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Gojuryu Karatedo Seiwakai is a “club or dojo”

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Published Date Written by GOJURYU

FROM SHIHAN LEO LIPINSKI

 Gojuryu Karatedo Seiwakai is a “club or dojo” in Japan that follows the Gojuryu Karate style. The “style” or system of Gojuryu taught by The Karate Centre, my personal club, is that of of Seiwakai. Fujiwara Shihan is the GOJURYU KARATEDO SEIWAKAI President and Chief Instructor. Please note, that, when I use the term Dojo or Club, Seiwakai consists of many locations or clubs both in Japan and internationally. These clubs are members of Seiwakai Headquarters Japan.

“Seiwakai” is very much a traditional method of karate training. By traditional, I refer to the JAPANESE Gojuryu Tradition, which laid great emphasis on highly effective kumite. Plus, of course, Kata and Bunkai of the Kata, (especially the use of Kata (Bunkai) techniques being applied in Kumite). That was the way for many years. Nowadays, mostly, modern sports kumite is what is being taught—in Japan-- by most Gojuryu groups. The kumite I consider “traditional” utilised many of the disallowed techniques—both disallowed in tournaments and also discouraged in clubs generally.
The Japanese "way" of Gojuryu has its roots mostly in Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto Japan as well some other Universities in Western Japan. However, the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa is where Gojuryu originated. It was formulated/developed by Chojun Miyagi Sensei after he had spent many years training with Kanryo Higaonna (Higashionna). Both Miyagi and Kanryo Higaonna had also trained extensively in China and were influenced very much by this training. It was from this Chinese influence added to the Naha-te, the local form of martial art, that modern Karate such as Gojuryu developed. There were other methodologies also developing concurrently in other parts of Okinawa; for example in the city of Shuri.
Miyagi (Gojuryu), Funakoshi (Shotokan), Mabuni (Shitoryu) three very famous teachers, came from Okinawa to teach their karate on the mainland of Japan. Karate or Okinawa-te was taught secretly for many years in Okinawa before it was opened up to the general public. In the beginning, on the mainland,their styles (as they later became known) developed mostly in the Japanese Universities. Most Karate on the mainland of Japan had its origin and initial growth in the Universities. Karate on the mainland of Japan developed with strong traditional Japanese Budo or Martial Arts influences. This was quite different from the way Gojuryu was taught and practised in Okinawa. It remains different to this day.
These Senseis obviously found a very different type of student on the Japanese mainland to those they were accustomed to teaching in Okinawa, which was essentially a farming community with a limited number of richer merchants and trades people. Okinawa in the pre-war years was the poorest Prefecture in Japan so the numbers of people who could afford to train was limited and limited to those young people who came, usually, from rich families. In Japan, in the very early days of karate, the students of karate were mostly in the process of obtaining a university education. Such students were highly motivated, ambitious and energetic. They trained extremely hard. Training was VERY COMPETITIVE and consisted of intensive exercise, basics (kihon) and fighting. The Gojuryu students, especially, were well renowned for their Kumite skills, which was the original full contact/knockdown fighting. The Gojuryu fighters were known for their use of all the currently disallowed competition techniques. At the Universities, very little Kata was practised—it was NOT a priority. Fighting, and competitive fighting (in those days not official competitions but more in the manner of challenges) with other universities was very common and from this developed the Sports Karate we know today. By this I mean they started to develop rules, especially rules designed to make the competition safe. From what I have been told, training at Ritsumeikan University was typically 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, and it was brutally hard.
Nowadays training is nowhere near as intensive, internationally, as was practised in Japan many years ago. Some of us learned in the 60’s and 70’s in Japan when the training was still extremely hard. Even now, in Japan, training is still very intensive. I have watched high school clubs who train many hours every day, Monday to Saturday. The elite members of the JKA (Shotokan), who train in their Instructors Classes, still train as they did many years ago. Generally, though, even Japan has had to deal with changes in attitudes and student expectations as well as SAFETY ISSUES.
Although traditional Gojuryu kumite utilised lots of contact and many of the forbidden techniques, this type of kumite is seldom taught now, not in Japan nor elsewhere. Of course there are still some teachers, such as Fujiwara Shihan, who manage to blend the old training and kumite techniques with modern sports methods. With Seiwakai the past is being kept alive. I do the same in The Karate Centre with my senior classes. I also introduce it, with an eye on safety, at seminars that I teach in England as well as the many countries in Europe and elsewhere.
We must not forget, too, that karate is practised in many countries for fun, as a sport and as a means of keeping very fit; this training can be for all ages from as young as 4 to 80 plus. Many young people (some as young as 4) can be seen at classes in Japan, Britain, USA, the many countries of Europe and most of the world’s countries that have Karate available.
Karate is changing and adapting to modern needs. We do this at THE KARATE CENTRE. We have adapted and will continue to adapt. We have very active members who participate in the sport of karate and others who come for developing their fitness or for learning self defence skills. At the more senior grade level we teach the methods that I learned all those years ago and will always offer a very complete karate experience
With this in mind our KARATE CENTRE daytime classes and the Saturday classes I want to open, will offer senior members the opportunity to learn and practise the full array of karate that I offer.
Fortunately there will always be some teachers who remember our karate roots and teach and practise accordingly.

