History of Goju Ryu Kyudokan Karate
Goju-ryu 剛柔流, founded by Chojun Miyagi, is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate. Goju-Ryu, Japanese for “hard-soft style,” combines hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, diverting, and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws. Goju-ryu incorporates both circular and linear movements. Importance is also placed on breathing correctly, in addition to spiritual training methods that include body strengthening and conditioning.
David Morris Sensei デヴィッドモリス 先生 has over 40 years experience in Karate, more than 30 of which have been spent as a full-time karate teacher, indeed some of the karateka at his Kyudokan 求道館 school represent 2 or even 3 generations of the same family.
The Kyudokan is affiliated to Nihon Goju Ryu Karate Do 日本剛柔流空手道 which means it is a Bubishi linage school. The Bubishi is considered to be the ‘bible’ of Karate. Under the Nihon Goju Ryu Karate Do umbrella, the Kyudokan is connected to the Bubishi Kenkyukai 武備志研究会 - a study association dedicated to the teachings of the Bubishi.
David continues to travel to Japan to study under Yonemoto Kyoshi Sensei 米元先生 at his Seibukan Dojo 清武館 in Tokyo 東京.
Kyudokan, or kyu-do-kan, translates to “search for the way”. This is the essence of our karate, and most importantly our karateka, because only with the correct, authentic, guidance and, importantly, the freedom to explore one’s own path can we ever expect to reach true fulfilment and enlightenment in our studies.
Whilst many schools and karateka may believe the important journey is the path that leads them to their black belt; our philosophy is very different. At the Kyudokan, far from being the end of the journey, the attainment of the black belt, after many years of regular and dedicated training, represents the beginning of the true journey.
By far the biggest step of all though, is walking through the dojo doors for the very first time… We look forward to welcoming you.
Hannah’s journey to karate...
My daughter wanted to try Karate, she is autistic and has many other conditions including anxiety and hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). We tried some local karate sessions but in all of them her anxiety was too much to even try to take part. The sensory overload with noise, unfamiliar environment and the anxiety she was feeling made each trip unsuccessful and she was unwilling to return.
Then we found Kyudokan Goju Ryu Karate Do, we started making enquiries and chatting to the team, explaining the complexities of my daughter's various conditions and how they manifest in unfamiliar environments. After a lot of discussion, we went to a taster session, Hannah shutdown and was unable to take part, but the team were very supportive and understood. They let her take things at her own pace, never pushing her, and giving her the space to watch and learn.
After lockdown, a Sensei came to our house to help try to reintroduce Hannah to the sessions and do some 1:1 work with her. We got back into attending weekly again with Hannah not able to join in at the start but starting to stand at the back of the room and learn some techniques.
Then came the point that they thought she could do her first grading, again after discussion with us both and fully understanding her needs they came to the house and tested her there. This made all the difference, being in her own environment and not being put through the grading in front of everyone else. She passed!
This week we had a turning point that was 7 months in the making. Han was able to join in at the start of class for the first time! I have no doubt without the extra support, understanding and compassion of the team she would not have got this far. In fact that day she had been in a really low mood and been in bed all day. After the lesson she was buzzing. I was so proud of her and her mood was lifted. They make adjustments for her every week, they understand, they improve her mental health and wellbeing like nothing else does. But I know this comes at a cost to them. Hannah is going to need some more 1:1 sessions in the future to enable her to continue progressing.
Thank you to team Kyudokan, you are making such a difference to our lives, to the outcomes for my daughter and her sense of self-esteem and self-worth, as well as helping her to manage her hEDS by improving her core strength. Thank you for your patience and understanding and the extra lengths you go to, to include her.
Both of my sons are members of this fantastic Karate school.
Elliot (11) joined in March 2019 and Luke (13) in August 2019. They enjoy it immensely and I am very proud to say that they have earned their purple belts in this time. Elliot loves showing me (and anyone who will watch!) his Katas at home, and Luke is keen to become a junior instructor when the time comes.
