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Welcome to the Seifukan Dojo Web Site

The Seifukan is a small locally owned and managed full time dojo.

We are committed to teaching the very best of traditional self-defence orientated martial arts.

We are proud members of the Kokusai Goju Kobujutsu Kenkyukai, that is, the International Goju Traditional Martial Arts Research Society, under the leadership of master instructor Tino Ceberano Hanshi.

The principal martial art taught at the Seifukan is  Ceberano-ha IGK Goju-ryu Karatejutsu under the leadership of Warwick Sheils Shihan.

We also have a small group of dojo members who enthusiastically practice Hyou-ha Bankoku Jujutsu and Kotakanotsume Taijutsu and kobujutsu to add complimentary skills to their karate.

Visitors and new members are always welcome.

History of IGK Goju-ryu and the Seifukan Dojo

The principal martial art practiced at the Seifukan is the Goju-ryu karate of the Kokusai Goju Kobujutsu Kenkyukai (the International Goju Traditional Martial Art Research Society) under the guidance of our master instructor Tino Ceberano Hanshi.

The history or lineage of this style can be traced back to it’s roots in China via Japan and Okinawa to the Quanfa of Fouzhou city in modern China's Fujian Province.

Fuzhou Quanfa: Nafadi or Naha-te the karatejutusu from the Naha district of Okinawa, evolved from the Quanfa systems (gung-fu) of the southern China province of Fujian, particularly those systems found in and around the port city of Fouzhou.

The main systems that apparently shaped karate were the various White Crane, Tiger, Five Ancestors, Tiger-crane, Lion, Mantis and Golden Rooster. These systems share many common elements. Tiger-crane or Hung Gar, for example, was originally a Tiger Fist system that incorporated Crane Fist elements during its development. Five Ancestors Fist is rooted in Ancestor Crane Fist and incorporates elements of four other systems to broaden it’s technical base. Feeding Crane Fist incorporated elements of Tiger Fist, and so on.

Map

It is often said that Crane Fis had a great influence on the development of Okinawan karate. While this is demonstrably true it has to be understood that Crane Fist was and is until this day a broad church in that there are many branches each of which incorporate elements of many other systems.

Nafadi/Shorei-ryu: Goju-ryu karate has its origins in the teachings of Higashionna Kanryo sensei which were classified as Nafadi (Naha-te,) he called his personnel way Shorei-ryu or “Enlightened spirit style.”

Higashionna sensei's Chinese teachers are by tradition considered to be Ryu Ryuko, thought to be Xie Zhongxian, a Chinese teacher of Whooping Crane (Minghe Quan) and his assistant Wai Xinxian

Kanryo Higashionna was one of several Okinawan students who travelled to Fuzhou in the province of Fukien, China and studied with Liu Liu Ko.

Yet as an adolescent, before he went to China, Higashionna sensei had studied Uchinadi (Okinawa-te) under Aragaki Seisho sensei. Aragaki sensei himself is reputed to have studied in Fuzhou with Wai Xinxian.

Contemporaries of Higashionna sensei who also studied in Fuzhou included Kojo Isei and in later years his son Kojo Kaho each are reputed to have studied Kempo under a Chinese military attache called Iwah. Another member of the Kojo family; Kojo Taitei studied Quanfa with Wai Xinxian.

Nakaima Norisato studied with Liu Liu ko between 1860 and 1866. On returning to Okinawa, the teachings were past on in secret as a family tradition until 1971 when Nakaima Kenko for the first time taught openly naming his family style Ryuei-ryu.

Thus the major influences on Higashiona sensei looked something like this:

With Aragaki sensei introducing Higashionna sensei to the Nafadi kata Sanchin and Seisan it may be that he (Aragaki sensei) learnt these from Wai Xinxian. Aragaki sensei may well have given the young Higashionna sensei an introduction to study with Wai Xinxian in China.

What is known is that Wai Xinxian was Liu Liu Ko's assistant but also probably had knowledge of martial systems not practised by Liu Liu Ko who at that time was still formulating his own method of Crane Boxing.

It was common for students to study with multiple teachers learning several martial arts. In turn they might hand on the individual styles or synthesise what they learned into a new eclectic method. Wai Xinxian could have been teaching a composite style of Bahei (White Crane,) Lohan (Monk Boxing) and Tat Chun (Tamo iron body.) Wai Xinxian may also have been a teacher of Five Ancestors which was founded on Peho, Lohan, Kao Kun (monkey boxing), Tai Cho (great ancestor boxing), and Tat Chun (Tamo iron body.)

