Though some martial arts systems may have origins dating back 1000 years old or more, most have existed for less than a century and others even less than that. These newer systems were created to support an ever growing global sport without the prerequisite of providing life-protection skills or health benefits. And because of this, the applied medical and physical sciences that govern any physical activity and predate any martial system are almost non-existence.
With the downfall of the feudal system in Japan and Okinawa and the introduction of national laws, Karate, like all martial arts, went through an extensive overhaul. Since Karate was no longer taught as a means of self-protection, techniques and training intents were altered or removed all together for safety reasons. The effects of competition further diluted these once incredible methods of civil defense into game of "tag".
The majority of martial arts systems and schools today focus heavily on competition. This presents a dilemma for those seeking something more than a trophy. This “gap” has led to a vast majority of martial arts schools complimenting their base arts with “fillers”. This vacancy helped lead to the formation of “mixed martial arts” or MMA. Though more effective than most martial sports, MMAs survival depends on their students stepping into the ring, subject to rules and surrounded by judges. Like most sports, martial arts competition has a limited life span and leaves much to be desired for those of a more “advanced” age or those that want to study a martial art for the sake of the art itself. This is where our program rises above the crowd.
There are scores of organizations throughout the world that offer some form of instruction in “martial science” or pressure point courses as a side study program and a very limited ability to incorporate into the student's current style. What sets our teachings apart from other systems or styles is that not only are our students successfully applying these methods from day one, but students and instructors are able to do the same within their schools and styles.
Though it would appear on the surface that Goju-Ryu is our base art that is not necessarily the case. Just like the naming of Goju-Ryu came more by accident than design, so did Shihan McMains decide on Goju-Ryu as the perfect physical host and delivery system for these proven and unchallenged applications. The same can be said for any physical activity.
On the surface, swimming is a common physical activity but on a competitive level the success of Michael Phelps is dependent on the understanding of so many applied sciences. Every other competitive swimmer will reapply these same training tools for the simple fact they are beyond reproach. Aesthetics has no place or purpose when 1000ms matters. Would this then not apply to any martial art?!
The totality of our teachings are based on Five Combative Postures or "First Principles". These First Principles define the proper body mechanics necessary to action a solid attack response. These First principles can be likened to a chef's knife skills. Though it might be nice to have a top of the line German crafted blade, its is the handler's skills that are important.
Every form of combat from the beginning of time share these First Principles. Once these are mastered, the practitioner can then begin to build their toolbox of Western and Eastern medical and applied sciences. But make no mistake, without a solid combative foundation the practitioner can list 200+ concepts in his/her repertoire and be completely ineffective.
If the body is represented by Goju-Ryu, then our First Principles would represent the internal life supporting systems of the body. By this comparison one cannot exist without the other. And since the application of these basics are based on proper body mechanics, timing, placement of technique, footwork and more, it is easily taught and understood by even the youngest student.
More impressive is that these combative principles transfer and connect the student's different aspect of training including kata, sparring and hand to hand. No longer are these taught separate from one another but rather they are interchangeable.
Just like any new discovery, established sciences act as a technical “lie detector”; either confirming or disproving. In the martial arts arena, these established sciences will confirm or disprove the validity of a technique.
Upon achieving Black Belt status in Goju-Ryu, these deeper teachings become even more important and regular part of the student’s training with the intent of achieving additional recognition and certification. This provides another distinction between our program and other martial arts schools and systems as these First Principles are taught in our classes from day one. Where most schools struggle to provide continued training for their Black Belts, we can honestly state that the training has just begun.