Goju karatedo is the “style” of karate that we teach and practice at our dojo. The two characters are simple: 剛 “go” means hard, direct, straight, rigid, and powerful; 柔 “ju” means soft, circular, from an angle, flowing, and fast.
Historically, Goju karatedo is one of the most fundamental and traditional schools of karate, and still retains much of the influence of Chinese martial arts (the “ju” part), much of the native Okinawan martial arts, and of course, adds more modern Japanese influences (the “go” part).
Goju [Pronounced "gō" as in the English "to go fast" and "Joo”]
However, aside from this, there is a much more important and philosophically richer meaning to the name of our school and style: 剛柔 teaches us that all of life, all of nature, and on many levels, the universe itself is a constant balance and a constant contradiction of Hard/Soft, Powerful/Fast, Rigid/Flexible. We see this many times in everything from the design of vehicles and computers to the relationships that we have with our partners and our friends. Goju teaches us both the reason that things are as they are, and to appreciate that.
Goju reminds us both for the need for balance, and for the need to understand that this balance is a necessary, and in many ways, a wonderful, thing. This contradiction gives us a deeper understanding into the “why” of things – why does a job pay such a good salary (Gō), but demand so much hard work (ju), and why must you work hard (Gō) to get the rewards that you wish (ju)? The reason of course is because there exists a balancing relationship between hard work and reward.
Goju also gives us a deeper appreciation of the things that exist – for example, if a friend that is such a wonderfully sensitive and caring person (Gō) is also easily upset (ju), it is important for us to accept that these two parts of the same person must exist – we cannot have what we desire and is pleasant, and not also accept and appreciate the part of this person that goes hand-in-hand with it, and possibly even makes that trait we desire possible.