I decided to join in November 2019, during what was a very difficult time for me personally. I can't understate how Karate has helped me.
The mental and physical focus was just what I needed and within a few lessons I could feel the benefits.
It speaks for itself that during these unprecedented times of the covid pandemic, not only has the club kept running - it has grown, with more training venues and lessons being added all the time.
Lessons are well structured, with a healthy mix of physical training, form practice, and application - all this, of course, is handled with social distancing precautions in place, and any contact is with other family members only.
There are a wealth of experienced instructors on hand and one thing you will constantly hear is; 'Are there any questions?' This very much a two way school with mutual respect and advice apparent in bucket loads. The instructors themselves run the school with just the right balance of discipline, humour and encouragement; which keeps the atmosphere family friendly.
I owe this school a huge debt, and if you are thinking of trying karate I can't recommend this club enough. It won't be easy, but you won't be disappointed.
The Kyudokan is what every Karate club should aspire to be!
Having practiced karate myself when I was younger, I knew it was something I also wanted my kids to do, and in turn signed my son up at just six years old.
To be honest he really needed to do something, a focussed outlet if you will; he was very active, perhaps a little too confident and was becoming a bit of a handful - always trying to fight his older brother and sisters - possibly ADHD, but definitely hyperactive.
It took me a while to find the right club. My previous experience of karate had not been overly inspiring and everywhere I looked the clubs seemed either too ‘commercial’ or too non-contact or even overseen by crazy people wanting to teach students unsafe techniques.
Kyudokan, however, was exactly what he needed. He soon calmed down and was able to focus his energy and his mind. His school work and behaviour improved immeasurably.
Through the years he always worked hard for each of his gradings. The club’s Senseis helped him so much whenever he needed it. We quickly became part of the Kyudokan family and made many new friends. The Kyudokan is so much more than just a Karate club...
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My son started Karate back in February this year and one of the best things we have ever done. My son expressed an interest in Karate and as a child I also attended some martial art classes and wanted something that would enable my son to be more active and spend less time on the games console. Harrison has now been doing Karate for the last 6 months and massively improved his confidence. In his nature he is quite shy but this has helped him grow as an individual and to mix with others with a great team spirit.
The club has been amazing all throughout lockdown with having zoom training sessions at the start and at times having one 2 one sessions. This then developed into training outside in small groups and all within strict guidelines with 5 students to 1 Sensei. I have since also joined as I was watching my son train and initially thought as an older person with a few health issues it would be too much. How wrong was I, don't get me wrong it's tough but I absolutely love it. We are now back inside in a very safe environment with social distancing covering 4 different locations and the value for money is excellent as we can train 1 to 4 times a week with one monthly fee.
The Kyudokan team is very professional and well organised and the app is so easy to use to book the Karate sessions. The teaching is brilliant with so many Sensei's to help with learning and development. Not only do we learn Karate but it's far more than that from the history of Goju Ryu Kyudokan Karate, discipline and ways we translate to everyday life. The team is incredibly passionate with what they do and this translates to the students.
I am very proud as my son Harrison who has recently graded with passing his green belt and of myself for passing my first grading - red belt. I really enjoy doing something together as a family but at the same time as an individual.
This club is amazing and highly recommend anyone wishing to start Karate from juniors to seniors.
I started my karate journey with David Morris Sensei in 1986, when I was 12 years old.
To say it had a profound effect on my childhood and early adulthood would be underselling it. In terms of confidence, physical development and spiritual focus it has been invaluable.
Over the years life has led me away from the dojo on a few occasions for a couple of years and at times, like most people's lives today, it has thrown some curve balls. It is with utter confidence that I can say that without my karate, my teachers' guidance, and the mental strength and determination that martial arts has given me, these curve balls would have beaten me.
At 46 I continue to study, still with Sensei Morris, and I hold Kyudokan karate in my heart; striving to use its philosophies and principles in all of life's everyday battles. For this Dave, I am truly grateful.
Thank you my friend.