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History of Our Style

 

Bushido Martial Arts has a long history, originally dating back to the 1900's. Over this period, many great martial artists have contributed to its growth and development. Some of those people are detailed here.

 

Kanyro Higaonna

Grandmaster Kanryo Higaonna was born on March 10, 1853, in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa. His father, Kanryo, worked as a merchant sailing between the small islands of Okinawa trading everyday goods. From a young age Kanryo Higaonna helped his father in this work and through the hard physical labor that was involved he developed a strong body. Kanryo Higaonna was still in his teens when his father died suddenly. Kanryo decided he wanted to study the martial arts and he set his heart on traveling to Fuzhou, China for this purpose. He arrived in Fuzhou in the year 1869, he was 16. Once in Fuzhou he studied the Chinese martial arts under the great Master Ryu Ryu Ko. He soon became "Uchi Deshi" (private disciple) and he remained in China under the severe instruction of his teacher for approximately 13 years. In addition to studying empty handed martial arts he also became accomplished in weapons techniques and Chinese herbal medicine. Master Ryu Ryu Ko esteemed his pupil highly and sanctioned Kanryo's mastery of these arts - an honour which is accorded extremely rarely. Such was Kanryo's skill in the martial arts that his fame became widespread throughout Fuzhou and the surrounding area.Chojun Miyagi (founder of Goju-Ryu and successor to Kanryo Higaonna) said of Kanryo Higaonna, "My Sensei possessed incredible strength; the severity of the training he underwent in China is beyond comprehension.... Kanryo Sensei's speed and power were truly superhuman; his hands and feet moved faster than lightening." Words cannot express his real ability. We can only say that his skill was incredible but even this fails to do him justice.In the year 1881, after 13 years of diligent study with his teacher he returned to Okinawa and Naha where his martial arts became known as Naha-te (these arts were also referred to as "Tode" meaning martial arts from China). Kanryo Higaonna taught these martial arts to the people of Okinawa and at the same time continued his own research and practice. In order to teach the youth of Okinawa he developed a teaching method which was specifically designed to develop the mind and body; to improve both physical and spiritual well-being.The first occasion on which the previously secretive art of Naha-te was "opened" to society in general, occurred in October 1905, when Kanryo Higaonna began teaching at the high school.When teaching, Kanryo Higaonna was an extremely hard task master. However in his everyday life he was a quiet and humble man and one who was renowned for his virtuous character. He was a man who had no need or desire for worldly things. He lead a simple life which was completely devoted to the study and practice of the martial arts.There are many stories which relate tales of Kanryo Higaonna's life and training. The power of his legs was legendary, so much so that he was often referred to as "Ashi no Higaonna" ("Legs Higaonna") in Okinawa. His virtuous character was widely known and respected, and because of his popularity the people of Naha bestowed him with the name, "Obushi Higaonna Tanmei", a name which reflected the affection and respect they had for this great man and supreme martial artist.Kanryo Higaonna's unparalleled skill in the martial arts aside, his great and distinguished work was in bringing the Chinese martial art forms from China to Okinawa, and there spreading these arts among the people of Okinawa. Kanryo Higaonna is now bestowed with the title, "Kensei (sacred fists) Higaonna Kanryo", a title which is eminently fitting. His name is synonymous with Okinawan martial arts and Naha-te, and his spirit is destined to live on forever as a great and valued treasure within Okinawan culture.Kanryo Higaonna's whole life was devoted to karate. He passed away in December 1915 at the age of 63.

 

