Sho Rei Ha Dojo
Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate Research and Preservation Society
沖縄 剛柔流 空手
…taught, as originated, in Okinawa…this is a serious dojo that is not for everyone.
Its purpose is not for sport, fun, something to do, nor for recreation. Do not join to see if you like it, come with the dedication required to succeed in any difficult endeavour! We have but 15 spots on the floor in each class and they are reserved for those seeking to deeply challenge themselves, to become better human beings, to develop courage, fortitude, to strengthen their mind and body and to polish their character with the skills to defend those who cannot defend themselves!
Karate class Monthly fees
2 classes a week $120
3 classes a week $150
4 classes a week $175
Self Defense Class
$25 per class
20 pack of classes@$20 each
Heri Sensei teaches over 150 students a week in 3 cities in the Los Angeles area. Heri Sensei has over 4 decades of martial arts training under his belt. He began his training in 1974 in Tae Kwon Do with Master Richard Chun
in New York. He furthered his training with Shihan Victor Vega in the style of Japanese Goju-ryu karate-do.
Shihan Vega also taught Heri Sensei aiki-jitsu and the art of Iaido. After the passing of Vega Sensei, Heri
Sensei continued training with Michael Robinson in the art of Okinawa Goju-ryu karate-do. As one can see
the legacy of Chojun Miyagi lives on!
It can be said that a martial art reflects its creator, as well as its particular time, and White Crane is no exception. Fukienese White Crane was created about three hundred years ago by a woman named Fang Chi-Niang. It is the particularities of her situation which led to the unique nature of White Crane.
There are several stories surrounding the development of Fukienese White Crane. In one story, a huge crane swoops down and starts devouring some grain that Fang Chi- Niang has left out to dry in front of a temple. Furious, she picks up a staff and tries to drive it off, but is unsuccessful as the agile bird sidesteps, blocking her attacks with its wing and pecking at her staff with its beak. Impressed that this fragile creature has neutralized her kung fu, she decides to practice with the crane until she masters its movements. Such stories are best understood in modern terms as metaphors or illustrations of the basic principles of the style: quick footwork, rapid arm movements, precise attacks and a combination of soft and hard techniques, all used to defeat superior strength or size.
Fang Chi-Niang's father, Fang Fei-Sze, studied kung fu at the Shaolin temple at Nine Lotus Mountain in the southeastern Chinese province of Fukien or Fujian. Fang Chi- Niang, a Chinese woman, was obviously petite by Western standards, and had to fight men who were much larger and heavier than she was. Even though she was well- trained by her father, she could not possibly generate the same striking and blocking power that a similarly trained man had.
To overcome such a handicap, she combined extremely accurate pressure point strikes with evasive body movements and quick, versatile footwork. At the time, body conditioning was a much more important part of kung fu training than it is today. Enormous time and effort went into strengthening the arms, legs, torso, and even the skull. Fang Chi-Niang reasoned that certain vulnerable areas of the body could not be hardened or conditioned to resist injury. Powerful strikes to the temple, eyes, throat, solar plexus, floating rib, kidney, groin, or knees could successfully debilitate even the most determined attacker.
Practical application proved her right, and attacking pressure point targets with specialized protruding index finger which resembles the eye of the legendary Phoenix. It is most useful for pressure point strikes, since it concentrates the strike's entire power in one small area, namely the second joint of the index finger. It is necessary to practice specific hand and finger strengthening exercises to effectively use the phoenix eye fist with full strength.
A second commonly used hand formation is Biao So, or Spear Hand. It is formed by completely straightening the fingers and thumb and keeping them held tightly against each other. A certain amount of finger conditioning is required before using this technique safely. Furthermore, it is exclusively against the body's weakest points, such as the eyes, throat or groin.
Since it is often difficult to safely advance on a taller opponent with greater reach, Fang Chi-Niang found it preferable to adopt a counter-fighting strategy. Once the opponent had committed to a full-fledged attack and had entered her range, she could block and/or sidestep the attack and launch an immediate counter-strike. Another strategy was to retreat slightly, absorbing the opponent's energy and then advance rapidly and stay close to the attacker, controlling her opponent with sticking hands or pressing stance techniques while delivering a flurry of strikes to the opponent's weakest points.
