Morio Higaonna Sensei on Russian TV Chanell Fighter

Morio Higaonna Sensei on Russian TV Chanell Fighter


Hello Dear Friends. You watch tv show extra
round. And i am Bogdan Kurilko Today is very important day becose my guest
grate Master of Karate and my Teacher Morio Higaonna Sensei. Your visit is a great event for me and I hope for all the spectators of our channel. It is also a great honor for me to be invite Sensei, and the first question is: how did you start learning karate? How old were you, what kind of style was it and why did you finally choose Goju ryu? I was fourteen years old. My father’s friend practiced karate. And one day, watching him
train his students, I thought: what a great thing! And at that very moment I realized
I wanted to practice karate. So my father’s friend trained me from time to time. He taught
me basic karate elements, leg and hand strikes. I was only fourteen; I was studying at high
school. When I was sixteen I began practicing karate seriously. My father practiced Serin
ryu, but I started practicing Goju ryu when I was sixteen years old. Goju ryu master — Miyagi
Chojun sensei lived not that far– only five minutes walk from my place – that was the
reason he started training me. Who was your Goju ryu teacher? Who passed
on the karate knowledge to you? Soon after I started practicing Goju ryu,
sensei Miyagi Chojun passed away. And one of his first students, Miyagi Anichi sensei
became my teacher. He taught me everything from the very beginning. Could you, please, tell about the Goju ryut rainings? What were they like: hard and rough?
Are they different from the trainings that are carried out today in Goju ryu dojos all
over the world? We started with jumbi undo — these are some
special exercises to warm up and prepare your body. Then we were practicing hojo undo — to
strengthen the body when moving with ninirigama. These special hardening exercises we practiced
with the help of different devices. Then we performed kata Sanchin and basic techniques. Did you practice sparring when you started training Goju ryu in Okinawa or was it only
kata and yakusoku with a partner? Well, frankly speaking we did not practice
sparring. We used only basic kumite with established rules and regulations. But this kumite itself
was pretty rough. Though it presupposes a standard sequence of moves, such as: one partner
attacks another and the second one defends and fights back. These were a full force strikes,
in earnest. We did not try to hold in the strikes, it was really hard. But we didn’t
practice sparring anyhow. I’m sure you remember the students who have
trained with you, especially those who were really fast, stern and relentless with their
young partners. Of course, my teacher, Miyagi Anichi I remember
the most. He beat me really strong when I was performing Sanchin Kata. And I also remember
Higa Saburo. He was very strong, so strong he could break a makiwara. When we were performing
some exercises together to strengthen the arms, it was really painful. There also was
Matoya-san. He liked practicing sparring very much. When we practiced kumite exercises with
standard moves it was…. We fought strongly and were unable to stop and as a result we
got injuries and traumas. I owe much to Matoya-san, although I didn’t like him much at that time
because our trainings turned into cruel fights very often. But I got a very good hardening
— I weighed a little over 60 kg, and he — more than 100 kg Today karate is divided into sport and traditional.Speaking of sport karate everything seems
pretty clear. The main goal of it is to win in competition. But what about the traditional
karate practice? The goals of sport karate are victory, champion’s
title, facing different opponents. But traditional karate — it is karate which may be practiced
during the whole life. And here kata exercises are the centre of everything. Kata is a very
special duel, you duel yourself. In kata you should practice different techniques over
and over to master yourself. It’s a very hard work. Of course training in sport karate is
hard as well. But in traditional karate it’s not easier. You try to perfect your kata,
honing your every move, and you repeat it again and again, more and more for two, three,
four hours… It’s hard to practice both sport and traditional karate, but traditional karate
is your training till the end of your life. There is no place here for retirement or end
of career. Nowadays many people are interested in the
history of karate. Thanks to your books, interviews and articles lots of know that the roots of
karate can be found in China. You have been to China several times. And you have been
performing researches into Okinawan karate history. Have you discovered any Okinawan
roots of karate in China? And what do you think which Chinese styles are the basics
of Okinawan Goju ryu karate? I went to China for the first time in 1981.
