OKINAWAN GOJU RYU
Traditional Karate-jutsu for the Modern Student
“Mankind has had 10,000 years of experience at fighting and if we must fight, we have no excuse for not fighting well.”
- TE Lawrence
SCHEDULE: Tuesdays 6:45-8 pm and Saturdays at 9:15-10:45 am
Kanso dojo at Edge Effect Fitness is rooted in the common ground between traditional Karate, modern athletic conditioning and personal defense concepts. Training focuses on the traditional aims of self defense skills and personal development. The dojo is located in a fully equipped boxing and martial arts gym with a range of functional training equipment and 1000 square feet of open mat space.
Goju Ryu Karate utilizes powerful striking, joint attacks, throws and takedowns to subdue or incapacitate an opponent. Diverse methods are used for physical development and skill development: strength and conditioning exercises, bag/mitt work, partner drills, technical practice and live/semi-live drills.
Training is open to individuals aged 16 years and older.
Students can expect classes to be vigorous and challenging, but in a friendly environment based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. A typical class will involve general strength and conditioning exercises, technical practice, partner work , and rounds of bag/pad work or iri kumi (controlled live practice).
Practitioners of other martial arts welcome. Ranks from other Karate schools will be observed on a case by case basis.
This is not a belt mill- promotions are not guaranteed by attendance, nor are they a big focus. There will be periodic opportunities for grading to yellow, green, brown and black belt ranks.
Interested? Come and watch a class. Students will need to purchase a white (plain-no patches) karate gi and also invest in their own personal training gloves and protective equipment. We are proud to offer high-quality Title training gear at affordable prices.
Kanso Training Packages
Classes are 75-90 minutes.
$0 Free trial class
$10 Daily fee per class
$85/month Two classes/week: Wednesdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 9:15 am
$105/month Kanso + Unlimited Group Training classes
$25/hour Private Instruction
$20/hour 4 or more private sessions
The Dojo is located at:
Edge Effect Fitness
785 Acorn Drive
Harrisonburg VA 22801
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why Karate-jutsu, not Karate-do?
In Japanese martial arts, the suffix of -jutsu refers to development of technique, while -do refers to a path of personal develpoment. At its core traditional Karate is a pedagogy of efficient fighting and self-defense skills. Karate (and other activities) can be a pursuit of self-development, but there is nothing about Karate that will instill discipline, character, etc. These non-utilitarian aspects of Karate only come about as a result of commitment to the utilitarian (i.e.., practical) aspects. Hard training, critical thinking, honest self-reflection, and mutual respect are prerequisites for -do, but -jutsu provides the foundation. The use of -jutsu here reflects this understanding, not the militant posturing that is often mistaken as a traditional approach.
Is there contact?
Controlled contact is a part of Karate, but this is not a full-contact class. We make sure that students can fall safely and have the ability to safely attack and defend before engaging in more dynamic training,
Where do kata fit in?
Kata are mnemonics for strategic use of techniques against common attacks. The movements represent attack/defense scenarios to practice as partner drills, which allows students to analyze the use of strikes, seizing and standing grappling in combination. Although solo practice has its place, applying the methods found in kata requires significant technical practice, conditioning, and drilling against resistance. Students may learn kata independently of one another. Our main body includes Sanchin, Tensho, Saifa, Shisochin, Seiunchin, Sanseru, Seisan, Kururunfa, Suparinpei, Naihanchi, Niseishi, Enpi, Kusanku dai, Jitte, and Passai dai.
"If you do not also utilize various training methods to strengthen and quicken the functioning of your hands and feet, as well as things like body-shifting and engagement distancing, you will be inadequately prepared when the need arises to call on your skills...If one seriously trains - and studies - with the intent of approximately fifty percent kata and fifty percent other things, one will get satisfactory results." -Kenwa Mabuni
Do I need to be in shape?
Yes. If you're currently out of shape we'll work on improving that. Martial arts absolutely require one to be in the best shape possible. We utilize periodized athletic conditioning programs to provide consistent, balanced physical training. A good goal is to develop the stamina to fight for a solid 5 minutes, and then repeat that again with minimal rest. There are several reasons for this:
The body needs to be durable and resilient enough to handle regular, intense training and avoid training-related injuries
Fitness optimizes your ability to execute powerful, efficient techniques
Fitness equips the body to better tolerate and recover from the physiological stress if an emergency situation
What about grappling and ground fighting?
