"A tree reaches past your embrace grows from one small seed."

The Class

Opening and Closing ceremony 

The Way of an Ideal

(Methods of Sansei Goju-Ryu Karate-Do)


Opening and Closing ceremony


Seiza- To sit down in the formal kneeling posture, back straight, with palms of hands placed on upper thighs.



Mokuso- To close the eyes, clear the mind of all external thoughts, and to prepare you to receive new knowledge.



Mokuso Yame- Open your the eyes, and prepare to learn.


Shomeni Taishite-Rei- To bow towards the front. Shomen means front of the Dojo and it symbolically represents the major side of the dojo which students face during the workout; ni is an objective use of a preposition; taishite is a honorific usage referring to direction; rei means to bow, and is a sing of mutual respect,


Sensei Ni Taishite’ Re, bow towards the instructor. (Sensei)


The organization Dojo Kun should be recited by all the students at the end of every class. Students Creed (Organizational Dojo Kun)


This section will give one a sense of how a normal class in a Sansei Goju-ryu Karate-do is ran, along with a core curriculum listing


Outline of a Normal Class

A normal Sansei Goju-ryu class begins on time with the senior student calling the beginning of class by ordering everyone to line up. The students form one line quickly, and stand at attention. At this time one of the senior students is given the privilege of reciting the virtues, which everyone must repeat:

Everyone is silent awaiting the command to kneel. Once the command is given everyone kneels and the next command is to close eyes, at this point there is a few minutes of meditation. After the meditation everyone opens their eyes and bows, by placing their hands in front of them on the floor and bringing their head to their hands. Next is the command to stand and then the senior students will lead the class in warm up exercises, which are as follows:




1. Opening ritual and meditation

2. Warm-up exercises

3. Sequence of techniques from Kihon (basics) category

4. Sequence of techniques from Ido (Movement) category

5. Kata (Forms)

6. Kumite (Sparring)

7. Closing ritual and meditation


Opening and Warm-up exercises



Warm-up exercises (18 items, 20-25 minutes)

Purpose: To loosen joints and stretch muscles, starting from the farthest point of the heart. Hands are placed on students belt when not in use, and feet are paralleled to the width of the student’s shoulders.




1. Toe Joints: (a)With one foot off the floor, Alternately bend all toes up and then down. (b) Then big toe up and the other toe down. (Alternate doing both feet.)


2. Ankles: With one foot off the floor, rotate the ankle from left to the right then reverse this action (Alternate doing both feet)


3. Knee Joints: (a) Keep your feet closed and bend the knees down about half the way to your feet (heels should be flat on the floor.) (b) Rotate the knees from left to right then reverse this action.




4. Legs: With hands over your head and legs spread wide apart; bend down and reach your hands as far down between your legs as you can, then pulling your hands back over your head and reaching back as far as you can. (b) Spread the legs wide; push one leg firmly towards the floor (the toes should be placed on the floor, facing the outside) (c) Push the heel at a forty-five degree angle towards the outside and press the leg down. (d) Pull the toes up and stand on the heel; the other knee is bent while the hips push down deeply. (Alternate doing both legs.)


5. Hips: Waist, and Stomach: Spread the legs wide and hold the hands together above the head. (a) bend the body forward to the floor and then backwards; rotate the body in a circular movement from left to right then reverse this action.


6. Push-Ups: Placing the body's weight on the fists, do thirty push-ups, keeping the back perfectly straight. (b) Placing the body's weight first on the fingertips, arch back and do ten push-ups, using a "dipping" motion.


7. Fingers: Press the fingers together and stretch the joints, then press the open hands together and stretch the palm, then put the hands above the head and make a tight fist and pull down slowly then shake out both hands.


8. Sit-ups: Sit on the floor with a partner and clasp legs together; do approximately seventy to one hundred and twenty sit-ups without letting the shoulders touch the floor. Laying flat on the floor with feet as close to your bottom as you can get them; hands behind your head; bring your head up towards your knees; pushing down on your stomach muscles and hold for one count then back to the floor. (b) Laying flat on the floor, with left leg cross the right leg, and left arm stretched out and flat on the floor; the right hand is behind your head; try and touch your right elbow to your left knee fifty times. (Alternate doing both sides)


9. Stomach Muscles: Laying flat on the floor, raise the legs and the neck and arms about six inches off the floor and hold this position for about thirty seconds. (Repeat for three times)




10. Back: Laying flat on the floor, roll the legs back over the head and then roll back to a sit-up position, push the head to the knees (Repeat this exercise ten times).


11. Toes Joints: Sitting on the floor, stretch the toes up and down then rotate the ankles (Alternate with both feet).


12. Hip Joints: Sitting on the floor, bring your foot to your chest (Alternate with both feet).


13. Hip and Legs: Laying on the floor on one side rise your leg up to a forty five degree angle with the knee bent back, stretch your leg out and then snap it back, do fifty times (Alternate with both feet).


14. Hip Joints: Using a parallel stance, raise each knee up to the chest (Alternate with both knees).


15. Squats: Using a parallel stance, place the hands on the belt and do between thirty and sixty deep-knee bends, keeping the back straight.


16. Hip Joints: Using a parallel stance, stretch the leg up towards the head, keeping the leg straight (Alternate doing both legs).



17. Hip Joints: Using a parallel stance, Stretch the leg out towards the left side, keeping the leg straight (Alternate doing both legs).


18. Neck: (a) Turn the head from the left side to the right then reverse the action; (b) Rotate the head in circular motions; (c) Place the head on the chest and stretch the head back, tensing the neck muscles.


Once the warm-up exercises are complete the senior student will instruct everyone to line up and stand at attention, then the senior student will end the warm-up session by having everyone bow and release the class into the hands of the instructor for that day. At this point the instructor will tell everyone to sit or kneel for a short break. The instructor will use this time to lecture on topics such as history, philosophy, outline of the evening's class, terminology, etc.


Once opening ritual and beginning lecture are complete one moves into the realm of learning actual technique. These items are what make Goju-Ryu one of the most beautiful and dynamic arts around. In learning Goju-Ryu Karate, one performs activities from one of four categories. These categories are characterized as two major and two minor. Further, there are subdivisions within each of the four categories.

The two major categories are called "Kata" and "Kumite". Kata is a set of formal patterns, where one envisions that they are going against an opponent. Whereas Kumite is a sparring exercise with an actual opponent. The two minor categories are called "Kihon" and "Ido". These two categories are the foundation for "Kata," "Kumite", and all technique done in Goju-Ryu.

Within Karate basics, one must learn to stand, to move, block, strike, kick, fall, and later to throw. I must emphasize that considerable time is spent on learning how to block. If one does not know how to block a strike or kick, then one should not learn how to throw a strike or kick.

In "Kihon" the first minor category, one practices stationary techniques, utilizing the principle movements of blocking, striking, and kicking. The second minor category of "Ido", is aimed at using extensive footwork, along with blocking, striking, and kicking. In "Ido", the subdivisions, "Kata-Ido" and "Neko-Ashi-Ido", are preparatory programs, which function as the transitional exercise between the minor programs and the programs of "Kata" and "Kumite". "Kata-Ido" works on the turning exercises in preparation for Kata. "Neko-Ashi-Ido" works on footwork exercises in preparation for Kumite. 


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