Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Which library should I subscribe too?

If you are a new Kyu grade student of Goju Ryu then we recommend you should first subscribe to Part 1 (9th - 3rd Kyu grading syllabus). You can add Part 2 (2nd Kyu onwards) and the Effective Karate (kumite and sparring) at a later stage.

The content of the Effective Karate library may be pure Goju Ryu, but it contains training methods and sparring drills that will be of interest and have relevance to all students of the martial arts.

You don’t have to be a student of the martial arts to benefit from viewing the self defence library. The subject matter is aimed at people who just want to acquire some self defence knowledge.

Grading Instruction?

Sensei Ernie is the Vice Chief Instructor of the IOGKF and sits on the committee that governs what is taught by Goju Ryu instructors across the world. He is also the Chief Instructor of the EGKA, and along with Sensei Roy is part of the English grading panel. We mention this only to reassure you that the content of our libraries only reflect approved IOGKF and EGKA teachings.

Students may become confused when trying to decide what exactly is the ‘correct’ grading technique. This tends to happen when they notice a minor difference in the way they are taught to execute a kata or application by their instructor, and what is shown in our videos.

The answer is simple. If your instructor teaches you a different ‘standard’ bunkai application to the ones we show here, or places a different emphasis on performing a kata … his or her way is no less or no more valid just because they differ to the ways Sensei Ernie and Sensie Roy prefer to see it done. All you have to remember is to always be prepared to adapt what you think as normal to the way required when training or grading in front of a different instructor.

What is Goju Ryu?

The general public´s perception of karate is often hyper-inflated as a result of the sensational press, television and movie attention our martial art attracts. Karate, (the name being a combination of two Japanese Kanji characters "Kara" and "Te" literally meaning "Empty" and "hands"). It comprises of an unarmed combat system wherein the body as a whole is trained and developed, along with deliberate mental toughening to develop aspects such as tenacity, will-power, concentration and self discipline.

If one goes back to the late part of the 19th century in Japan, each martial art would be taught under a strict regime by a revered master to a select few of his chosen students. The teaching methods all shared a common lineage traceable back to the Shaolin monks of China, but over the centuries each master had developed regional differences that defined their particular style. "Karate" as a name for a martial art is credited as arising from the island of Okinawa in the early part of the 20th Century. The liberalisation of Japanese culture allowed the martial art masters of this time to travel more freely and it was inevitable that they should start forming alliances that would begin the process of consolidating the many different styles into just the handful of authentic traditional variants that come under the generic umbrella term of karate we recognise today, namely:


Goju Ryu - Chojun Miyagi Sensei
Shorin Ryu - Sokon Matsumura
Uechi Ryu - Uechi Kanbun Sensei


Shotokan - Gichin Funakoshi Sensei
Wado Ryu - Hironori Otsuka Sensei
Shito Ryu - Kenwa Mabuni Sensei

This list is not exhaustive, and it will vary according to the historical perspective one starts from. If you spend a few hours researching the origins of Karate on the Internet, one will quickly discover there are a surprising number of different martial art styles, often claiming direct lineage to a particular Japanese or Okinawan teacher who founded that particular style in the last few hundred years.

Goju Ryu is one such style and we can trace its origins back to the teachings of the founding master, Chojun Miyagi Sensei, who was born in 1888. In an age where change and rapid technological development is the norm, it is strange to think that someone studying Goju Ryu karate today can be fairly confident they are being taught the same effective fighting system and value-set of an Okinawan master who lived in the last century. It should be remembered that Chojun Miyagi Sensei´s own fighting skills would have been taught to him by a line of masters who preceded him … probably going back to the Chinese Shaolin monks who are credited with starting the process in the Far East.

The only difference with Chojun Miyagi Sensei is that he lived at a time of significant social change in Japan, not least of which was the profound change brought about by the presence of the occupying forces after the Second World War. During this time a lot of service men rotated through Japan and when they returned home they brought back with them some of the Japanese culture they had experienced. This naturally included all of the Japanese and Okinawan martial arts. In one short decade, Goju Ryu went from a very secular martial art being taught in Japan, to a world wide phenomenon that is still growing today.

Many attribute the continuing success of Goju Ryu to the fact the style has stuck true to the original methods of teaching karate. This is an important consideration at a time when so many other styles have lost their way and foundered after the initial worldwide expansion of the 1950´s. A martial art always needs new students to thrive and prosper. Students tend to recognise when a martial arts instructor has compromised his or her standards and succumbed to commercial pressures or the desire to convert a fighting system into a tame sport. The corruption is easily recognised and not surprisingly students drift away to other styles that fulfil their expectations of a more complete and effective martial art.