Half hard style). He told the whole conversation to Miyagi on return and Miyagi renamed the style as Go-ju-ryu. Thus the title Go-ju-ryu was born. Another interesting thing is the term go-ju-ryu is taken or inspired from a poem lines which said, “Inhale hard and exhale soft”. As a base of this even there is a regular practice of hard inhaling and soft exhaling in practice session.
Every style is distinguished by its Kata. In the same way Go-ju-ryu also had 12 Katas, but at our initial stages of training we were not exposed to it as it required more discipline and hard work. In the beginning stages we all practice the Katas of Shotokan and Shito-ryu (please don’t ask me the meaning of those, really I don’t know. What I know was it is just the name of another Karate Style). The basic Kata started was called “junino”or “Pattern”, still I wondered why it is called so nor the meaning of it. I consulted these terms with a friend of mine named Keisakura Ninjin, who told that these aren’t really Japanese terms and has no meaning (And we practiced Japanese Martial Art). The Junino is called as I shaped kata as the movement in the diagram shows the symbol of capitol I, but in reality it gives you a symbol of reverse C.
We were all never taught any Go-ju-ryu katas till we reached our brown belt degree. Before that the Katas taught were started of from Junino, Pina Needan, Pina Chodan, Pina Chandan, Yondhan, Godan. Of course and we were all mastered it at that time to reach the senior level of Brown belt. Started with Yellow, Green i, Green ii, Blue i, Blue ii and then Brown. Even Brown had three stages and then comes the true honour of holding the Black belt. It was a dream for all of us. Till this stage the readers may have wondered the usage of We, I have been varying enigmatically. The answer is simple, I use “we” to show that experience of all the students at my dojo at the same time and the usage of I to show my personal experience.
In my first grading exam for Yellow belt, I got the best candidate. Although it is not an award to be said as an achievement, it was the kindle to the further explorations of the sport and art. The first impression is the best impression, it not only suits to others but to us too. If you failed in your first attempt you won’t have the courage for the second attempt, but if you failed in second rather than first you will have the courage. It may also be known as beginner’s luck. For further step the luck won’t help you and all that need is the perseverance and thanks to Paulo Coelho.