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Chojun Miyagi was born in the district of Higashi-machi, Naha on April 25,
1888. He was the second son of a local aristocrat family and well liked by
everyone. His father Chosho Miyagi was an importer/exporter who owned
two ships that made regular trips to main land China.
Chojun began his training at eleven in Shuri-Te. When he was fourteen he
became a student of Naha-Te master Kanyro Higoshionna (You can read
O'Sensei story about Higoshionna on page 51 of his book). The training
was extremely difficult, with a lot of running and strength exercises. Chojun
practiced harder than any other student of Higoshionna. He eventually
became "uchi deshi" which means private disciple. After his master's death he traveled to China in 1915 and trained at the Shaolin Temple for two years.
Chojun started teaching in 1917 and opened his first dojo in Naha. He also taught at the Okinawan Prefecture Police Training Center, the Okinawan Master's Training College and at the Naha Commercial High School (where his teacher once taught). He combined what he learned in China with Naha-Te to form a new style. In 1930 he named his style Goju-Ryu meaning hard-soft style. He taught a simplified version to the general public but taught his full version to a select few students at his home. He worked hard to spread his style throughout Okinawa and Japan and introduced karate to Hawaii on 1934. In 1946 he was appointed Okinawan Civil Association of Physical Education.
Chojun was a mild mannered, humble man. You can read two stories about him in O'Sensei's book on page 55. He died on October 10, 1953 of what was believed to be a heart attack.
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