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THREE PRINCIPLES OF GOJU RYU

1. NEVER ATTACK FIRST

Karate Do is essentially a defensive form. It is never used indiscriminately nor in a provoking, aggressive manner.

2. WHEN AN OPPONENT STRIKES, ONE SHOULD NOT BE HIT!

Through constant practice, awareness and anticipation allows one to avoid or defend against such attacks.

3. NOT TO FIGHT, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, IS THE GREATEST DEFENCE!

Realising one’s full potential to seriously maim or kill when using techniques of Karate-Do causes one to question the immediate use of such skills; thus avoiding potential conflicts or confrontations, before they eventuate.

-LAST TEACHINGS OF MIYAGI CHOJUN, SENSEI (1888-1953) FOUNDER (RYUSO) OF GOJU RYU

“DO" – Striving to follow the Way or Path.

From the first day of entering the unfamiliar environment of a traditional Dojo, one has a strange feeling of a new Way. Sparse, yet functional space, maybe some mirrors and portable equipment; possibly a Shrine (Shinto-related) and photos of oriental Masters, are the typical scene that confronts the prospective student.
One witnesses a mixed group of practitioners clad in pyjama-like garb, with various coloured belts on their waists; doing even stranger physical actions, in a precise discipline and with a sense of intense concentration. This, surely causes an initial feeling of something exotically different, yet drawing deep interest.

Why one begins the practice of Martial Arts, is purely an individual reason. Be it interest in things oriental, self-confidence or  just to keep fit and healthy; the eventual reason lies in the heart of the individual. For, ultimately, that initial reason will change and evolve with time and commitment. One, will at first, feel out of place and awkwardly unco-ordinated. Still, one must “learn to walk before one can run!”. A student soon realises that they must re-learn and re-train their body and mind, whilst practising the strange movements related to this Art. To add more confusion, usually an Asian language is used ti teach the students. More tests? No,  just a method of creating thought and concentration towards the teachings; as many of the techniques defy direct English translation. This also allows many visiting Asian Masters to teach in their own Native tongue necessary to pass on their knowledge.(instead of trying to master the difficult English tongue!)

As one becomes accustomed to the training regimen, one will soon experience the personal enjoyment of participating in an exciting and fulfilling pastime. Being involved in an art form, developed over hundreds of years, actively refined through actual combat and wars of ancient times until its present form; taught in the Dojo, one soon appreciates the depth of knowledge, gained through its practice and application.
Soon the initial feeling of strange unfamiliarity, passes, as continued practice and mutual encouragement; from both Teacher and fellow students, deepens the bond of belonging to something more than just a physical activity. The strange actions learned, take on a new meaning and more obvious application. A sense of achievement and new learning slowly evolves. Physical strength and skill develop, as well as mental toughness; helping one continue on the gruelling pace and standards, set by the Sensei and the seniors of the Dojo, now a familiar place of learning.

The pride in wearing the Gi and the belts of attainment, are emotionally felt. From the back line of the class, as a raw beginner; up through the ranks towards, hopefully, the position of Sensei.; the learning process steadily opens up new areas of skills development and mental discipline. The techniques become movements of deep understanding and appreciation of a Way; of inner physical/mental discipline --the skills of which will enhance forever one’s life and relationships .

SENSEI,SEMPAI-KOHAI AND DOJO

“Sensei” means “one who has been before….”, a person who has already travelled the Way(Do) In the Western world, we call him a teacher or instructor. But, according to the Eastern mind, any person of expertise is a Sensei. eg. a  Sensei of Law (Lawyer), a Sensei of Medicine (Doctor) or a Sensei of Dance (Choreographer).  The Sensei pass on their wisdom and deep knowledge onto the enquiring student of the Art, in a step-by-step process, through physical and mental discipline; by stripping away any preconceived ideas or misconceptions from their minds; to be replaced by essential concepts of Martial skills, coordinated with profound mental attitudes.

The Sempai/Kohai relationship is very important to both understand and develop within the environment of the Dojo, as well as one’s continued involvement in the “Do”

“Sempai” implies “older brother or senior”; one who is more advanced in learning, knowledge and ability , than his fellow students.

“Kohai” implies “younger brother or junior” , one who is less proficient, less controlled or knowledgeable as their “older brothers” of the Art. Knowing one’s place in the Dojo or class environment is one of  utmost importance in both creating and maintaining  a controlled atmosphere of mutual respect, discipline and attitude. The concept exemplifies the direction of attainment in both ability and further knowledge. Through practice with one’s Sempai, the mutual training results in promotion of skill and rank. The example and standards set by the Sempai should be the goal of every Kohai. The beginner stars at the bottom of the ladder of Martial Arts knowledge and skill, eventually climbing up, step by step, through the ranks from Kohai to Sempai, and hopefully, one day, become a Sensei.