With Wai Xinxian assisting Xie Zhongxian during a period of evolution could account for changes between the earlier forms of Aragaki sensei and the later forms of Higashionna sensei.

Whilst Higashionna sensei didn't openly teach Xie Zhongxian's crane forms on his return but he was profoundly influenced by the Crane Boxing principles. Rather than a traditional art, the core of Higashionna sensei's teaching appears to be an eclectic blending based on Lohan boxing and Tamo iron body training integrated with a composite of Xie Zhongxian's and Wai Xinxian's Crane boxing.

Whatever the true origin's are, Higashionna sensei passed on a synthesis of martial knowledge that is relevant whatever its source.  We can therefore look back in appreciation at the rich heritage this early Okinawan karate teacher handed down to us.

Higashionna sensei's students included Kyoda Juhatsu sensei who went on to found Tou'on-ryu, Mabuni Kenwa who went on to found Shito-ryu and of course Miyagi Chojun the founder of Goju-ryu.

Miyagi Chojun Sensei: Miyagi Chojun sensei began his study of toudi/Uninadi at the dojo of Aragaki Ryuko sensei in 1899. In 1902 Miyagi sensei, at 14 years of age, became a student of Higashionna Kanryu sensei. Higashionna sensei was 49 years old at that time and had a very traditional Okinawan outlook, in the beginning giving Miyagi sensei a series of trivial tasks to perform, such as weeding or cleaning while Higashionna sensei observed his character. When he eventually began training, Miyagi sensei showed such enthusiasm and determination that even being limited to only the severe Hojo undo and Sanchin training did not deter him. In fact, he supplemented the training with additional running and other training of his own, stopping to lift big stones as he ran home from school. A natural athlete, Miyagi excelled in all sports and physical activities he attempted, Karate was no exception.

In 1915 at the age of 27, acting on a suggestion from his teacher, Miyagi and a Chinese born friend and White Crane master named Wu Xianhui, who was known as Gokenki in Okinawa made a trip to China. They had gone with the intention of finding Wai Xinxian's school but were unable to find signs of the school.

Miyagi sensei was introduced to an old man who claimed to have been a student of Wai Xinxian and Kanryo Higaonna sensei's junior. He told Miyagi that the art no longer existed in China. The story goes that Miyagi demonstrated his kata to the approval of the old man who’s only comment was that one kata was missing from Miyagi sensei's system. The old man then demonstrated the kata Sanseiru. Miyagi sensei was astonished and pleased to see that it was almost identical to the version he had been taught. He had merely not performed it because it was his least favourite kata.

Although they visited several masters, they could not find anyone teaching Wai Xinxian’s art. The places where Wai Xinxian had lived and trained either no longer existed or were occupied by new tenants who were unable to provide any useful information. They did however find Wai Xinxian’s grave and, after paying their respects, Miyagi sensei recorded the inscription on the tombstone which was quite detailed as is the custom in China. They also visited the ruins of the Shaolin temple where it was believed that Wai Xinxian had learned his art.

Miyagi sensei and Wu Xianhui returned to Okinawa after about one year. Higashionna sensei passed away not long Miyagi after sensei’s return to Okinawa and as his senior student Miyagi sensei began teaching. It was around this time that Miyagi sensei developed a kata that he called Tensho or “Revolving Palms.” Some say that he developed this kata by adapting the arm movements of a White Crane kata called Rokkishu that can be found in some versions of the Bubushi utilising a stepping pattern similar to Sanchin. This may be true however the form of Tensho bears a striking likeness to Yong Chun Baihequan kata called Bafen so it is quite possible that Tensho was a synthesis of the training Miyagi Sensei experienced in China and research that he carried out.

There is also some speculation about whether Miyagi sensei introduced the kata Saifa, Seiyunchin, Shisochin, Sepai and Kururunfa as these kata were not part of Higashionna sensei’s repertoire. Certainly these  kata have different look and feel to them and it is possible that they were either learnt in China or synthesised from the methods that Miyagi sensei learnt while in China. There has been some speculation that these kata have a resemblance to Huhe Quan or Tiger-Crane Boxing methods. What ever the truth may be the fact remains that Miyagi sensei handed down a rich catalogue of kata that remain largely unchanged to this day.

In 1926 Miyagi sensei approached a number of other masters with a view to gaining their cooperation to start a club where a number of styles could be taught for the mutual benefit of all and the preservation of Karate as an Okinawan cultural treasure. This resulted in the formation of the Karate Kenkyu Club with classes being taught by a number of notable masters of the day including Miyagi sensei, Hanashiro Chomo, Motobe Choyu, Mabuni Kenwa, Wu Xianhui and Tang Daiji (To Daiki,) a Hu Quan or Tiger Boxing master.

