Exploring other martial arts, whilst still training in the path of Goju

I have found the martial art for me, Goju Ryu karate, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying others, I love the culture and the beauty behind these arts. Sometimes it’s just curiosity, sometimes its I feel like I am lagging in a certain area of my own Karate, not Goju itself but in terms of my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on. I find it fascinating comparing martial arts, but when I try another martial art I am solely focused on that art during the class, as I feel it would disrespect the other arts, I am like a kid in a candy shop I want to try loads!

Since training in Goju Ryu, the martial arts I tried out pre-china was Capoeira, White crane in the UK, Muay Thai, tai chi. The martial arts I learnt in china was White crane, Shaolin Kung Fu and Baji Quan. Then when I returned to England I tried Kenjutsu and Wing Chun.

This post will deal with the ones I tried in the England as the ones in china have become a huge part of my personal martial way, and deserve their own post.

I tried to study Capoeira and Goju Ryu at the same time, it was great fun, I thought it would help develop great strength, better kicks and help me to become flowier. The main problem was the drills, they made my head feel like they were in a dish washer, and I actually didn’t mean to quit the classes, I was actually focused on study at that point.

So before I went to China to learn Fujian White Crane kung Fu, I tried out Fujian White Crane kung Fu in England. Before you ask they were completely different, they may come from the same province, but their attitude, approach and style was different. Whereas my Sifu in China was beyond excited that my style was Goju Ryu, because White Crane influenced it, he loved comparing my kata to his forms and pronouncing white crane, he often had me sit by him during eating out in the local village. The teacher in England was the complete opposite, saying that he doesn’t know about other martial arts, doesn’t care White Crane is everything does everything end of. The comparison is shocking, my Sifu has spent his whole life studying White Crane, but loves observing other martial arts, he and the other teachers embrace Martial arts. While I did learn a lot from the teacher in England, he told me that I had to give up Goju Ryu, pay membership the next class and with the fees triple that at a normal martial art. He said the wrong thing to me.

I wanted to try it to work on being more flowing and relaxed, pre-china I was always very tense and static in my movements, and wanted to try the ancestor art to see if it would help. The moment he told me to give up the art that not only I love, but had made some real good friends and so much more, with my grading coming up (I was a blue belt, going for my Purple 4th Kyu), no chance!

Next I tried Muay Thai boxing, I wanted to work more on my sparring, and I loved the session, they are fit bunch of guys, and they were impressed with my karate fitness, I would of carried on with the classes with Goju but an injury I sustained meant I didn’t return to martial arts for several months, and needed to focus on Goju ryu at that point.

Next I tried Tai Chi, I had a friend who was feeling a bit depressed at the time, and I tried to help make her feel better about herself, so we did tai chi together. Plus I figured it could help with me needing to be relaxed.

Post-china I tried Kenjutsu, which is Japanese sword training, and while it was a nice class, they had their own group they were trying to develop.

Then I tried a few Wing Chun classes, before I discovered Goju Ryu, I was thinking about doing Wing Chun, so a few months ago I got to try them. I did like what I saw, fast hands, relaxed position, their sticky hands drill (like kakie), I was more excited about my last lesson in Wing Chun when I discovered similarities between not only White Crane and Wing Chun but also Goju ryu and Baji Quan!! White Crane is said to be the ancestor style of Wing Chun, which was great to observe and discover, that the main martial arts I wanted to study in the past all have a connection, and a certain running theme. But with that said as many similarities as there are, there are twice as many differences, which makes them more unique, with Goju Ryu being developed in Okinawa from Naha Te.

I will probably continue to explore other martial arts alongside Goju ryu, some just for fun and some to see if  it help me work on a aspect I may be lagging in.

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