The difference

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I havent done either, but i think, unless i got my karates confused (which i do) the former mixes a little of juitsu into it and has a bigger focus on internal training and that sort of thing than shotokan.

thats what i have been told/read the diffrence as being or what makes Goju Ryu special. or the one i may have mistook for it.


Edit: i always get Wado Ryu and Goju Ryu confused. But i think they both have a bigger internal focus than shotokan.
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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Thank you for your input. As you can tell I'm new and feel like a kid in a MA candy store. I have questions on top of questions. Thank you all for having patience with me.
 

Headhunter

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All styles are different in different ways. Even the same style can have differences depending on the instructor. You could drive yourself mad comparing this style and that style and hey there's no harm in looking around and experimenting at all. It's what I'm doing now just looking at any that takes my interest and seeing the different methods. But for a begginer you should just take one and get yourself to a good level at that first so at least you have a base in something
 

Mitlov

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It's like the difference between vanilla bean and French vanilla ice cream. In isolation, they can seem different, but compared to strawberry ice cream, or a cookie, they seem very very similar.

Goju is slightly more circular in movement; Shotokan is slightly more linear in movement and has lower, deeper stances. The biggest difference is their forms; the two styles have a completely different catalog of forms from each other. But in the big picture of martial arts from wrestling to wing chun, they're nearly identical.
 

isshinryuronin

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It's like the difference between vanilla bean and French vanilla ice cream. In isolation, they can seem different, but compared to strawberry ice cream, or a cookie, they seem very very similar.

Goju is slightly more circular in movement; Shotokan is slightly more linear in movement and has lower, deeper stances. The biggest difference is their forms; the two styles have a completely different catalog of forms from each other. But in the big picture of martial arts from wrestling to wing chun, they're nearly identical.
Your 1st 2 sentences are correct. Goju, like other Okinawan styles, has a strong southern Chinese influence. Originally, they were combat oriented and utilized joint locks, breaks, vital point attacks, and other nasty techniques which were incorporated into their forms. When Funakoshi and Itosu adapted Karate for the public school system in Okinawa and Japan in the early 1900's, these dangerous techniques were removed and the forms were simplified and became more regimented in the Japanese way. This new style became Shotokan. Shotokan and old Okinawan karate do share some forms, though they appear somewhat different due to the modifications (Japanization) as mentioned above. They are more different than French and vanilla bean - more like vanilla and chocolate fudge swirl. Much information is available on the history and evolution of karate on-line and in several good books.
 

Mitlov

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Your 1st 2 sentences are correct. Goju, like other Okinawan styles, has a strong southern Chinese influence. Originally, they were combat oriented and utilized joint locks, breaks, vital point attacks, and other nasty techniques which were incorporated into their forms. When Funakoshi and Itosu adapted Karate for the public school system in Okinawa and Japan in the early 1900's, these dangerous techniques were removed and the forms were simplified and became more regimented in the Japanese way. This new style became Shotokan. Shotokan and old Okinawan karate do share some forms, though they appear somewhat different due to the modifications (Japanization) as mentioned above. They are more different than French and vanilla bean - more like vanilla and chocolate fudge swirl. Much information is available on the history and evolution of karate on-line and in several good books.

The one thing I don't like about the "Goju has dangerous techniques; Shotokan doesn't" is that that distinction characterizes Shotokan as a single thing, a snapshot in time, in just one context, about a hundred years ago. And Shotokan, perhaps more than any other karate style right now, can be radically different things depending on which school you go to.

There are certainly still Shotokan schools where there's minimal contact and bruising and it's all about perfection of movement through kihon and kata, almost like the karate version of a tai chi school. But there's also Shotokan schools where you learn to hit hard and be hit for much of each class, where every "block" is interpreted as a smashing forearm blow, and you go home with bruises all over your body. (I've trained at a Shotokan school like the first, and a Shotokan school like the second). There's Shotokan schools heavily invested in drawing out and learning the throws and joint locks from Shotokan's forms (Iain Abernethy is an example) instead of the sanitized "block-and-punch" oriented surface bunkai; at an Abernethy-style school, you're going to be learning just as many joint locks, breaks, and other "nasty techniques" as any other karate style. And there's Shotokan schools heavily invested in the competition sparring circuit, where a lot of emphasis training in WKF sparring as a competitive sport just like, say, Olympic fencing.

I don't know nearly as much about Goju, so I don't know if there's more consistency from one Goju school to another in approach and training method than there is in Shotokan.
 

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I think youre looking for general/stereotypical answers, so Im going to go that way with it...

Goju and Shotokan share very few kata. The kihon (basics) are a bit different as well. Comparatively speaking, uses big and exaggerated movements, whereas Gojus movements are far smaller and more compact. Gojus movements may look sloppy to the Shotokan-trained eye. Shotokans movements may look way too over the top and a waste of energy to the Goju-trained eye.

Gojus stances are higher up and shorter. Shotokans are lower and deeper.

Shotokan tends to favor a medium range where they can kick rib to head height, whereas Goju doesnt like to kick above their own waist and prefers a more up-close distance.

In the real world, these stereotypes can be reversed, completely true or completely false, depending on the individual teacher. Shotokan gets stereotyped by the point fighting competition training, but there are plenty of Goju schools who are competition heavy. In these, the only real difference can be the kata list. And there are Shotokan schools that dont do anything resembling point fighting and look far more like Kyokushin than stereotypical Shotokan. And everything in between for both schools.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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Since this thread is already here...

I've heard, several times, references to Goju ryu being more circular than Shotokan. Can someone point me to a clip or two that might illustrate this difference in an obvious fashion?
 

Mitlov

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Since this thread is already here...

I've heard, several times, references to Goju ryu being more circular than Shotokan. Can someone point me to a clip or two that might illustrate this difference in an obvious fashion?



I definitely think it's an oversimplification, but watching the kata collections of each style, I personally see a very different feel in the two styles. I see a lot more joint locks in Goju kata, and a lot more straight punches and kicks and forearm smashing in Shotokan kata (at least in terms of surface-level bunkai).
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I definitely think it's an oversimplification, but watching the kata collections of each style, I personally see a very different feel in the two styles. I see a lot more joint locks in Goju kata, and a lot more straight punches and kicks and forearm smashing in Shotokan kata (at least in terms of surface-level bunkai).
I see that, too. I don't see (outside the movements in the grappling hands) a lot of circles. But that might be me looking for circular movement as I'd define it, expecting more than is there.
 

Mitlov

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I see that, too. I don't see (outside the movements in the grappling hands) a lot of circles. But that might be me looking for circular movement as I'd define it, expecting more than is there.

When I say Goju is more circular than Shotokan, those circular hand movements and such are what I mean. I guess you could call them small circles, as opposed to the big circles of Choy Li Fut, or the circle walking of Baguazhang. It's still very linear compared to those two Chinese arts, but less linear than Shotokan's heavy emphasis on bum-rush style fighting.
 

Gerry Seymour

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When I say Goju is more circular than Shotokan, those circular hand movements and such are what I mean. I guess you could call them small circles, as opposed to the big circles of Choy Li Fut, or the circle walking of Baguazhang. It's still very linear compared to those two Chinese arts, but less linear than Shotokan's heavy emphasis on bum-rush style fighting.
That makes sense. I was looking for something in the footwork. The hand movements are similar in some ways to what I see in Nihon Goshin Aikido.
 
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