Chojun Miyagi

Chojun Miyagi was born in Naha City, Okinawa on April 25th, 1888 to an aristocratic family. They were in the import/export business, and owned 2 ships which made regular trips to mainland China, placing them among the wealthiest families in the area.He began his formal training at age 11, in the dojo of Ryuko Aragaki. At the age of 14, he was first introduced to Kanryo Higaonna, and after a period of doing chores for Sensei Higaonna to earn his place, was accepted as a student.Training was very severe, with a lot of running and strength exercises. It is said that he sometimes passed out performing Sanchin kata, so demanding was Sensei Higaonna on his student's performance. He trained for 13 years in this manner until the death of Kanryo Higaonna, developing into a powerful karateka.Sensei Miyagi then travelled to China, no doubt an opportunity afforded him by the nature of the family business, not to mention the luxury that wealth gave him in being able to pursue his art full-time. His quest was to locate Master Ryu Ryu ko, whom Higaonna had studied with. He was unable to locate him, though, but did pick up some of the local arts of the Fukien area of China, notable the kata Rokkishu, which was instrumental in his creation of Tensho kata.One of his travelling companions during his time in China was the white crane stylist Gokenki, who moved to Okinawa in 1913. He became a close friend and training partner to Chojun Miyagi, and they would continue their association upon returning to Okinawa. He continued to train in the methods he learned from Sensei Higaonna at several institutions, always under severe and demanding conditions. He did not confine his training to the dojo, either. Every waking moment (and while asleep, perhaps!) was spent in pursuit of the art, always remaining vigilante to his surroundings, always planning and ready for whatever might occur.In 1921, he was chosen to represent Naha-te in a presentation to the visiting crown prince Hirohito (who would eventually become Emperor), and gave an impressive performance. He repeated this in 1925 for prince Chichibu. He began to visualize the future of the Okinawan fighting arts, and in 1926, at the age of 38, set up the Karate Research Club, along with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Kenwa Mabuni (Shito Ryu) and Motobu Choyo, spending the next 3 years training in basics, kata, fitness and philosophy. Others who frequented the club included Johatsu Kyoda, Seikichi Uehara, Shimpan Gusukuma, and Gokenki.In 1929, he was invited to Japan by Gogen Yamaguchi, who would promote the Goju style in Japan. Jigoro Kano (founder of Judo) began visiting Okinawa in 1927, and was so impressed with Sensei Miyagi, he invited him to Japan in 1930 and 1932 to demonstrate at several tournaments. It was at one of these tournaments that one of his senior students, Jin'an Shinzato was asked which school of karate he belonged to. Unable to answer (styles were only known by their geographical reference at that time), he approached Sensei Miyagi, who agreed that a name should be chosen for their unique style.There is a Chinese text called the Bubishi, a very popular historical reference among karateka of the day, and in it are the Eight Poems of the Fists. The 3rd precept reads "The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness." Go means hard and Ju means soft. Since his style was a combination of these ideals, he began referring to his art as Goju Ryu, and in 1933 it was officially registered as such at the Butoku-Kai, the Japanese Martial Arts Association. In the same year, he presented his article "An Outline of Karate-Do". The following year, Sensei Miyagi was appointed as head of the Okinawan branch of the Butoku-Kai Association, and travelled to Hawaii later the same year to introduce karate there. Upon his return to Naha, he was awarded a commendation from the Ministry of Education for outstanding service in the field of physical culture. In 1936, he returned to China for more study, this time in Shanghai. After his return in 1937, he was awarded the Japanese equivalent to the commendation he had received at home. In 1940, he created the beginner's kata Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni.The Allied occupation of Okinawa was a very turbulent time in the history of Okinawa and the art of karate. Many lives were lost, including one of Sensei Miyagi's sons, two of his daughters, and his senior student, Jin'an Shinzato. He was forced to forgo much of his training while his homeland was restructured after the war. In 1946, he was appointed director of the Okinawan Civil Association of Physical Education, and resumed his training, teaching the Police Academy and opening a backyard dojo, known as the Garden Dojo. It is here where An'ichi Miyagi, Seiko Higa, Meitoku Yagi, Ei'ichi Miyazato and Seikichi Toguchi and, for a short time, Teruo Chinen trained, along with many other notable karateka.Chojun Miyagi died on October 8th, 1953, of either a heart attack (the most popular explanation) or a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 65. His legacy lives on through his senior students and the untold karateka whose lives he continues to influence.

