Goju is derived from the joinder of two words: go (hard) and ju (soft).
Most practitioners like to think of “go” as referring to striking and kicking being a hard use of force to attack an opponent.
They also consider “ju” referencing blocking without using force-on-force. However, most of our katas bely such an interpretation.
Some goju blocks are hard. Force is used to divert the oncoming attack. Chudan uke (middle block) is one such application. The incoming attack is knocked away by the blocking arm. Gedan barai is another.
Other goju blocks are intended to be “soft,” by diverting the attack without the use of a forceful defense.
But the concept of “ju” is nowhere to be found in kata application, since even the “soft” blocks (think Tensho) are performed from a stable, rooted stance that generally denies a practitioner the ability to evade or even join with and redirect attacks.
Therefore to practice the “ju” aspects of goju defense, one needs to understand the concepts of body movement and distancing, not just to evade, but also to generate explosive power on the counter-strike (which may be launched simultaneous to the defensive action).
This thread will explore some of those concepts and ways you can apply them in your kumite practice.