I went there to find some information about MiyagiChojun’s teacher — Higaonna Kanryo
and about the Chinese master, who was the teacher of Higaonna Kanryo. But unfortunately
I didn’t find out anything. I also didn’t find anything about kata. Even in 1915 when
Miyagi Chojun sensei visited China, the roots of our kata were not discovered. It turned
out that goju ryu kata did not exist. It looks like Chinese bujitsu has been developing
a lot since then and has been improved and modernized. So I didn’t find any information
about Higaonna Kanryo, the founder of our school. But in different areas of South East
Asia I was lucky to find some kata with the same names like in our school: Sanchin, Suparinpei….
When I was performing my kata in public, local masters often recognized some kata. They said:
“It’s sanchin…” There are many ushu styles in China: Crane style, Tiger style. It’s obvious
that there are Crane and Tiger style elements in our style. I can say that Tiger style underlies
at the root of Goju ryu karate, however the Tiger style katas are absolutely different.
I’m sure that in the past 100 years Chinese masters have redeveloped their kata.
But I try to continue doing my researches. I’ve been to China more than a dozen times
performing katas and observing the Chinese masters of Crane and Tiger styles perform
them. I still haven’t found who “Ryuryuko” was — the teacher of Higaonna Kanryo sensei.
During my first visit to China in 1981 I found out that the Chinese have been practicing
shime for kata Sanchin control with different punches and kicks. And they also had some
special exercises with a partner which we called “kakie”. They named Sanchin “Papuren”.
When you do it you are slapped from the front and back. Kakie Chinese named “kakye”. So
these are the similarities I have found. I had an answer and I concluded that our school
belongs to Fujian ushu tradition. At your invitation, I was lucky to witness
the signing of an agreement with Futszy Wushu Association. As a result of this event Dojo
Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate-do was opened in Futszy. Why are the Chinese so interested in Goju
ryu? After all, they have their own martial arts styles like: crane, tiger and many more… So… Fujian Karate Association was founded about three years ago to spread karate. Then
a museum was opened in memory of Higaonna Kanryo in Fujian. It was founded by a student
of our head master Hong Kong. The museum was opened in a huge rented building so karate
started attracting a lot of people. I have one student from Fujian in my dojo
now. I had two students some time ago, but one of them got sick and returned home. But
the other has been training with us for three years nearly. I think he’ll get his black
belt this year. He has a great interest in karate. I think the point is that Fujian ushu
is the basis of karate. Sensei, as far as I know you are writing a
book about Okinawan Goju ryu karate History. And everyone who is practicing this style
is impatiently looking forward to this book. When will it be published?
Actually I published one book about Okinawan Goju ryu karate History long time ago. It
was published firstly in English, I do not remember exactly when. And three or four years
ago it was published in Japanese. Frankly speaking, I have to say that in Japanese edition
there were some things that I was not allowed to write about. There are some private aspects
about Higaonna Kanryo’s life which I’m not allowed to write in Japanese. But I mention
them in English edition. Higaonna Kanryo went to China to study martial arts because he
wanted to avenge for his father who was killed in a fight. He was about 15-16 years old at
that time. I was asked not to write about it in the Japanese edition. I also want to
say that I’m performing research into the historical facts and if I find out something
I’ll certainly include it into my next book. Sensei, you are 75 years old but you are in
a good shape. Please, describe your usual day. How often do you train? Are your trainings
the same like they were 20 years ago or are they different? Before I turned 50 I used to train in the morning and evening every day approximately
for 7-8 hours. Nowadays I am training 3 hours daily, but my trainings became more informative
and meaningful. I practice kata mainly. It’s Sanchin and some others. We have 12 kata so
I’m practicing 4 or 5 of them during a week, the ones I prefer. Of course I repeat the
other kata, but I concentrate only on several of them. Kata exercises take main part in
my practice. Sensei, your hands are in the best shape I’ve
ever seen. Following your example I also pay a lot attention to hands hardening. In your
opinion, is it a must for those who practice karate seriously to strengthen hands and fingers?