 

Gogen Yamaguchi

Gogen Yamaguchi was born on January 20, 1909, in Kagoshima city on southern Kyushu. Already as a youngster he showed great interest in the Martial Arts. During his early school days he trained kendo, (Japanese fencing) and it was during this time that he started his karate training under the tutelage of Mr Maruta, a carpenter from Okinawa. Mr Maruta who was a Goju practitioner was drawn to the young Yamaguchi's serious attitude and his willingness to train hard. Mr Maruta taught Yamaguchi all he knew about the Goju system. During his college days as a law student, Yamaguchi established his first karate club at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto.Soon the dojo became famous in the city, known for it's hard training and fierce breathing exercise. In those days karate men practised only kata (formal movements) and yakusoku kumite (prearranged sparring) and were unable to have matches between each other since they did not hold back their techniques. It was during this period that Yamaguchi created the first stages towards what is known as jyu kumite (free fighting) and established rules to decide the winner of a match. Some of the rules are still in use today in what is known as sport or competition karate.In 1931, at the age of 22, Gogen Yamaguchi was introduced to the founder of the Goju style, - Master Chojun Miyagi. This meeting proved to have a profound affect upon Yamaguchi's outlook on karate. Previously he had only considered the hard aspect of Goju but after his meeting with Master Miyagi he was determined to train himself spiritually as well as physically. Master Miyagi thought highly of Yamaguchi who seemed to have mastered the hard aspect of Goju so well and gave him the nickname Gogen, meaning `Rough'. He then appointed Gogen Yamaguchi as his successor of the Goju school in Japan.During the years to follow Gogen Yamaguchi often spent long stays at Mount Kurama where he subjected himself to ascetic exercises and hard training with sanchin, meditation and fasting. Between 1938-1945 he was sent to Manchuria on government and military assignments. On several occasions during his stay there, he could thank his skills in karate and his mental training that he stayed alive. During the Japanese-Russian war -45 Yamaguchi was taken prisoner of war and sent to a prison camp in Mongolia. He was kept there under harsh conditions for two years. Once again his strength and skill were severely put to the test. During all these years he still continued to train and develop Goju-karate.After his release and return to Japan, Yamaguchi became one of the most exciting figures in karate history. Known throughout the world as the `cat' because of his grace and speed in movement and because of his favourite fighting stance which is called neko ashi dachi (cat stance).

 

 

Martial Arts in Australia

 

Tino Ceberano and Goju Kai

Tino Ceberano was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. Of Phillipino-Spanish decent, his father was a Phillipino migrant who came to Hawaii as a professional boxer who also acquired the skills of Phillipino stick fighting when he settled in Hawaii.In Hawaii, it wasn't uncommon for everyone to be involved in fights as a youngster and most boys had some basic martial arts experience. In the pre-war days, boxing was a popular pass-time on the island with martial arts such as Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Karate, knife and stick fighting also learnt at a young age.Martial arts simply existed in Hawaii and the predominant nationalities of the time; Portugese, Chinese, Phillipino, Hawaiin, Puerto Rican, and Japanese, all became closer in the way that they were constantly exchanging ideas and learning pieces from different styles. There were no set martial arts organisations in Hawaii. People basically learnt the arts by watching someone fight or by getting into a fight themselves. People eventually learnt that each art was associated with a particular group and the multicultural existence in Hawaii highlighted what became the forerunner of Western Martial Arts even before Karate was introduced to mainland America.A young Tino and his father trained together in Kempo, which was the word commonly used instead of Karate. The Chinese would refer to Shorin Kempo as what Shaolin Kempo was. The Okinawans referred to Okinawa-te instead of Karate.Kempo was actually introduced to Tino by his neighbour, who was a returned soldier from the Korean campaign. He would gather up a group of kids ranging between twelve and seventeen years old and they would train after school and really get stuck into each other."It wasn't until 1959, when as a 17 year old joining the Marines, that Tino learnt to value his martial arts. At this time he remembers a sweeping change in people's perception of the martial arts right across Hawaii.Goju-Kai started in Hawaii in 1958. Kyokushin-kai was slightly before that and Shotokan was at about the same time. All before that there was Kempo and Okinawa-te but it wasn't so serious. Then all of a sudden something changed. They began to understand the values of the arts and became a lot more fine tuned about how they should be practised and the classes began to be organised.Anton Navas was Tino's most revered teacher who really took him by the hand and showed him what the true meaning of the arts was all about from 1959 until 1966.Joining the Marines changed Tino's life immensely. From living as an islander to being part of the armed forces elite and living much more a Western life-style was almost a cultural shock for him.As part of the Fleet Marine Force Pacific, he was a specialist in the field of teaching armed and unarmed combat with a background of reconnaissance for which his job was to be on call to engage the enemy or secure information. The Force also served as the protection squad for the elite officers.Tino also participated in the Fleet Marine Force Pacific Drum and Bugle Team marching squad where he played the bugle. It was with the bugle team that Tino first came to Australia which he toured in 1962 both playing the bugle and exchanging ideas and practice on combative warfare which was part of a highly confidential military operation at the time. The team eventually finished up in Okinawa for four months and it was on his first trip to Tokyo that Tino met up with the legendary founder of Goju-Kai, Gogen Yamaguchi.In 1966, Tino arrived in Australia with his family and instantly initiated moves to introduce the relatively unknown world of Karate to the continent.Tino's martial arts style was well received here. Judo at the time was the mainstay martial art and it was everywhere and was everyone's ideal of a fighting technology. At the time, Karate was still nonexistent. Tino performed a demonstration at a local Judo club which was so well received he was asked to regularly perform demonstrations at all of the Judo clubs.From here the popularity of Karate just mushroomed. He would have as many as 60-100 people in a class.The style he taught was very hard. His reasoning for this was that at the time, people wouldn't really take on the likes of the ritualistic type of regimented training involving a lot of repetitions. So he gave them exercise as well which either made them or broke them and that was to sort out the mentally and physically strong from the weak. This hard style proved something as well. It made the name associated with the school a strong one and the school gained a high standing and became a strong foundation for what martial arts was going to be like in the future.