The basic White Crane body movements, called Djuan Sen, reveals a tendency to turn and sidestep and strike an opponent while his own momentum is still carrying him forward. This tactic is very effective in self-defense scenarios against a completely committed and possibly enraged adversary. It was not designed for the often tentative and forewarned nature of controlled sparring involving mutually consenting competitors.
A unique feature of the White Crane system is the manner in which the many empty- hand and weapon forms are designed. The forms are comparatively short, and many of them are designed to be done as fighting sets with a partner. That is to say, the various blocks, counter-strikes, and joint locks in the second half of a given form make up the correct response to the various moves of the first half. Thus, one can familiarize oneself with the movements in solitary practice, and then test one's understanding in a controlled-contact environment with a partner. This system ensures an organized approach to mastery of not only the individual movements, but also the fighting theory and real-world application of the form.
Tens of thousands of violent criminals have been released by mandate from overcrowded jails in LA County in the past few years and more will be released as a result of Senate Bill 10 going into effect October 1, 2019. This bill completely eliminates cash bail and allows court employees or unspecified, contracted local public agencies to assess or ‘guess’ which are low, medium or high risk offenders before releasing them back into our communities AFTER they have ALREADY have been arrested for crimes. The plague of Crystal Meth has fueled unthinkably violent, irrational criminal behavior with no end in sight and extreme random acts of violence occur daily!
So many of us enjoy the many of benefits of living the South Bay! great weather, schools, medical care and great response time by our Law Enforcement, Fire Department and EMT’s. However, our awesome enclave is not immune to criminals who intrude on our community and threaten our safety and tranquility.
I have two daughters in college (who both have had 7 years of karate classes with me), a thirteen year old son, an amazing wife and after my 40 years in the martial arts, I fear for their safety as I know I cannot always be at their side. How can we protect ourselves and our families for when the wolf approaches our loved ones? If we are wise and prudent we must prepare our families, as we would do with anything else!
Highly recommended book: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, the best book I have read in four decades.
History of the Okinawa Goju-ryu karate-do and Shorei-Ha Dojo
Ryu Ryuko, also known as Xie Zhongxiang, was the founder of White Crane Gung fu. In 1868, in the Fukien Province, he accepted Kanryo Higaonna as a student. Higaonna trained with him until he returned to Okinawa in 1881.
Kanryo Higaonna was born in Naha, Okinawa in 1853. In 1867 at the age of 15 he set sail for China after convincing the owner of a ship to grant him passage. After a year in residence at the Okinawa settlement in Foochow, he was introduced to Ryu Ryu Ko. He was not allowed to train right away and had to follow the age-old custom of personal service to his master by attending the garden, cleaning and doing odd chores. After he had satisfied his master's expectations, he was accepted as a disciple.
After 14 years of training, he left Foochow and returned to Okinawa, and began private lessons to the sons of the man who had granted him passage to China. He went back to his old job as a merchant, but his reputation was growing. Sailors and travelers from China brought back stories of his prowess that they had heard there, and before long, many would seek to become his disciples. Training was severe, as he had learned, and only a few who began would continue for long.
In 1905 he began teaching at a public high school and was considered along with Anko Itosu to be the foremost karateka in Okinawa. He is responsible for developing the Naha-te style, and many of his students went on to form their own systems based on his teachings.
He died in 1917 at the age of 63. His legacy lives on through his followers, most notably Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju Ryu, and Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito Ryu.
Chojun Miyagi was born in Naha City, Okinawa on April 25th, 1888. He began his formal training at age 11, in the dojo of Ryuko Aragaki. At the age of 14, he was first introduced to Kanryo Higaonna, and after a period of doing chores for Sensei Higaonna to earn his place, was accepted as a student.
