Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流), (Japanese for “hard-soft style”) is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Both principles, hard and soft, come from the famous martial arts book “Bubishi”, used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries. Go which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; Ju which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements.
Major emphasis is given to breathing correctly in all of the katas but particularly in the Sanchin kata, which is one of the core katas of this style. Goju ryu practices methods that include body strengthening and conditioning, its basic approach to fighting (distance, stickiness, power generation, etc.), and partner drills. Goju ryu incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum. Goju ryu combines hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns and throws.
Goju-ryu is a combination of Okinawan Te which is hard and Shaolin Chuan, Kung-fu which is soft. It has an emphasis on the White Crane style of Kung-fu as well. There were other Chinese systems that influenced, including Pakua and Tai-Chi Chuan.
Goju is not like many of the other martial arts available today. It does not have the high-flying kicking techniques like Tae Kwon Do. It does not use the same throwing techniques of Aikido. It is a unique art that deals with the defensive and offensive opportunites that could present themselves in a real-life situation. Everything you learn in Goju Ryu has a specific “street” application, nothing is wasted.
Sensei Adrian Williams
Sensei Adrian Williams is the head instructor of Three Trees Karate. Having previously studied both Aikido and Tang Soo Do, he began studying Goju Ryu with the Goju Ryu Budo Kai (GRBK) in 2001, earning his 1st degree black belt in 2004.
As a protoge’ of Sensei Don Douglas of the GRBK in Nevada, Missouri, Sensei Williams began teaching Goju Ryu in 2004 and earned his 2nd degree black belt in 2005. Currently a 4th degree black belt, Sensei Williams is a now one of a small handful of students studying directly with Hanshi Angel and continues to be affiliated with Goju Ryu Budo Kai, Baker Martial Arts and the National College of Martial Arts, training with them on a regular basis.
In addition, Sensei Williams studies Okinawan Kobudo (weapons) as a student of Sensei Nick Flores of George West, TX. Sensei Flores was one of the most senior students (and one of the only live-in students) of Seikichi Odo, known world-wide for his expertise with Okinawan weaponry.
Our goal for all students is to continuously grow and strive to be better today than we were yesterday. Whether that vision be applied to martial arts, school, work, or just everyday life, each is equally important to our life balance.
In relation to martial arts, it is said that white belt is the beginning of the journey, but black belt is the beginning of understanding. We strive to get each student to the point of understanding and continuing on in their growth in Goju-ryu.
It includes basic strikes, blocks, kicks which are collectively known as “Kihon” (Key-Hone). From there, we progress into combining these elements into pre-defined sets of movements known as “Kata” (Kah-Tah). As we build a solid foundation in Kata, we learn more about the practical application of the movements, this is called “Bunkai” (Boon-Kai) and sparring or “Kumite” (Coom-i-tay).
This curriculum is designed specifically for 7-12 year old children. There are 20 belts in the Children’s curriculum. The required techniques are the same for everyone, but they are spread out to give more time to understand and physically learn the movements. Having more levels allows each child to advance at a rate that is exciting and builds confidence and helps with character development. Through this curriculum, at the 10th level, the student will transition into the adult ranking system.
Traditional Adult Karate
There are 10 belts to black belt in the adult curriculum. Black belt is high-level of success, but the training does not stop there. There are 10 belts in the black belt program as well. Weapons are also taught at this level. Each day is a stepping-stone, taking you to the next level of learning.
Women's Self Protection
Several times throughout the year we hold women’s self protection seminars. Self Protection instruction for women is not considered Karate training, and you don’t have to be a black belt to learn basic self protection moves. The goal is to help you develop a successful plan now, before something happens…or before something happens again!
What you can expect to learn are safety tips to prevent assaults, easy-to-learn physical skills that create pain and the opportunity for safe escapes, and how to add additional self-protection with non-lethal weapons.
Once a student learns the basics and earns their 1st stripe on their white belt, they will begin to participate in regular Jiyu Kumite (Free Sparring). Kumite in the dojo provides a controlled environment under the watchful eye of the Instructors, in which a student can practice what they have learned. Sparring allows the martial artist to develop both control and experience in defending themselves and delivering powerful strikes against an opponent. Protective gear is required for a student, regardless of age, to participate in Kumite.
Because most of the techniques we teach are highly damaging to an opponent, we don’t employ many of them in a sparring match. Instead we emphasize positional awareness, movement, defensive techniques, methods of siezing opportunites for attack and traditional fighting techniques.
We don’t promote full power and full contact sparring nor do we promote completely pulled strikes. We spar with a mix of controlled striking using protective gear. This allows a student to “feel” the contact their movements make so that should the need ever arise to use their training, the movements and strikes will be as familair as possible.