The Karate Kenkyu Club appears to have been the first modern karate dojo, in as much that it had a building dedicated for use as a training hall and that it involved fee paying students that could "come in off the street." The dojo was constructed by obtaining a loan from the bank with Miyagi Sensei's good friend Wu Xianhui acting as a guarantor to the loan. Training was held everyday but Sunday and many guest instructors were invited to teach at the dojo. Unfortunately the club struggled to break even and was disbanded in 1929.

In 1929, after a demonstration at a martial arts festival in Japan, Miyagi sensei's top student Shinzato Ji'an was asked what style of karate he practiced. At a loss for a reply he described it as Hanko or half hard. Shinzato Sensei later posed the question to Miyagi sensei who gave the matter much thought. Given the nature of the techniques contained within the art he eventually decided to name his style Goju-ryu the "hard-soft" style after a line Kempo Hakku, a poem found it in the classic martial text the Bubishi.

Sometime between 1920 and 1930, Miyagi sensei made another trip to China with Wu Xianhui. The purpose of this trip was to carry out further research and to carry out some business. They only stayed in China for about one month and it was reported that they learned little if anything new.

In 1931 Miyagi sensei visited the Japanese mainland, traveling there by himself on a teaching visit. By this time karate's popularity had grown in Japan and in particular had found a large following in that country's universities mainly as a result of the efforts of fellow Okinawan Funakosi Gichin of Shotokan fame. Miyagi sensei visited a number of universities to instruct the karate students there. At Retsumeikan University in Kyoto one of these students was a young Yamaguchi Jitsumi, later known as "Gogen" who was to go on to become the leader of Goju-ryu on the Japanese mainland and who eventually created the large Japan-based organisation known as the Goju-Kai.

In 1934, Miyagi sensei accepted an invitation to visit Hawaii to teach Karate to the large Okinawan and Japanese community there. He stayed for nearly a year and for the first time in history brought knowledge of Karate into the Western world - reportedly there were a few Americans in his classes.

Shortly after his return to Okinawa from Hawaii, in early 1936 Miyagi sensei made another trip to China again accompanied by his old friend Wu Xianhui. This time he visited Shanghai where he performed a demonstration in front of two hundred Japanese nationals at the Japanese club. Miyagi sensei obtained a number of books on Chinese Boxing which he intended to translate.

In 1940 Miyagi sensei developed a kata which was called Fukyugata-ni in conjunction with Shorin-ryu master Nagamine Shoshin sensei who developed Fukyugata-ichi. These kata were developed as introductory forms for promoting karate to young people. These two forms are still in use today in many Shorin-ryu schools. Miyagi sensei later renamed his aggressive kata Gekisai or “Smash and destroy,” in time he developed a second variation of the kata using slightly more sophisticated techniques - renaming the kata(s) Gekisai dai ichi and Gekisai dai ni. Since the end of the war in the Pacific, these are the first two formal kata taught to the novice karateka in Okinawan Goju-ryu.

The war in the Pacific cost Miyagi sensei dearly, he lost three of his children and many of his students. His most senior student and his likely successor Shinzato Ji'an was killed during the battle of Okinawa. In addition Miyagi sensei lost all of his books and manuscripts to fires resulting from bombing raids during the battle. Despite all of this, Miyagi sensei resumed teaching after the war until his death in 1953 aged 65.

The martial art of Goju-ryu developed by Chojun Miyagi sensei, is a true combat art, it is a counter-attacking system based on a synthesis of hard linear techniques and softer circular movements. Goju-ryu's circular blocking actions and evasive body movements not only deflect and absorb an opponent's energy but also serve to wind the body up like a spring ready to unleash explosive counter-attacks. These can take the form of a series of strikes beginning with kicks, followed by groin and joint kicks, foot-sweeps, stamps, punches, a variety of open hand strikes and finishing with knee and elbow strikes, rips, tears, gouges and head butts. Gripping, pulling, pushing, jamming and joint-locking techniques and throws are also included.

Chojun Miyagi sensei, and the masters who had passed the art to him, knew that no matter how good the fighter the chances are that, sooner or later, he/she will get hit during combat. Thus the age-old Shaolin tradition of "iron shirt" body conditioning was embodied in Sanchin kata, to toughen the body against strikes and increase tolerance to blows.