As dedicated practice and continued effort is rewarded with promotion, one’s character is subtly changed and reinforced with newfound skills and perceptions unseen as a beginner, but furthered and instilled as a Sempai. The beginner, like a child, is growing from adolescence, through to adulthood (Kohai to Sempai) from the practice of the “Do”.

The Sensei, like the guiding Parent, instils the necessary attitudes , bringing out the inner abilities and potentials of each student, with controlled teaching and firm authority, necessary in leading the student beyond their physical limits. It is at this point of intense instruction that most students, lacking the inner strength to transcend physical discomfort and increased effort; will simply take the easy way out and stop practising. They will never have realised the real possibility of improving their own depth in character. The Sensei is a catalyst, a yardstick, a living example who both encourages and nurtures that student to strive to higher goals in Life, through the practice of Martial Arts. It is through their personal example, honed skills and deep knowledge that inspire those with such goals to greater levels of personal achievement. Their skills were not “natural abilities”, but the end result of great personal sacrifices, pain and concerted efforts over much of their life. Their inner concentration (“Kime and Zanchin”) and superior skills and attitudes are instilled and nurtured through thousands upon thousands of repetitions of basic, evasive skills—innumerable but imperceptible to the untrained eye!

The Sensei can share with all their students how they, too, were once just like them! Awkward, uncoordinated, susceptible to pain, discomfort and forced practice of foreign movement and language—not knowing their left from their right! Yet, what now stands before the class, is a product of the desire to improve oneself, perseverance through overcoming pain and monotony, and a deep willingness to learn  the skills of the extraordinary abilities of past Masters of the Art. the aim of the true Sensei is to pass on the same traditions and skilful techniques, learned from highly effective Martial Arts knowledge, onto those willing to undergo the personal sacrifices and transformation, thus becoming a stronger, useful member of our society. The skills attained and personalty changes affected, extend into one’s other relationships. One’s interactions with family, career, recreation or sport; are improved and further enhanced through the practice of Martial Arts. The student, as did the Sensei before him, will undergo real changes to their depth of character All throughout this steady transformation, the example and guidance of the Sensei and Sempai will be continuously, but subtly moulding the students skills and level of learning. The student will eventually become the Sensei! The greatest achievement of any Sensei is, not only to produce skilled practitioners of the Art, but to find an exceptional individual who has the unique, deep desire and potential to surpass, even that of the Sensei!. Such a student comes along, but once in a lifetime--.sometines, never! The Sensei must also possess the insight and superior judgement to assess such potential in his students; the capability of instilling that thirst for learning that is so necessary in producing a complete, effective practitioner. Then it is said that “the Sensei turns a full circle” in the Art.

From an awkward beginner, to Kohai ability through to Sempai level, this is generally the point of decision; as the practice efforts and levels of commitment become greater. They may intrude on other of life’s commitments. Should one continue –or quit!!

Should one decide to complete one’s “apprenticeship”, then one can further strive to attain Sensei status (full circle) The colour of one’s belt (obi) signifies a long term effort of training and learning ie. From White belt (Shirobi) to Black belt (Kurobi). As a student is never to wash his or her belt its colour will darken over time, thus the colour, black!

But more importantly, one’s skills and understanding of the true traditions go hand-in-hand with the level of ability achieved. It is also said that one only really “starts to learn true Karate, after one reaches Shodan  (1st degree Black Belt) Any prior level of achievement is merely an introduction to what one must learn, in order to become a ”serious student”.

To learn the “Way of the Sensei”, one requires perseverance, immense patience and a strong desire to learn. One goes to the “home” (Dojo) of the Sensei (“one who has been before…”) to learn “the Way” (Do).

WGKA MISSION

TO BUILD IN STUDENTS TRUE CONFIDENCE THROUGH KNOWLEDGE IN THE MIND HONESTY IN THE HEART AND STRENGTH IN THE BODY AND TO INSTIL IN STUDENTS AN ATTITUDE OF NEVER FIGHTING TO ACHIEVE SELFISH ENDS BUT TO DEVELOP RESILIENCE AND FAIRNESS

WGKA MOTTO

SHARING KNOWLEDGE
GAINING STRENGTH


(Taken from NSW Hombu information booklet, by Kyoshi Warren Ross
NSW Director, WGKA, with Thanks)


DOJO KUN
(Dojo Precepts or
Code of Conduct)

  1. We are proud of studying the Way of Goju
  2. We are courteous in manners
  3. We strive to develop courage and fighting spirit
  4. We cultivate fellowship and understanding
  5. We respect the ideals of loyalty and honour