We have different defensive leg and hand strikes in karate. You have to strengthen your hands
if you want to use these strikes effectively. It’s because we do not strike our partner
when we perform kata, we just punch the air so you never know how effective your strikes
are. That is why we hit makiwara, slamming our fists into it; we strengthen our palm
edge hitting a stone. Thus we are able to feel and understand whether our strikes are
effective enough or not. It is something you cannot get when you just perform kata, punching
the air. The methodic is as follows: first you practice kata strikes, punching the air,
then you strengthen your strikes, hitting different type of devices for this purpose.
Finger strikes are well trained with the help of pebble hitting. This is the most important
focus in my trainings now. Younger karatists also practice warm-up and training exercises,
strengthening exercises, basic methods and sparring. All of these methods take time.
I am 75 years old now and I cannot say I am really good at kata. There are still things
I have to practice, I feel the lack of efficiency that is why I practice kata and hit different
type of devices. I still dare myself. Speaking of young people, I would give such piece of
advice: Train kata, basic techniques, basic and traditional bunkai, practice strikes on
devices, explore the possibilities of interpreting the basic elements in their application, and
so you will grow your skill. As to oyo bunkai, a variable application of the basic elements:
the more you explore, the more your limits are expanded. There is a huge space here for
research and development. It is very important for learning self-defense. Of course you also
have to practice sparring irikumi. Thus you will get stronger and by the time you turn
60-70 years old, you will have understood the importance and meaning of kata and you
will focus on the most important thing: kata practicing. Meanwhile, you are still very
young, dear Bogdan, you are only 45 and there are still things you can work on. Consider
it as my personal advice to you. Thank you, sensei
You are welcome I’ve been practicing karate under your guidance
for about 20 years, but I still feel like I’ve just started, because many things have
become clear only now. I feel like I’m only at the beginning of the way. iI also want to wish you to educate good students,instructors in the future
Thank you, sensei You are welcome Speaking of students by the way… in Okinawa,as far as I know if a person wanted to be
admitted to dojo and train, he had to have a recommendation at least. Furthermore, people
who came to dojo were well aware of reigi — karate etiquette. Nowadays things are different
and karate is practiced all over the world. Karate is practiced by much more people today
than it was many years ago in Okinawa. How to deal with people who not only come to dojo
without any recommendations but who have no idea why they come there and for what reason
and purpose? It’s a very good question. It’s very important
to explain the karate etiquette to the beginners and teach them. Etiquette in Japan is a special
way to show respect to the partners, it’s often a bow. Etiquette should be taught firstly.
To tell the truth there are people who take etiquette seriously, but there are those who
don’t. But what we talk about here is karatedo — the way of karate. And there is a very
deep sense here. Karatedo is a system of spiritual education. Everything starts from the education
of spirit and etiquette is the first step towards it. Bows, etiquette rules show the
spirit condition. That’s why we pay a great attention to the etiquette — the way your
boots should be put near the door, how to greet your teacher when you enter the dojo
and when you go out. Rei — the etiquette — is the face of your spirit. It is very
important. Etiquette is a start in karate do. Starting and finishing kata with a bow
are not accidental. I’d like to remind you, Bogdan-san, it’s important that you teach
your students the manners and etiquette order. If you show respect and take these rules seriously,
they will follow you. It’s important to teach students the etiquette from their earliest
years and through the whole life. Only then you’ll bring up outstanding karatekas. It’s
a must to teach the etiquette, how to bow when you stay or sit on the floor and other
things. Sensei, you are the person who brought Goju
ryu Karatedo to Russia and introduced it to people of this country. Last year it was exactly
20 years since your first seminar in Russia. What do you think about the level of Russian
karatekas today? Russian karatekas are very strong physically.