 

Bob Jones and Zen Do Kai

Bob Jones had his first taste of the martial arts in 1963. He watched a Kendo demonstration performed at the Melbourne Sports Depot, by Don Draeger. While he hadn't done any training in the martial arts, he was already working in security, bouncing at clubs.

He spent the next two years looking around everywhere for a good instructor. Eventually he started training with Jack Rezinsky, who was a brown belt training in Tae Kwon Do. Jack was the new found guru for Bob Jones from that point on, and that was in early 1965. That lasted for over a year till mid '66, when he heard of Tino Ceberano who was a third Dan and had just arrived from Hawaii.

After training in Goju for a while and competing in numerous tournaments, Bob felt that in the Goju system there was something lacking, and for what he was looking for he wasn't developing the true fighting spirit. At that point in time he wanted to make more contact. "I always had this desire to prove myself as a fighter".The original split from the Goju system in 1970 was purely to develop a system for his bouncers. He had a bouncer agency with more than 200 guys working for him, and they had been driving him crazy for four years, to teach them how to fight. So he started self-defence type classes for the bouncers and Zen Do Kai in its formation from the 1st June 1970, was initially designed to develop bouncers and a practical approach to fighting.In 1980 he introduced the Jet-Black system. He also dropped out most of the basic forms. He cut back from 2l kata, to only 4 kata to achieve black belt. In the early days he had bouncers who could really fight, and these guys used to love doing kata. By cutting back kata he sped up the system. In 1983 he developed the "F.A.S.T." (Freefighting-forms And Self-defence Tournaments) system, where he put a lot of emphasis on heavy competition. He made it the most competitive style in the country, in order to lift and improve the standard through regular competition. In l984 he dropped all the basics blocks, with the aim of again training people to fight from more practical postures, and applying techniques that work straight away.The underlying principle of Zen Do Kai is "The Best of Everything in Progression".

