Before talking about what is Goju Ryu we need to talk about Karate. It is a martial art developed on the Ryukyu Islands (Known now as Okinawa) Japan. It developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands called te, literally “hand”; under the influence of Chinese martial arts. Karate means “empty hand” and is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. Historically and in some modern styles grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka.
Goju Ryu was founded by Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953). He first learned martial arts from Ryuko Aragaki, who then introduced him to Kanryo Higashionna (Higaonna Kanryō) when Miyagi was 14. Under his tutelage, Miyagi underwent a very long and arduous period of training. His training with Higaonna was interrupted for a two-year period while Miyagi completed his military service.
After Higaonna`s death, Miyagi travelled to China and he studied some local Chinese martial arts. He observed the Rokkishu (a set of hand exercises rather than a formal kata, which emphasizes the rotation of the forearms and wrists to execute offensive and defensive techniques), which he then adapted into the Tensho Kata. From the blending of these systems, and his native kwoledge, a new system emerged.