They have strong arms and legs. And as a result their strike is very strong. They are strong
mentally too and have martial spirit. I was pleased to notice it. They impressed me by
their concentration, attentiveness and excellent More than 200 persons have taken part in the
seminar. And there are not only those whopractice goju ryu style, there are some other
students. Many guys from Kyokushinkai karate, a great high-strength karate style, have visited
this event. I have a lot of students who practiced Kyokushinkai style before. And they had high
level, different dan grades in Kyokushinkai. In your opinion why did Okinawa Goju ryu Karate
become so popular among those who practice different sport karate styles, like Kyokushinkai?
Well, you know… My dojo is also visited by Kyokushinkai members from time to time.
Most of them are very interested in kata, basic technique and strengthening system.
They mainly show interest in exercises with chishi, nigirigama, how to practice Sanchin
and yakusoku kumite. In Okinawa people are taught to relax with the help of special exercises.
And I think the most interesting thing is a special way to use the power from tanden,
the centre of energy and strength in our body, to strike strongly. Much attention to the
power from tanden is paid in Chinese Ushu styles, like Crane Fist, Tiger Fist, it also
helps to make your spirit strong. Probably that is the main reason Goju Ryu attracts
interest but movements are similar everywhere…. There are many religious people in Russia.
And sometimes I’m told by parents who bring their children to karate trainings that they
are anxious a little, because they are Christian believers and they think their child is being
converted to Buddhism and taught meditation practice. I wonder if there is a connection
between karate and faith, religion. And what can we answer to such parents? Miyagi Chojun — the founder of Goju Ryu Karate
practiced meditation sometimes. It is because the main sense of karate is movement and you
have no time to think and to look inside yourself. Karate is a physical training, but sometimes
we use meditation to find the sense of our experience. I think all the religions are
splendid, Christianity and Islam. Religion acquired wisdom of the human race and I think
that faith in God is a great thing. And any religion helps you look inside yourself. I
don’t think there is a better or worse religion, I think all of them are wonderful.
In one of your books I’ve found a term ‘uchideshi’. Could you please explain who is uchideshi?
Firstly uchideshi was a student who lived at his teacher’s place and received daily
lessons from his Master. It was guidance. Those lessons were not only about karate,
they included different life aspects and rules, for example how you should eat, what love
is and etc. It was a system of well-rounded education, with a broad educational background;
it was not only a karate practice. Probably Miyagi Anichi could be named uchideshi. He
lost his father early and spent whole days from morning till evening at his teacher’s
house. He cleaned up the house, brought water, cooked, and of course, he trained. He went
back home late after midnight. So even though he didn’t live with his teacher I think he
was uchideshi. He learned everything from Miyagi Chojun. He learned how to live. As
a matter of fact karate was their life. Today there are many-many people in the world
who practice Okinawa Goju ryu Karatedo. It’s exactly your style, sensei. And I understand
very well how hard it is to educate because I’m teaching Goju Ryu too. At first students
visit dojo as if they came to a fitness club. It will take some time till they become karate
students and realize the true sense of karate and how serious it is. Do you have students
who are very close to you? May be you can’t call them uchideshi, it’s not possible to
invite everyone to your place, but is there anyone who you think is very close to you,
sharing and supporting your ideas and principles? I have many students who practice karate seriously,
though they could not be named uchideshi. Higaonna Dojo — my own dojo in Okinawa — is
not very big and not many students visit it. There are three groups there — for children,
for adults and a special rehabilitation group for those who are over 30, 40, 50 and even
60 years old. I train only adult group and Kuramoto sensei is responsible for two other
groups.. Uehara sensei helps me very much too. Though I can’t call them uchideshi, but
Kuramoto and Uehara practice karate very seriously, they spend with me every moment of the day.
I think we can’t use “uchideshi system” in nowadays life and conditions. Everyone has
a job, family. Life has become much more complicated that it used to be in former times. I think
“uchideshi system” is hard to apply nowadays because everyone has his own life, goals and
ideas, his views on karate. That’s why it’s important to create in dojo special conditions
which will help students to concentrate on the practice.
