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History of Meibukan Gojyu Karate

The history of Gojyu-Ryu begins in the mid eighteen hundreds with Kanryo Higaonna. Kanryo Higaonna traveled to China to study kempo and returned to Okinawa to integrate it into the Okinawa art of Naha-te.

The founder of the Gojyu Ryu karate, Miyagi Chojun Sensei, was a student of Kanryo Higaonna Sensei. At the age of 14, Miyagi Chojun Sensei met Kanryo Higaonna Sensei. They spent thirteen years together until Kanryo Higaonna Sensei passed away in 1916.  In addition to his personal training and development of Naha-te, Miyagi Chojun Sensei spent a great deal of his time promoting the art. In 1921, he performed a demonstration of Naha-te in Okinawa for the visiting Prince Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, and in 1925 for Prince Chichibu. Miyagi Chojun Sensei had already envisioned the development of Naha-te not only in Japan but also around the world. It became increasingly important to organize and unify Okinawa karate as a cultural treasure to be passed on to future generations. In 1926, Miyagi Chojun Sensei established the Karate Research Association in Wakas-Cho.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei chose to name the style that he was promoting. It became known as Gojyu Ryu Karate, meaning hard and soft, taken from the precepts of traditional Chinese Kenpo. He was the first among different schools of karate to name his art and in 1933 his art of Gojyu Ryu was formally registered at the Butoku-kai, Japanese Martial Arts Association.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei chose the name Gojyu Ryu from the Eight Precepts of traditional Chinese Kenpo found in the document Bubishi. The precepts are:

  1. The mind is one with heaven and earth.

  2. The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.

  3. The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.

  4. Act in accordance with time and change.

  5. Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.

  6. The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.

  7. The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.

  8. The ears listen well in all directions.


Chojun Miyagi’s last writings from
"An Outline of Karate"

"Do not be struck by others.

Do not strike others.

The principle is peace without incident."

​These eight precepts are the essence of the martial arts and are the elements one strives to achieve in training Gojyu Ryu Karate-do.

History of the IMGKA

The founder of Gojyu-Ryu Karate, Chojun Miyagi Sensei, chose the young master Meitoku Yagi to be the first and only person to learn all of the Gojyu-Ryu kata directly from him. Being the direct recipient from the Grand Master, he helped develop and teach all the Meibukan Kata, Renzoku Kumite, Kakomi Kumite, Meibukan Bo, Meibukan Sai, Nihon Kumite, Renzoku and Kakomi forms.

  • In 1392 36 families from China immigrate to Kume village in Naha, Okinawa. Chinese Boxing is practiced.

  • In 1477 the three kingdoms of Okinawa are unified, and the ruler King Sho Shin bans the use of weapons.

  • In 1609, the Satsuma clan of Japan invades Okinawa.

  • In 1888, Grand Master Sensei Chojun Miyagi is born. He is the founder of Gojyu-Ryu.

  • In 1912, Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi is born.

  • In 1930, Chojun Miyagi names the style.

  • In 1952, Sensei Meitoku Yagi is given permission to open a Dojo. He is the only student of Sensei Chojun Miyagi to be allowed to, as Sensei Chojun Miyagi dies on October 8th, 1953.

  • In 1963, the family of Sensei Chojun Miyagi officially appoints Sensei Meitoku Yagi as successor of Okinawa Gojyu-Ryu. Dai Sensei is given his Masters Gi and Obi.

  • From 1987 to 1991, all of the Meibu-ken katas are created and introduced.

  • In 1996, Dai Sensei celebrates his 85th birthday.

  • 1998 was the 110th anniversary of the birth of Gojyu-ryu founder Sensei Chojun Miyagi.

  • On Febuary 7th, 2003, Master Meitoku Yagi passes away.

International Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu Karate Association

Master Meitatsu Yagi is the eldest son of the late Grand Master Meitoku Yagi, tutored directly by the Grand Master himself to carry on the legacy of Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu Karate.Master Yagi has lived, worked, initiated new dojos and taught Meibukan in several places outside of Okinawa and around the world. Master Yagi lived in the US from 1964 to 1970; in Guam 1971 to 1975; in Saipan 1995 to 1997 and in the Philippines 1997 to 1998. After returning from Guam in 1975, Master Yagi was given the title of Renshi 6th Dan and became a Director of All Okinawa Karate-Do Association in 1976. In 1976, he was given the teaching responsibilities at the Hombu Dojo in Okinawa as President of Gojyu-Ryu Meibu-kai with Sensei Meitetsu Yagi (his younger brother) as Vice-President and Grand Master Meitoku Yagi as Chairman / Consultant.

From the Grand Master, Master Yagi was charged with the responsibility of teaching all of the senior Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu teachers in Okinawa. Grand Master Meitoku Yagi chose his eldest son Master Meitatsu Yagi to be the first to learn all facets of Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu. These forms are an integral part of Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu. Master Meitatsu Yagi was a director of the All Okinawa Karate-Do Gojyu-Kai for 20 years. He served a two year term as President of the Okinawa Karate-Do Gojyu-Kai in 1987 as well as President of the Hombu Dojo in Kume.

Ensuring that his successor be Master Meitatsu Yagi, Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi gave Master Meitatsu Yagi the title of Hanshi Judan, Okinawa Karate-Do Gojyu-Kai in 1997. During his lifetime, Grand Master Meitoku Yagi presented only one Hanshi Judan and this was to his eldest son and heir, Master Meitatsu Yagi. To this day, Sensei Meitatsu Yagi, travels the world meeting and teaching hundreds of people each year in seminars in India, Canada, Israel, Italy, the USA, England and France as well as South America. This was the legacy that he was given by the Grand Master. Master Meitatsu Yagi has also been very active in promoting and developing The Okinawa Traditional Karatedo Kobudo International Studying Center in Yomitan Village, Okinawa. As Master of Meibukan Gojyu-Ryu, he is working with Master Kenyu Chinen of Shorin-Ryu style and Master Yasuo Shimoji of Uechi-Ryu style. All three masters are traditional Okinawa teachers and are working together to promote Okinawa Traditional Karate-Do and Kobudo in Okinawa and around the world.


Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi, Hanshi 10th Dan (March 6, 1912 - Febuary 7, 2003)


Master Meitatsu Yagi Sensei, Hanshi 10th Dan, eldest son of Grand Master Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi and President of the International Meibu-Kan Gojyu-Ryu Karate Association.

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