Mr. Miyagi

“Karate come from China, sixteenth century, called te, ‘hand’. Hundred year later, Miyagi ancestor bring to Okinawa, call *kara*-te, ’empty hand’.”
Movie Mr. Miyagi
Movie Miyagi

I’ll admit that I don’t really study the history of martial arts. It seems so complicated (and boring) that sometimes when people start talking to me about it, it sounds like adults talking to Charlie Brown “Wah wah wah wah wah”. I do know some information, including the basic history of the style of Karate that I train, Okinawan Goju-Ryu. For those who care, my lineage is John Roseberry–Seikichi Toguchi–Chojun Miyagi. Yes, there really was a Mr. Miyagi, and he created Goju-Ryu. Which is why I learned everything I need to know about it from watching The Karate Kid! I’m just kidding, Chojun Miyagi is not the person depicted in the movie, but the character is supposed to be his descendant, and the basic ideals he espouses are true to our style.

“[Taps his head] Karate here. [Taps his heart] Karate here. 
[Points to his belt] Karate never here. Understand?”

No, the crane kick is not a part of our curriculum (but I do know how to do it). I have also never had to wax any cars, or paint any fences for my Sensei. The closest my training has ever come to resembling Daniel-san’s is when my teachers constantly remind me “Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.” However, I would just like to put it out there that I would gladly wax some classic cars if someone would give me one of them!

When Shihan was interviewed and they asked him what his favorite movie was he said “The Karate Kid” (well actually, first he said “Pretty Woman”, then he changed it, lol!). I think that movie holds a special place in the hearts of many Karateka, particularly those who train Goju-Ryu. During kids’ parties at the dojo, we will sometimes play the movie (the original one, the good one ;) to share it with the next generation. There are some great lessons depicted in it, and I hope that the number one thing they take away from it is “Karate ni sente nashi” (there is no first strike in Karate).

“Do not be struck by others. Do not strike others.
The principle is the peace without incident.”- Chojun Miyagi 
Chojun Miyagi
Chojun Miyagi

The fact that the person who taught Goju-Ryu Karate to my teacher was taught by Master Miyagi himself means that I get to learn the history from someone who is not far removed from it.  Shihan Roseberry doesn’t care about the politics, he just tries to stay true to what Master Toguchi taught him, and I guess that is the only history I really feel like I need to know.

“Let me first say that I was not named the successor of Goju-Ryu by Miyagi, but nor was anyone else. He never publicly named anyone as successor. Common sense would dictate that if he were to appoint someone, it would have been a longtime student and it would have to be of public record to have any value.  
It would also be logical to assume that since Miyagi would not grant dan ranking, how then would he be inclined to name a successor? I feel Miyagi would be rolling in his grave with the plethora of ridiculous claims about this matter.” -Seikichi Toguchi

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