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Why Goju-Ryu Is More Dynamic

In Power Generation -- 99% and 1%, I stated, "It may seem strange to say, but I see this more often in Goju-Ryu and related styles than my own Shorin-Ryu." In my experience, Goju-Ryu people, in general, are very good at generating and transferring power.

I have thought about it and think I know the reason (or at least one reason) for this. Goju-Ryu people wind up and then strike or block. Shorin-Ryu people tend to throw from the hip.

What I mean by this is that Goju-Ryu people generally do not just block or strike. Before doing a particular movement, they often perform a circular or partial circular parry or grab (or some other technique), and then they block or stroke. The preparatory movement enables them to compress and coil their body (or the muscles inside their body) which then enables them to move in a very dynamic way. Coiling leads to explosiveness.

When Shorin-Ryu people block, they tend to "throw" from the beginning. The movements are sharp, rather than coiled. If a block is two step (like a shuto uke), the first part of the block is done sharply as is the second. The body and muscles do not have a chance to coil.

I believe that the Kishaba Juku form of Shorin-Ryu that I practice is a little bit like Goju-Ryu in Shorin-Ryu clothing. What I mean by this is that our power generation is somewhat like Goju-Ryu, while we perform the kata and techniques of Shorin-Ryu.

Of course, I could be wrong about this. I understand that Sensei Seigi Nakamura learned other forms of Karate than Matsubayashi-Ryu. It may have been that he learned Tomari-Te and Goju-Ryu as well. Styles are not natural -- they are created by people. All styles of Karate are simply different interpretations of Karate.

Perhaps it is that the core of power generation and transfer found in Goju-Ryu (and related styles) is very similar to the way we do things in Kishaba Juku. Whether that is because of some overlap in the past or a coincidence, I cannot say.

I should add that I have also seen poor Goju-Ryu movement. Certainly, not all students of Goju-Ryu are exceptional. What I am saying is that of the exceptional people I have seen, many are students of Goju-Ryu (and related styles). I have also seen exceptional Shorin-Ryu students. But in Shorin-Ryu, students tend to become "choppy" because of the way that they throw techniques. Goju-Ryu students have an advantage in that they coil or wind first.

This is just my impression.

Before anyone feels upset that I am favoring one style over another, please keep in mind that if anyone can do something better than you, you must find out why. If they can do it, why can't you do it? If a Goju-Ryu person can do something better than you, you cannot simply ignore it because he is outside of your style. Karate is not style dependent. If someone is better than you, or can do something better than you, you better figure out why. What if you had to defend yourself against that person? You could not call a "time out" because of a style conflict.

Karate is Karate and martial art is martial art.

We all have to figure out how to best generate and transfer power.

One way to do that is to recognize and study exceptional Karate students and instructors.


Charles C. Goodin