There are a lot of competitions in sport karate today and they can be divided into two parts:
kumite competitions and kata competitions. In kumite everything is clear. But I think
kata competition is a little bit strange thing… What is your opinion about it?
I think carrying sport competitions in kata is useful for schoolchildren and students
of universities. It is another good reason inspiring their trainings. Among other things
competitions will give an opportunity to communicate with different sportsmen who practice other
styles and a sportsman should work really hard to win. From this point of view, competitions
became a really useful thing. Long ago when I lived and worked in Tokyo,
I trained my students for the competitions. We worked hard for the victory. Among those
sportsmen I trained there are Japanese champions. But some of them who still has been training,
have a very high level, and it’s higher than it used to be when they were champions. When
we talk about karate we say that traditional karate — it’s a karate which is practiced
your whole life. But competitions are only one step and only one of the means to achieve
your goal. The real goal is not a victory in competitions. The real goal has a spiritual
side. I think sport karate helps gain the results in the traditional practice. When
your sport carrier is over you will start shyogai karate — karate you will dedicate
your whole life to. It’s a real sense. But if you’ve decided to take part in competitions,
it’s not bad and there is no problem here. Sensei, I heard Okinawa was named “the Island
of long-livers”. And as far as I know there is a ceremony of ordination into adulthood
only for those men who reach the age of 60 years old. Indeed, Okinawa has the most number
of people who are over 100 years old nowadays. What makes Okinawa, your native island, so
special? It’s a complicated question… And recent
data indicates of life expectancy have shown that Okinawa takes the third place. So Okinawa
has lost a little. There are many reasons…. your food, work in stress situations. Many
years ago the way of life in Okinawa was softer and more relaxed. People didn’t take pay attention
to small troubles and took things easier. Living conditions and environment were better
then now. And people were very friendly, sociable. They liked discussing different things. But
now interpersonal relationship became more complicated, it’s all because of stress…
In former times Okinawa was a small calm and friendly place. But now social life is more
complicated…. We can find many long-livers in outskirts,
in villages, for example in Ginowan (Ginowan-shi). There are lot of women there who are 90, 100
years old and they are still working in the fields and gardens. I’ve seen a broadcast
about such village recently, it was about women in the vale of years, and how they are
talking to each other, working, how friendly they are.
It’s clear they are not stressed. I think I should study this question much deeper…
And you know, I’ve just remembered one more thing. There are no fences between different
domains in Okinawa and people can communicate and discuss something with each other. You
can borrow some rice, vegetables or soy sauce if you don’t have enough. Thus friendly relationships
are formed. We don’t have fences for a reason. And in the evening people walk together, drinking
avamori, our national vodka, singing and dancing. It creates very good and wonderful conditions
for life, and I think it’s the most important thing. It’s
common in Okinawa to greet even a stranger. And the sense of greeting is a question: “have
you eaten today?” Japanese usually ask “How are you feeling?”, but we: “Have you eaten
today?” — it is because we are happy to share our food.
I hope one day we’ll live the same way Okinawan people do, and there will not be fences between
our fields and we also will be happy to help each other.
Sensei, thank you very much!!! You are welcome
Domo arigatou gozaimasu!!!!

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3 thoughts on “Morio Higaonna Sensei on Russian TV Chanell Fighter”

  • Александр Благов says:

    Диалог на очень выверенном балансе. Обращает внимание достоинство Б.К. , которое не унижает и не возвышает ни одного, ни другого собеседника. Понимаю, что переведенный текст доработан, но это только формирует общую картину. Выглядит как тренировочный спарринг, по заданию, без обманов, финтов… Два Мастера. Осу.

  • Александр Благов says:

    Простите за то, что дал какую-то оценку, полагаю многие не оставляют комментарии ввиду правильного понимания этикета.

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