Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi was born on April 25,1888. He began his Karate training in Shuri-te and at the age of 14 was introduced to Kanryo Higaonna with whom he began his study of Naha-te. Like his teacher before him, because of his great natural talent and fierce determination, he progressed very rapidly. The training was severe beyond belief at times but he practiced ever harder with an enthusiasm unmatched by any of the other students. Chojun Miyagi became "uchi deshi" (private discipline) of Kanryo Higaonna. He studied with his teacher for 14 years before his teacher's death in 1915.
Chojun Miyagi, as successor to his teacher's "te", pushed himself to the limits of endurance in his desire to emulate his teacher's extraordinary skill. In 1915 he journeyed to Fuzhou, China, the city where his teacher had studied martial arts to further his research. This was one of three trips he made to China during his lifetime.
On his return to Okinawa he began to teach the martial arts out of his home in Naha. Later, he also taught at the Okinawan Prefecture Police Training Center, at the Okinawan Master's Training College, and at the Naha Commercial High School (where his teacher had once taught).
Chojun Miyagi worked hard to spread Karate throughout Okinawa and mainland Japan, and to earn his toudi a status equal to that of the highly respected Japanese martial arts of Judo and Kendo. To achieve this he traveled frequently to mainland Japan where he was invited to teach at Kyoto University, Kansai University and Ritsumei Kan University. In 1933, Goju-Ryu Karate was the first Okinawan martial art to be registered at the Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai, the center for all martial arts in Japan. This was a milestone for Karate as it meant it was recognized on a level with the highly respected martial arts of Japan.
Chojun Miyagi dedicated his whole life to Karate. He was responsible for structuring his toudi (which he later named Goju-Ryu) into a systemized discipline which could be taught to society in general. This teaching system that he formulated enabled Karate to be taught in schools for the benefit of the young, and to reach vast numbers of people throughout the world. However, his private teaching at his home remained strictly in adherence to the principles and traditions of his teacher, Kanryo Higaonna, and his teacher before him, RuRuKo.
The naming of Goju-Ryu came about more by accident than by design. In 1930, Chojun Miyagi's top student, Jin'an Shinzato, while in Tokyo demonstrating the Karate of his teacher, was asked as to what school of martial arts he practiced. As Naha-te had no formal name he could not answer this question. On his return to Okinawa he reported this incident to Chojun Miyagi. After much consideration, Chojun Miyagi chose the name Goju-Ryu (hard and soft school) as a name for his style. This name he took from a line in the "Bubishi" (a classical text on martial arts and other subjects). This line, which appears in a poem describing the eight precepts of the martial arts reads, "Ho Goju Donto" (the way of breathing is hardness and softness).