Okinawan Goju-Ryu is a traditional, hard-style karate. It is one of the most effective martial arts in which a person can train. The focus on training is for practical and effective self-defense. Class workouts focus on strength training to develop strong muscles for more effective punching and kicking. Okinawan Goju-Ryu is a close-in fighting style that focuses primarily on punching and blocking with very few kicks.
Each class begins with a workout such as push-ups, sit-ups and running, followed by stretching.
Classes then focus on practicing and perfecting basic techniques (kihon) such as blocking, punching and kicking drills. The goal of which is to build a solid foundation of techniques on which to grow.
We spend a good portion of each class performing your kata (forms), a series of pre-arranged movements designed to force the student to execute certain movements numerous times to achieve proficiency. Kata are essentially an imaginary fight with a series of punches, blocks and a few kicks. The kata are designed to build on one another in such a way that over time, the student will be routinely performing virtually every technique taught in Okinawan Goju-Ryu in every class. This repetition will help the student achieve a level of mastery that he or she wouldn’t be capable of achieving simply by running through the individual techniques over and over again.
Kata also have a practical application which is practiced through kata bunkai. This is when a kata is performed with a partner. Okinawan Goju-Ryu is unique in that it is one of the few styles that asks the students to actually apply the moves in the kata against a partner. Each person performs a section of the kata, trading off sections as they go, in order to see what the practical applications would be. This is designed to get the student accustomed to having a punch or a kick actually thrown at them in a controlled and safe environment. Students speed up the bunkai over time to the point where it is one non-stop, flowing series of moves.
Kiso Kumite is best described as a formal type of self-defense. Kiso is also a way to fill in the gaps left by kata and kata bunkai. Students will practice a formal series of moves with each punch by the attacker thrown directly to a target area, while the defender practices effective and realistic blocking and evasion, followed by a counter-attack. This ensures that both students are practicing their punches and blocks in a more realistic, yet safe and controlled manner.
Classes will usually end with sparring and/or self-defense. Sparring (kumite) is the application of the blocks, kicks and punches that were taught in class, in a free-flowing and yet controlled and safe environment. Students are required to wear the appropriate safety gear in order to participate in sparring.
Self-defense practice consists of escapes, locks and takedowns from body grabs such as wrist grabs, bear-hugs and chokes. It is designed to be a practical and efficient means of realistically protecting yourself. We focus on one specific type of self-defense each month so that by the time a student reaches the level of Black Belt, he or she is able to defend against virtually any attack.
Okinawan Goju-Ryu classes are traditional, formal karate classes. Typically classes have on average between 2-6 students with each student getting an abundance of individual attention in every class. They are small classes wherein a student can get much personal attention. While classes are challenging, Sensei Locke asks students to merely improve in each class. The training progresses from very hard, linear movements in the beginning to soft, flowing movements by the time a student reaches Black Belt. Goju-Ryu literally translates as the “Hard-Soft Style” and by the time a student reaches the level of Black Belt, he or she will just begin to understand what that name actually means.