MMA Root

Chojun Miyagi and the Introduction of the Kongo Ken to Goju Ryu Karate



Chojun Miyagi is one of the most important people in karate development today. He worked tirelessly throughout his life to spread the empty hand art around Okinawa and mainland Japan. During this period he survived the Battle of Okinawa, not only physically but also emotionally after losing a son, his top student – Jin’an Shinzato – and many other friends and trainees in the fight along with two daughters on a full evacuation ship headed to Kyushu. After the American invasion he lost enticing records he kept of the history of his art despite great efforts to keep them safe.

Miyagi received a direct hot transmission (the original word used by Okinawans to describe, at least in part, what would later be called karate) from his teacher Kanryo Higaonna who himself learned to fighting style from Chinese master Ryu Ryu Ko in Fujian province, China. Ryu Ryu Ko taught the practice of the Sanchin kata primarily along with various methods of body conditioning. These training methods were basic types of weight training designed to stretch and strengthen the body and are known to Goju ryu karate practitioners as hojo undo. Tools originally used in hojo binding include the nigiri match (bite jars), the chi ishi (laden stones placed at the end of a thick stick) and the sashi ishi (large stone weights).

Initially, the kongo ken was not used in hojo binding and the origin of the instrument is not in Okinawa or China, but on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in Hawaii.

By 1926 Chojun Miyagi was long established as a respected martial artist on Okinawa in particular but also more and more among mainland Japanese practitioners as well. That year Miyagi alumnus Chinyei Kinjo, president of the newspaper Yoen Jihosha, which published Hawaii, invited Miyagi to Hawaii in the hope that his presence and training would help the self-esteem of Okinawan immigrants. improve there who suffered there who suffered there to improve. from discrimination. The master left in April or May and stayed for almost a year.

Miyagi seems to have been very comfortable in Hawaii, which is very similar to Okinawa itself. He was welcomed with great respect and enthusiasm and was able to expel not only Okinawans but also Filipinos, Hawaiians and even some Westerners. One of the people he taught was the famous judo expert and pro-wrestler Okishikina. The latter introduced Miyagi to some of his Western wrestler friends and as a result he became one of the greatest professional fighters and appeared to be scouring in pain after introducing himself and trying to test Miyagi ‘s strength by squeezing her hand tightly … but get the same treatment later when it was explained to Miyagi that the warden wanted to test her strength.

The result of the trip to Hawaii and the revelation to Hawaii smokers is that Chojun Miyagi returned with the training device known as the kongo ken. While the Hawaiians used a fuller steel ring, Miyagi made it longer and closer to the human body. Today the kongo ken is still used by those who train with traditional hojo cancellation kits.

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