Visit a reputable Judo or Brazillian Jiu-jitsu school. Karate is concerned with maintaining a standing position, and Goju Ryu has always made use of standing grappling techniques, throws and takedowns. However, Karate has not historically included ground fighting and grappling. Basic Judo ground work is included in our program as a contingency for regaining standing or controlling someone in ground situations. Beyond this, grappling is not our focus. Be skeptical of Karate programs and martial arts teachers that claim to also teach BJJ, Jiujitsu, etc. without a legitimate black belt and clear evidence of such a background. A good grappling instructor should have no hesitation to roll with his/her students.
What about competitions?
The dojo doesn't participate in karate competitions (on the observation that they don't often have much to do with actual karate) but students are welcome to on their own, and are especially encouraged to cross train and compete in other combat sports that allow participants to apply techniques against resistance.
Randy Simpson holds a 3rd dan in Karate. His approach is informed by ongoing research into Karate’s history and practices and sport science. His nearly two decades of training began in Shotokan/Shorin Ryu and progressed to Okinawan Goju Ryu, with cross training in Uechi Ryu. Simpson’s interest in training methods for performance and injury prevention specific to martial arts led him to earn a Master’s degree in Kinesiology (from ATSU), and the following certifications:
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM MMA Conditioning Specialist
RKC Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor
Rock Steady Boxing Coach
Functional Movement Screen Level 1
Simpson has cross trained extensively in Judo (competing in the VA State Games and earning a brown belt) and boxing. He is also a personal trainer specializing in hardstyle kettlbells, functional fitness and boxing/kickboxing fitness. Skills and training methods from these areas are included in training as appropriate. His approach to karate is guided by these observations:
Karate is first and foremost a fighting art motivated by practicality, simplicity, and efficiency.
Any benefits that come from Karate training depend on hard training, critical thinking, reflection, and mutual respect.
Evidence-based information is superior to popular myth or appeals to authority.
Traditions are useful insofar as they support these goals.
"You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do." -Gichin Funakoshi
Okinawan Karate developed from the blending of indigenous Okinawan martial arts and those of other Asian-Pacific cultures. Okinawa served for several centuries as a trade hub between many of these nations and had considerable exchanges with China and Thailand for much of that time. Written records indicate that a form of Karate was being practiced as early as the 17th century, and several historical European and Eastern sources mention Okinawans as skilled fighters with well-made weapons. Training focused on building a strong body and developing striking and standing grappling skills to subdue or incapacitate violent individuals. Until the early 20th century, Karate was practiced exclusively by members of the upper class- the Royal household and nobility, civil servants, and those involved in trade and political exchanges. Historical sources clearly show that Karate was not practiced by common citizens prior to the early 20th century- it was never developed by Okinawan peasants to fight Japanese Samurai using improvised weapons.
Early Karate practitioners were influenced by the Okinawan jiujutsu-like art of ti and many studied Chinese martial arts in Fujian or with Chinese living in Okinawa. Students typically learned from multiple instructors with their own various specialties and influences, and by this process several regional “styles” eventually developed with their own characteristic features. As Okinawa became modernized in the early 20th century Karate was introduced to the general population as PE, although many continued to practice it strictly as a fighting art. Ryu (schools) were formed by experts from across these eclectic regional traditions as Karate became a mainstream activity. Several of these ryu spread to mainland Japan and eventually to the rest of the world. Goju Ryu is one of the major modern schools to develop from the traditions of the Naha area.
Goju Ryu was developed by Miyagi Chojun, a student of Higashionna Kanryo who himself studied under several noted experts. As the son of a wealthy family, Miyagi was able to dedicate his life to all aspects of training. He sought out further instruction from other notable Okinawan masters of his time, trained extensively with local Chinese martial artists and traveled to China for research, studied Judo while in the Japanese army, and trained with his peers to compare and exchange knowledge. Miyagi eventually created the first officially recognized system of modern karate-do from these influences, adapting methods and concepts from traditional sources as well as modern physical education. His Goju Ryu (school of hard/soft) is respected as a comprehensive method of close-range fighting and self-defense skills.