Gojuryu Karatedo Seiwakai is a “club or dojo” in Japan that follows the Gojuryu Karate style. The “style” or system of Gojuryu taught by The Karate Centre, my personal club, is that of of Seiwakai. Fujiwara Shihan is the GOJURYU KARATEDO SEIWAKAI President and Chief Instructor. Please note, that, when I use the term Dojo or Club, Seiwakai consists of many locations or clubs both in Japan and internationally. These clubs are members of Seiwakai Headquarters Japan.
“Seiwakai” is very much a traditional method of karate training. By traditional, I refer to the JAPANESE Gojuryu Tradition, which laid great emphasis on highly effective kumite. Plus, of course, Kata and Bunkai of the Kata, (especially the use of Kata (Bunkai) techniques being applied in Kumite). That was the way for many years. Nowadays, mostly, modern sports kumite is what is being taught—in Japan-- by most Gojuryu groups. The kumite I consider “traditional” utilised many of the disallowed techniques—both disallowed in tournaments and also discouraged in clubs generally.
The Japanese "way" of Gojuryu has its roots mostly in Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto Japan as well some other Universities in Western Japan. However, the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa is where Gojuryu originated. It was formulated/developed by Chojun Miyagi Sensei after he had spent many years training with Kanryo Higaonna (Higashionna). Both Miyagi and Kanryo Higaonna had also trained extensively in China and were influenced very much by this training. It was from this Chinese influence added to the Naha-te, the local form of martial art, that modern Karate such as Gojuryu developed. There were other methodologies also developing concurrently in other parts of Okinawa; for example in the city of Shuri.
Miyagi (Gojuryu), Funakoshi (Shotokan), Mabuni (Shitoryu) three very famous teachers, came from Okinawa to teach their karate on the mainland of Japan. Karate or Okinawa-te was taught secretly for many years in Okinawa before it was opened up to the general public. In the beginning, on the mainland,their styles (as they later became known) developed mostly in the Japanese Universities. Most Karate on the mainland of Japan had its origin and initial growth in the Universities. Karate on the mainland of Japan developed with strong traditional Japanese Budo or Martial Arts influences. This was quite different from the way Gojuryu was taught and practised in Okinawa. It remains different to this day.
These Senseis obviously found a very different type of student on the Japanese mainland to those they were accustomed to teaching in Okinawa, which was essentially a farming community with a limited number of richer merchants and trades people. Okinawa in the pre-war years was the poorest Prefecture in Japan so the numbers of people who could afford to train was limited and limited to those young people who came, usually, from rich families. In Japan, in the very early days of karate, the students of karate were mostly in the process of obtaining a university education. Such students were highly motivated, ambitious and energetic. They trained extremely hard. Training was VERY COMPETITIVE and consisted of intensive exercise, basics (kihon) and fighting. The Gojuryu students, especially, were well renowned for their Kumite skills, which was the original full contact/knockdown fighting. The Gojuryu fighters were known for their use of all the currently disallowed competition techniques. At the Universities, very little Kata was practised—it was NOT a priority. Fighting, and competitive fighting (in those days not official competitions but more in the manner of challenges) with other universities was very common and from this developed the Sports Karate we know today. By this I mean they started to develop rules, especially rules designed to make the competition safe. From what I have been told, training at Ritsumeikan University was typically 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, and it was brutally hard.
Nowadays training is nowhere near as intensive, internationally, as was practised in Japan many years ago. Some of us learned in the 60’s and 70’s in Japan when the training was still extremely hard. Even now, in Japan, training is still very intensive. I have watched high school clubs who train many hours every day, Monday to Saturday. The elite members of the JKA (Shotokan), who train in their Instructors Classes, still train as they did many years ago. Generally, though, even Japan has had to deal with changes in attitudes and student expectations as well as SAFETY ISSUES.
Although traditional Gojuryu kumite utilised lots of contact and many of the forbidden techniques, this type of kumite is seldom taught now, not in Japan nor elsewhere. Of course there are still some teachers, such as Fujiwara Shihan, who manage to blend the old training and kumite techniques with modern sports methods. With Seiwakai the past is being kept alive. I do the same in The Karate Centre with my senior classes. I also introduce it, with an eye on safety, at seminars that I teach in England as well as the many countries in Europe and elsewhere.
We must not forget, too, that karate is practised in many countries for fun, as a sport and as a means of keeping very fit; this training can be for all ages from as young as 4 to 80 plus. Many young people (some as young as 4) can be seen at classes in Japan, Britain, USA, the many countries of Europe and most of the world’s countries that have Karate available.
Karate is changing and adapting to modern needs. We do this at THE KARATE CENTRE. We have adapted and will continue to adapt. We have very active members who participate in the sport of karate and others who come for developing their fitness or for learning self defence skills. At the more senior grade level we teach the methods that I learned all those years ago and will always offer a very complete karate experience
With this in mind our KARATE CENTRE daytime classes and the Saturday classes I want to open, will offer senior members the opportunity to learn and practise the full array of karate that I offer.
Fortunately there will always be some teachers who remember our karate roots and teach and practise accordingly.

Sunday the 9th.
Copyright 2013

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