In the 1830s, martial arts methods began to filter into Okinawa that would eventually form the basis of Naha-te. These methods were refined by individuals like Sakiyama Kitoku, Nakaima Kenri, Kojo Isei, Kojo Tatei, and Arakaki Seisho. They passed down this knowledge to the next generation of students, such as Higashionna Kanryo, Nakaima Kenchu, Kuniyoshi Shinkichi, and others. This became the foundational work for modern styles of karate, including Gojuryu, Ryueiryu, and Okinawan Kenpo.
In 1933, Miyagi Chojun, a student of Higashionna Kanryo, became the first person to officially name his style of karate. He called it Gojuryu Karate. Shortly afterward, other styles were named, including Shitoryu and Shotokan. The name Gojuryu came from a line in a poem called the Kenpo Hakku, Ho Go Ju Don To (法剛柔呑吐), which is found in the Bubishi.
Miyagi sensei had many students throughout his lifetime. Our particular lineage comes from Toyama Zenshu sensei. Toyama sensei was the student of Toguchi Seikichi sensei. Toguchi sensei was a student of Miyagi Chojun sensei and Higa Seiko sensei, who was in turn a student of Higashionna Kanryo sensei and dojo brother to Miyagi Chojun sensei. Higa sensei and Furugen sensei, a student of Miyagi Chojun sensei, also had a lot of influence on Toyama sensei's training and approach to Gojuryu karate.
Scot Mertz sensei has been training in Gojuryu karate since 1983 and has been a direct personal student of Toyama Zenshu sensei since 2012. Our main goal is to preserve Toyama sensei's Gojuryu style and ensure the continuity of the older methods for future generations.