Which One of the 5 Goju Animals of Karate are You?
In Goju Ryu Karate there are five animals that many of the movements come from. In fact, almost 2500 years ago, these animals and some of their movements were used by Bodhidharma when he trained the monks of Shaolin Temple (Sonshang Mountain, China) to improve their strengths both mentally and physically.
These five animals are crane, monkey, snake, tiger
. There is one more animal that is associated with Goju ryu, the dragon, while it is a mythical one it does encompass movements of all of the five animals.
In karate we use the specific animal characteristics, strengths and strategies to create effective and energetic movements. Each of the five Goju animals have dynamic attributes, movements, and strengths, and we as martial artists can relate to them and use them in our training. To bring these animals into your basics and katas, use the six areas of focus: eyes, pace, breathing, technique, kime
The following chart gives you outlines the attributes, characteristics and strengths of each of the Goju animals.
||Actions Achieves Results
||A leader, hard and powerful, problem solver/fixer
||Social, flies in a pack
||Talking Achieves Unity
||Passionate, Graceful, light in their step, expressive with emotions, social
||Persistent, a thinker
||Speedy and Outsmarts
||Thinking Achieves Efficiency
||A dreamer, a thinker, enjoys to strategize, clever
||Flexible, Alternates between hard and soft
||Research Achieves Optimacy
||A rule keeper,
completing tasks, determined
||Acrobatic, flamboyant movements
||Internal Force Achieves Surprise
||Flexible, an acrobat, elaborate
Which one do you feel represents your martial arts abilities?
Can you gracefully balance on one leg for a long time without breaking a sweat?
Or are you flexible and acrobatic, like a monkey?
Perhaps you are a natural leader who enjoys being the problem solver?
We likely identify with many of the different animal attributes, but which one feel most natural to you?
Use the chart above to explore who you are, consider how you move, what energy you embrace and what feels natural to you.
By Kohai Dianne Hadad
3rd Degree Black Belt, Renge Dojo
Certified Professional Coach, SHINE, Family Wellness Club
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