 

Gary MacRae and Kin Bushi Ryu

It was while in the army that Gary was first introduced to the martial arts. He began karate training proper in 1979 under the instruction of Ed Skipter an instructor of Bob Jones's style of karate, Zen Do Kai. Gary would travel from the army base at Woodside to Adelaide, up to four nights a weeks to pursue his passion. He excelled in the karate environment and immediately entrenched himself as a capable and persistent student.He opened his first karate school in the Aldgate District in the Adelaide Hills in March, 1981, as a Brown Belt and achieved his black belt the following month on ANZAC Day.Upon leaving the army in late 1981, Gary settled in Adelaide to continue his martial arts training and to follow his dream of becoming a professional instructor.Gary actually became an instructor almost by accident. His original motivation to start his class was just to assist a few of his army mates who also trained with him but had difficulty travelling from Woodside to Adelaide. As time went on the class grew in size and after just a few months he knew he had a natural ability to teach and it was the occupation he would like to make a career of.Through the early '80s with the help of his growing band of Black Belts, he established numerous other schools in and around Adelaide and interstate. Much of his personal training was done under Zen Do Kai's founding master Bob Jones. Gary would regularly travel from Adelaide to Melbourne where Bob Jones was based and spend time under his personal instruction.Gary describes Bob Jones as the most inspirational influence in his life and without a doubt the most celebrated martial artist in Australia.Bob Jones was so impressed with Gary's dedication and abilities that he became a confidant to Mr Jones and was summoned to assist him with numerous projects. In 1983 Gary assisted Mr Jones with the writing of a Zen Do Kai training and administrative manual. Gary is also credited as the pilot of what became Zen Do Kai's major merchandise outlet. During these early years hardly a day would go by that didn't involve some form of martial arts training. This included formal instruction in kickboxing, jujitsu, judo, aikido, kendo, iaido and other budo skills.In May 1985 Gary was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which threatened his continued participation in the martial arts. The accident left him with a broken neck and a severely broken arm. Not to be one to give in easily and with a residual disability in his arm, he fought his way back to 'full' fitness and successfully presented his 5th Dan grading in December, 1985.

 

The start of Kin Bushi Ryu

One particular aspect of the Bob Jones approach to martial arts was his perpetual alteration of techniques and grading requirements of his system of karate. While it is fair to say that this continual evolution bought Zen Do Kai to the cutting edge of martial arts, it did however eventually cause Gary to question whether or not this was what he wanted.The popularity of kickboxing, which Mr Jones introduced to Australia, did (in Gary's judgment) inadvertently diminish many aspects of Zen Do Kai that originally attracted and motivated him. Over the final years of the '80s Gary was in a constant tug of war between remaining loyal to the man and style he owed so much and the desire to take a different path. Gary was then and still is a strong advocate of the notion that martial arts should be more than the pursuit of ultimate combative methods or the endless accumulation of techniques. He believes that what really matters has nothing to do with elitist martial arts frolic but the spirit in which it is pursued.In December, 1990, Gary and his Instructors parted from Zen Do Kai to pursue the aspiration of sustaining a contemporary, self defence-oriented karate system with a foundation firmly based around classic martial arts beliefs of personal development. Kin Bushi Ryu is the result. Translated, it literally means 'The Golden Warrior School'.While some people have viewed this split as a renunciation of Bob Jones's organisation or methods, Gary insists that this is not the case and maintains an admiration and respect for his former master that parallels any of Mr Jones' previous apprentices.

 

Anthony Hudson and Kin Bushi Ryu

Anthony began training with the Golden Knights in the early 90's, after training in a number of other styles. Anthony was attracted to the range of techniques and the excellent instructors that were available.Initially, when Anthony joined the Golden Knights they were still teaching Zen Do Kai. After the split from Bob Jones, the style was renamed to Kin Bushi Ryu, which was closely based on the Zen Do Kai style of the 80's, and not the highly sport orientated style that it was becoming in the early 90's.Anthony was highly motivated by all that was there to be learnt and through his constant dedication he progressed quickly through the ranks. Anthony was given his original Dojo, Magill, around the time he completed his Shodan Ho grading, and since this time he has taught many black belts and fostered his belief that the martial arts is a vehicle to help people become better,more confident members of our community.

 

The start of Bushido Martial Arts

With an ongoing belief in the philosophy of Bushido which was shared with all of his instructors, Anthony and his instructors decided to follow a different path to that of the Golden Knights.For many years, Anthony and his instructors were concerned with a number of issues, and for some time they actively worked hard with the Golden Knights to address these issues, unfortunately without making any positive progress.Eventually the decision was made to formally leave the Golden Knights and on 6th Janurary 2009 Bushido Martial Arts was born.