VISITING THE DOJO
The Shinwabukan is not like karate clubs or ‘studios’ you might have seen. Traditional in its ethos and focus, the purpose built dojo is located at my home. Therefore it is not possible to just turn up for a look unannounced. That said, prospective students are more than welcome to make contact (email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0428201952) and arrange a time to visit and/or try Okinawan Goju ryu Karate Do.
Training times are 6.00-8.00 pm Mondays and Thursdays, and alternate Saturday mornings.
Beginners and advanced students older than 12 years are welcome to inquire.
There are also periods of more intense training (shugyo) during the year which allow the student to explore their art (and themselves!) in greater depth. Several months notice will be provided so students can make the necessary arrangements.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Chojun Miyagi Sensei admonished ‘one should not eat from karate‘. My dojo is not a business, and there are no training fees. Students are asked to contribute $150 per year to a small fund for dojo maintenance/business. This is due each January or on joining the Shinwabukan.
DO I NEED TO BE VERY FIT OR STRONG TO STUDY GOJU RYU KARATE?
No. Provided you have no medical issues that are likely to be aggravated by training in Goju Ryu Karate Do (if in any doubt please talk to your medical professionals), you can come along and begin with what you are able to handle. Studying a martial art is a long term project; all you need to do is begin, and keep going.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE TRAINING
Training at the Shinwabukan focuses on Budo (the Martial Way) karate. While Goju Ryu is a civilian self defense system it is also a means to self development and personal growth. This is what is referred to when you hear words like ‘Do’ (Way) in Karate Do (or for that matter Ken-Do, Sho-Do etc).
Training addresses three areas; Attributes, Techniques and Skills. First, the development of the attributes necessary for studying Goju Ryu (e.g. strength, flexibility) is required, then techniques contained in the system of basics (kihon), drills (renzoku) and kata, and then the skills to analyse, understand and deploy techniques effectively (partner work, bunkai/oyo, kumite). Generally speaking, the emphasis for beginners will be on the development of attributes, with some tuition in technique. As the attributes are developed, technique will play a greater role. Over time and regular practise, one may develop skills.
Like spokes on a wheel – the Goju Ryu Karate Do has five main parts; Junbi Undo (preparation), Hojo Undo (exercises with kigu [tools] like strength stones and makiwara), Kata (forms), Kihon (basic techniques), Bunkai/Oyo (partner work such as kumite, drills etc). All are necessary for the study of Goju Ryu; none may be omitted.
WHAT WE DO NOT DO
I have nothing but respect for the achievements of athletes involved the versions of karate modified for sport (kyogi). I have been involved in tournaments myself, but I do not teach or practice sport karate (kumite or kata) for personal and technical reasons. If your wish is to compete in tournaments, I can supply the names of instructors who are very experienced in this area and will no doubt help you on this path.
I hope you will come and try Goju Ryu Karate Do.
All the best, Justin.
*By way of an introduction to the difference between a club and a dojo, I paraphrase the revered Okinawan founder of Matsubayashi-ryu Karate Do, Shoshin Nagamine ‘Ethics of the Dojo‘
- First, purify your mind.
- Cultivate the power of perseverance by strengthening your body and overcoming the difficulties that arise during training.
- The dojo is the place where courage is cultivated and superior human natures are nurtured through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work. It is the sacred place where the human spirit is polished.
- While seniors and black belts are well aware of these facts, all contribute. Therefore beginners are requested to help in making the dojo a sacred place by keeping in the mind the above precepts and observing the following:
A. Always keep karate-gi (uniforms) clean, and yourself clean and presentable for training.
B. Assist by cleaning the dojo, and general maintenance of the equipment, gardens and genkan (entry way) when required.
C. Become well acquainted with etiquette and attitudes required for karate training as soon as possible.
D. Be sure to clean and place equipment back where it belongs after use.