Karate is a martial art developed in the Okinawan islands. It developed from the indigenous Okinawan martial arts, with influence of Chinese martial arts, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital-point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家). In 1881, Higaonna Kanryō returned from China after years of instruction in Chinese martial arts and founded what would become Naha-te. One of his students was the founder of Goju-ryu, Chōjun Miyagi. Goju-ryu (Japanese for "hard-soft style") is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Both principles, hard and soft, come from the famous martial arts book used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bubishi. Gō, which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; jū, which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements. Goju-ryu incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum, combining hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including locks, grappling, takedowns, and throws.


Goju-ryu karate made its way to mainland Japan in part via Sensei Gogen "The Cat" Yamaguchi, whose Goju-kai organization became one of the largest karate organizations in Japan. By 1966, his organization comprised more than 200 dojo and clubs and 60,000 members within the Goju-kai system. Following World War II, many American soldiers stationed in Japan began training in karate, including Sensei Peter Urban, who became the first westerner to compete in the All Japan College Karate Championships while stationed there. Upon his return to the United States, he founded the USA Goju organization, training thousands of students — including our teacher, Shihan Jim Chillemi. Sensei Urban's training also included studies under Dr. Richard Kim of the Butokukai and Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. One of Mas Oyama's most senior students, Shigeru Oyama, later became one of Shihan Chillemi's teachers. 


For more than 25 years, New York Goju Karate has been offering quality martial arts instruction to children, teens and adults in the Westchester area. Karate is a living, breathing art-form – that’s the basis of the mantra “Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future” which led our teacher, Shihan Jim Chillemi, to found the New York Goju Karate Association in 1991. We invite you to learn more about our school and our unique philosophy that has drawn thousands of students to NYGKA over the past two decades.