Despite all of the violence inherent in the practice of Goju-ryu karate Miyagi Chojun was a mild mannered, peaceful man, this is best summed up in what has come to be known as his final teaching:

Yamaguchi Gogen Hanshi: Yamaguchi Gogen Hanshi was born in Kagoshima city on southern Kyushu. As a child he showed great interest in the martial arts. During his early school days he trained kendo and it was during this time that he started his karate training under the tutelage of an Okinawan by the name Maruta Takeo. Maruta sensei who was a Goju practitioner was drawn to the young Yamaguchi's serious attitude and his willingness to train hard.

During his university days as a law student, Yamaguchi Hanshi established his first karate club at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Soon the dojo became famous in the city, known for its hard training and fierce breathing exercise. In those days karate men practised only kata and yakusoku kumite and were unable to have matches between each other since they did not hold back their techniques. It was during this period that he developed the early form of what is known today as jiyu kumite and established rules to decide the winner of a match.

In 1931, at the age of 22, Yamaguchi Hanshi was introduced to the founder of the Goju style, Miyagi Chojun sensei. This meeting proved to have a profound affect upon the young Yamaguchi's outlook on karate. Previously he had only considered the hard aspect of Goju-ryu but after his meeting with Miyagi sensei he was determined to train himself spiritually as well as physically. Miyagi sensei thought highly of Yamaguchi who seemed to have mastered the hard aspect of Goju-ryu to such an extent that he gave him the nickname Gogen, meaning "Rough". He then appointed Yamaguchi Gogen as Shibucho or leader of the Goju-ryu school in Japan.

During the years to come, Yamaguchi Hanshi often spent long stays at Mount Kurama where he subjected himself to ascetic exercises and hard training with Sanchin, meditation, and fasting. Between 1938-1945 he was sent to Manchuria on government and military assignments. On several occasions during his stay there, he could thank his skills in karate and his mental training that he stayed alive. During the Japanese-Russian war, Yamaguchi was taken prisoner of war and sent to a prison camp in Mongolia. He was kept there under harsh conditions for two years. Once again his strength and skill were severely put to the test. During all these years he still continued to train and develop his Goju-ryu karate.

After his return to Japan, Yamaguchi Hanshi became one of the most influential figures in modern karate. Known throughout the world as "The Cat" because of his grace and speed in movement and because of his favourite fighting stance, Nekoashi-dachi or cat leg stance.

Yamaguchi Hanshi's contributions to Goju-ryu karate and to karate in general have been enormous. Under his leadership the International Karate-do Goju-kai Association (I.K.G.A) emerged. The organization has increased in popularity both in Japan and other Asian and Western countries around the world. Today there are many countries teaching Yamaguchi-ha Goju-ryu karate.

He added to the Goju system the Taikyoku Kata forms, training methods for the beginner students to prepare them for the more advanced katas.

Tino Ceberano Hanshi: Tino Ceberano Hanshi was born in Hawaii. His parents had emigrated to Hawaii from the Phillipines. Hanshi began training in the martial arts at a young age before settling on Japanese (Yamaguchi-ha) Gojukai Goju-ryu karate.

In 1966 after he retired from the US Marine Corps Hanshi received his Sandan, 3rd dan, from Yamaguchi Gogan and at Yamaguchi Gogan’s direction moved to Australia with his family. He immediately set about introducing the relatively unknown world of Karate to the Australian public. From small beginnings the school of Goju Karate has become one of the most widely practiced of the styles of karate in Australia. This is due in no small part to the skill and dedication of Ceberano, Hanshi.

After the passing on Yamaguchi Gogen in 1989 Ceberano Hanshi formed his own karate organisation and the IGK (International Goju Karate) was born. The IGK has now come to stand for the “International Goju Kobujutsu Kenkyukai” or International Goju Traditional Martial Art Research Society.

Hanshi is in constant demand around the world to provide seminars and other training. He spends a significant part of his life travelling the globe. We in the IGK and at the Seifukan in particular have the very good fortune of having Hanshi see us as part of his close family.

The Seifukan: The Seifukan dojo has operated continuously since 1980 at a number of locations around Canberra, Australia's Capital City.

The Seifukan has always been a centre for excellence in the practice of  Goju-ryu karate. Originally an International Karate-do Goju-kai dojo under the leadership of Tino Ceberano Hanshi, we moved with Ceberano Hanshi when he formed the IGK organisation.

Our Dojo-cho's over the years have been:

  • Jim (Hamish of McGregor)  Whiteford Sempai

  • Ferdy Fernandez Shihan

  • Alex Alt Shihan

  • Peter Sheils Shihan

  • Ben Sheils Sensei

  • Warwick Sheils Shihan