Training was very severe, with a lot of running and strength exercises. It is said that he sometimes passed out performing Sanchin kata, so demanding was Sensei Higaonna on his student's performance. He trained for 13 years in this manner until the death of Kanryo Higaonna, developing into a powerful karateka.
Muyagi Shihan then traveled to China, his quest was to locate Master Ryu Ryu Ko, whom Higaonna had studied with. He was unable to locate him, but he did pick up some of the local arts of the Fukien area of China, notable the kata Rokkishu, which was instrumental in his creation of Tensho kata.
He continued to train in the methods he learned from Sensei Higaonna at several institutions, always under severe and demanding conditions. He did not confine his training to the dojo, either. Every waking moment (and while asleep, perhaps!) was spent in pursuit of the art, always remaining vigilante to his surroundings, always planning and ready for whatever might occur.
In 1921, he was chosen to represent Naha-te in a presentation to the visiting crown prince Hirohito (who would eventually become Emperor) and gave an impressive performance. He repeated this in 1925 for prince Chichibu. He began to visualize the future of the Okinawa fighting arts, and in 1926, at the age of 38, set up the Karate Research Club, along with Chomo Hanashiro (Shuri-te), Kenwa Mabuni (Shito Ryu) and Motobu Choyo, spending the next 3 years training in basics, kata, fitness and philosophy. Others who frequented the club included Johatsu Kyoda, Seikichi Uehara, Shimpan Gusukuma, and Gokenki. In 1929, he was invited to Japan by Gogen Yamaguchi, who would promote the Goju Kai style in Japan.
Jigoro Kano (founder of Judo) began visiting Okinawa in 1927, and was so impressed with Sensei Miyagi, he invited him to Japan in 1930 and 1932 to demonstrate at several tournaments. It was at one of these tournaments that one of his senior students, Jin'an Shinzato was asked which school of karate he belonged to. Unable to answer (styles were only known by their geographical reference at that time), he approached Sensei Miyagi, who agreed that a name should be chosen for their unique style.
There is a Chinese text called the Bubishi, a very popular historical reference among karateka of the day, and in it are the Eight Poems of the Fists. The 3rd precept reads "The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness." Go means hard and Ju means soft. Since his style was a combination of these ideals, he began referring to his art as Goju Ryu, and in 1933 it was officially registered as such at the Butoku-Kai, the Japanese Martial Arts Association.
Allied occupation of Okinawa was a very turbulent time in the history of Okinawa and the art of karate. Many lives were lost, including one of Sensei Miyagi's sons, two of his daughters, and his senior student, Jin'an Shinzato. He was forced to forgo much of his training while his homeland was restructured after the war. In 1946, he was appointed director of the Okinawa Civil Association of Physical Education, and resumed his training, teaching the Police Academy and opening a backyard dojo, known as the Garden Dojo. It is here where Seikichi Toguchi, trained, along with many other notable karateka
Chojun Miyagi died on October 8th, 1953 at the age of 65. His legacy lives on through his senior students and the untold karateka whose lives he continues to influence.
One of the senior students of Seikichi Toguchi is Michael Robinson who traveled to Okinawa and later China to trace Goju-ryu back to its roots and study and train in each step along the way. He has over 40 years of training in the martial arts and is well known throughout the world of karate.
Michael Robinson, on behalf of the Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation, has recently promoted Les Heri, of Redondo Beach, California to the rank of Yon-Dan (4th degree black belt). In addition, Heri Sensei has been awarded the rank and title, Shihan (teacher of teachers) certificate. Heri Sensei teaches over 300 students a week in 5 cities in the Los Angeles area. Heri Sensei has 30 years of martial arts training under his belt. He began his training in 1974 in Tae Kwon Do with Master Richard Chun in New York. He furthered his training with Shihan Victor Vega in the style of Japanese Goju-ryu karate-do. Shihan Vega also taught Heri Sensei aiki-jitsu and the art of Iaido. After the passing of Vega Sensei, Heri Sensei continued training with Michael Robinson in the art of Okinawa Goju-ryu karate-do. As one can see the legacy of Chojun Miyagi lives on!