What is “Karate”

Karate is a Martial Art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom.  The Japanese “Kara” means empty and “te” means hand. Therefore, karate translates as ‘empty hand’, the art of self defense without a weapon.

It developed from the indigenous martial arts of Ryukyu Islands (called te (?), literally “hand”; tii in Okinawan) under the influence of Chinese martial arts, in particular Fujian White Crane.  Karate is now mostly a striking art using punches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital-point strikes are also taught. 

Karate developed on the Ryukyu Islands in what is now known as Okinawa, Japan. It was brought to mainland Japan in the early 20th century during a time of cultural exchanges between the Japanese and the Chinese. It was systematically taught in Japan after the Taisho era.  In 1922 the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Gichin Funakoshi to Tokyo to give a karate demonstration. In 1924 Keio University established the first university karate club in mainland Japan and by 1932, major Japanese universities had karate clubs.  In this era of growing Japanese militarism, the name was changed from 唐手 (“Chinese hand” or “Tang hand”) to 空手 (“empty hand”) – both of which are pronounced karate – to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style.  After the Second World War, Okinawa became an important United States military site and karate became popular among servicemen stationed there.

Karate teaches us strength, courage and self-control. We become strong by training both our minds and our bodies. If we are respectful to our parents and pay attention to our teachers, our minds will grow and become strong. We become courageous by being kind to other people and respecting one another’s differences. We can also become more courageous by admitting our mistakes – even when we are afraid to do so. 4 True warriors or ‘karate-ka’ never allow themselves to be provoked into violence. We must always try our very best to walk away from a fight. By keeping our karate training for ourselves, we learn self-control.

At North Surrey Karate you will learn a dynamic and powerful martial art. You will learn how, through correct breathing, coordination of your own body and concentration, tremendous power can be achieved. You will gain mastery over your body which will help you in self defence situations in your everyday life. However, karate is much more than just the physical aspect. It is a complete discipline involving kokoro, the heart or spirit, and karate the physical body. Through the training of the body, we can discipline the mind and temper the spirit. The most important purpose of karate is to develop balance within ourselves so that we may express our true nature and become better human beings.


What is “Goju Ryu”

The style of Karate we teach at North Surrey Karate is Goju Ryu.  This is a Traditional Okinawan Style of Karate.

There are many students of karate, all which can trace their origins back to the island of Okinawa, Japan. However, originally there existed only three styles, each of which was named after the city in which is evolved. These are: Tomari-te, Shuri-te and Naha-te. The Tomari-te and Shuri-te styles were unified to form one school known as Shorin Ryu while Naha-te remained to its true form and became known as Goju Ryu. The Meaning of Goju Ryu According to oriental philosophy, to achieve harmony and order in the world, everything must express a balanced nature. So there is night and day, fire and water and so on. The founder of our style, Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi chose the name Goju Ryu based on precepts from the Chinese martial arts. Go means hard or resilient; Ju means soft or yielding. Therefore Goju Ryu translates as the hard-soft school. This refers specifically to both the technical characteristics of our style and to its underlying philosophy.

A great deal of pride is taken in being able to trace the lineage of instructorship and mastery of a particular martial art back to the individual grandmaster credited with founding that particular style.

Please read our pages on Kanryo Higaonna, Chojun Miyagi, An’ Ich Miyagi and  Morio Higaonna Sensei – you will gleam even more of the history and succession of our martial art from its Okinawan and Chinese roots at the turn of 19th Century to the present day.