near Great Yarmouth. 14 July 2008, IKGA European Gasshaku
GY: Well, when I was young I liked to show kata Seisan. Now, I cannot say which one. And now we have special kata Genkaku and Chikaku. They are only shihan (masters) kata.
GN: Genkaku and Chikaku, they were developed by you and your father?
GY: Yes, my father, before he died he made these kata.
GN: He developed those kata with you?
GY: Yes, we did together.
GN: In Goju-kai, Japanese Goju, you have kata that are not in Okinawa karate, the Taikyoku kata. These were developed for basic training?
GY: Right, because for beginners Gekisai kata can be difficult. So my father liked to start beginners with Taikyoku kata. We have five Taikyoku kata, and after you have done them it is easy to start Gekisai. My father started from Gekisai kata, and the techniques from Taikyoku Jodan to Taikyoku Mawashi-uke take the techniques from Gekisai kata.
GN: So they're a preparation for the other kata.
GY: Yes, so the beginner starts with Taikyoku Jodan and works through to Taikyoku Mawashi-uke, then it's easy to start on Gekisai.
GN: Japanese Goju also uses more kicks than traditional Okinawan Goju.
GY: Yes, but of course Goju had not so many high kicks, just kicks below the belt and to the knee joint, kansetsu geri. And so in Taikyoku kata we only use maegeri.
GN: In your association, you have kept the old style Goju jyu-kumite as well as the modern tournament style fighting. Is it important for you to keep that traditional Goju-Kumite, the fighting from neko-ashi, and using techniques like haito?
GY: Yes, that's right. My father didn't like point-kumite training, but of course he understood that the young generation like to do sport training. But karate is not only for sport, right? So he liked to teach also the traditional way. So my Goju-kai now has two different competitions: point and free sparring.
GN: What were your favourite techniques in jyu-kumite?
GY: Well I liked haito, and snapping techniques, uraken and fura-uchi (?).
GN: What were your father's favourite techniques?
GY: He liked the elbow, very close technique. Also he used many open hand techniques.
GN: Techniques like nukite (spearhand)?
GY: Yes, and teisho, (palm heel). And he had a technique of putting his hand on the elbow or knee, so people couldn't do anything. So it was funny, if people sparred with my father, everybody said, "I couldn't do my best, but I don't know why".
GN: That was because he controlled the elbow?
GY: Yes, he controlled them. He would keep distance, and when they attacked he would put pressure on the elbow or knee.
GN: That's interesting.
GY: Yes, I think so too.
GN: Did your father ever talk about his training with Miyagi sensei?
GY: My father said that at the time he met Miyagi sensei he wasn't a good karateka.
GN: Your father wasn't a good karateka?
GY: Yes, that's right, but then when he met Miyagi sensei he thought he must change his character because Miyagi sensei was such a big person. So my father respected him very much, and after he met Miyagi sensei he changed a lot.
GN: In his book he said he did a lot of fighting when he was younger.
GY: Yes, too much fighting, when he was young! But then he stopped smoking, stopped drinking alcohol.
GN: Did your father ever talk about his time in Manchuria?
GY: He didn't tell me everything, but I think he had a very hard job in Manchuria. But also he had a good connection with many Mongolian and Manchurian martial artists.
GN: He brought a demonstration team of martial artists from Manchuria to Japan.
GY: Right. That was very special.
GN: Did he ever talk about Chinese Kempo from when he was in Manchuria?
GY: Yes, he saw many times. He never studied Chinese Kung-fu, but he told me that if I had the chance I should study some. Then I did study some Chinese Kung-fu and I found many similarities to Goju.
GN: Similar circular movements?
GY: Right, and also they study more ki power.
GN: (Looking at a photo of Gogen Yamaguchi using the kusari (chain)). Does anyone practice the kusari nowadays?
GY: No, nobody. But of course I have my father's kusari. He said this was a traditional weapon, and it was good to study traditional martial arts, not just karate. So he taught me judo and kendo and now I like kyudo (archery) too.
GN: Oh yes? Is that for the mind?
GY: Yes, and also I like the idea. Kyudo is a good weapon, but not to kill. It is good for (inaudible) traditional ceremony and form, you know.
GN: Where did your father learn the kusari? Was that in Manchuria or Japan?
GY: Not Manchuria, but from a sensei in Japan. I don't know the name. And also he studied kendo.
GY: Jigen-ryu from Kawashima, right. The same time he studied kusari.