Many Okinawans traveled to China to learn about the Chinese methods, then would return to Okinawa and combine their new learnings with the existing Okinawan fighting arts. This method became the basis for many of the styles which exist today. Anytime a person studies more than one style and becomes skilled enough to teach, and does not teach just one style but a combination of styles, he has the dilemma of what name to call it. To be totally correct, he cannot call it by either name, but instead must create a new name.
Shorei came from Hsing Yi and Kosho Karate Kempo or Shuri-Te. Hsing Yi was a combination of six Chinese arts: three hard, or external; and three soft, or internal. (External - Shaolin-chun, Chuan Pei, Hung Kun; Internal - Chuan-fa, Tai-chi-chuan, Pa-Kua.) Kosho Karate Kempo or Shuri-Te was the existing Okinawan art taught by Chojun Miyagi.
Robert Trias learned Shuri-Te and later Goju Ryu. In 1946, he incorporated some of the Goju Ryu katas into the Shuri-Te, which was the beginning of our system as we know it today.
Most of our basics can be traced to three different origins:
1) a study of basic science, learning how to apply the maximum number of muscles and the maximum body weight into each technique, which enables us to use the strength of our entire body against the weakness of our opponent;
2) a period in China when monks studied animal movement and tried to duplicate these movements in human beings so he could strike the acupuncture points used in Chinese medicine to attack the energy, or "Chi";
3) a period in Okinawa when all weapons had been confiscated, so they used their hands and feet as their knives, spears and clubs.
Our system represents the ancient theory of "No Limitations" of knowledge or technique. Many of today's styles are very limiting. For example, one style has only four hand strikes and four kicks, which were considered by one man to be the very best of all techniques. Another style has 70% kicking with very few hand strikes and was created as a sport to eventually be used in the Olympics. In these systems and many others, it is considered offensive to do anything which is not taught in that system.
Our style, on the other hand, contains every type of strike, block, kick, wrist lock, arm bar, sweep, take down or pressure point which can be used, giving the student the option of choosing which best fits his physique, personality, and situation. The style of Shorei Goju Ryu is so complete that it has something for everyone. One does not have to be tall and thin or short and stocky, or a top athlete to study this system. It is adaptable to every size and personality.
Written by: O’Sensei Herb Johnson 10th Dan