Are you confused over what’s Ju?

Goju at Home is in its infancy and we’re still finding our way. Where we go from here is up to you.

The idea is to bring softness back to this art we love. But frankly, how we see soft is quite different than what you see in the dojo or how it’s discussed around the web.

To most goju instructors and students, ju is a nice-sounding concept used for blocks that deflect and control an oncoming attack. It doesn’t apply to strikes, which they consider go, or “hard.”

To us, ju is about energy and movement and the application of principles of the internal martial arts to karate. And that’s where things get dicey.

Because the de facto state of ju is not soft per se; it is only less hard, sufficiently so to allow greater contact with an opponent to sense and respond to what they’ll do next.

But those techniques that are supposed to be oh-so-soft are used in conjunction with other goju basics, like rooted stances, that don’t lend themselves to application of the internal principles as we understand them, or even effective deflection of attacks.

Some, like relaxation, are sometimes discussed at upper levels of training. But it always seems to be relaxing downward from a state of tension and kime to see how soft you need to become in order to perform the techniques.

But on the internal side, relaxation is a fundamental principle from which all else flows, and without which energy doesn’t.

Perhaps they’re both coming at the problem from opposites sides. After all, the object is fighting proficiency, and goju-ryu has been very effective in creating strong warriors.

We’ll do our best to introduce you to the ways of the internal arts and the principles that make them tick. And we’ll try to help you apply them to the goju techniques they teach us that are almost never used except in kata, and even then not in the ways we’d apply them.

We’re not here trying to come off as some expert trying to remake you in our image. It’s important to find your own fighting style and the methods that work for you.

But we think that bringing more softness to your goju-ryu is easily within reach, even without developing inner power and its application to technique. So we’ll share with you what we’ve found over the last 40 years of training — and hope that you’ll share with us what you’ve learned about ju along the way as well.

In any event, thanks for being with us as we explore this path together. We’ll try to make it worth your while.