Goju Ryu Karate emphasises the need for a strong body as the foundation of training. In the early days of Goju Ryu, training under Chojun Miyagi Sensei would consist solely of approximately three years of Sanchin kata and Hojo Undo (or supplementary training with implements) before one could progress to further technical training!
Whilst modern Goju Ryu instruction isn’t so rigid in approach, Tooting Karate Club students benefit from regular instruction with many traditional training implements. Some of the implements you’ll use in Hojo Undo training include:
The Chi-shi or Strength Stone
The Chi-ishi (or chikara ishi if it’s name is said in full) is an implement that looks something similar to a mace. It consists of a stick set into a stone head with the length of the stick and size of the head determining how intense the training with it will be.
Unlike a mace, the Chi ishi is not used as a combat weapon. Rather a series of moves are used which develop the arms, shoulders and forearms to create the type of musculature appropriate for a martial artist.
The Tetsu Sashi or Iron Padlock
Tetsu Sashi or Iron Padlock is traditional implement that underlines how martial artists of the past took what was around them and used them to enhance their training. It would have formed part of the lock of large traditional doors – a pair of tetsu sashi would would have a plank of wood run through them to seal a door shut. In the past it would be more common to see them as Ishi Sashi or Stone Padlocks, but these days metal (or Tetsu) is more often used.
The Tetsu Sashi can be used to strengthen both arms and legs.
Nigiri Game or Gripping Jars
Nigiri Game come from a traditional type of jar made in Okinawa for keeping the ashes of ancestors in. Naturally those used for that purpose were never used; empty urns were instead taken and filled with sand or water to give them the right amount of weight for the student.
Nigiri Game can be used to develop stance and are especially effective at building your grip and forearms – vital areas for those performing unarmed combat.
The Kongoken or Iron Ring
The Kongoken is an unusually large metal oval. Unlike the previous training implements which have their roots in the martial arts of Fukkien province which preceded Karate, the Kongoken was added to the Karate repertoire by Chojun Miyagi Sensei after his stay in Hawaii.
Chojun Miyagi Sensei had long enjoyed wrestling and whilst there became impressed at the way that the Hawaiian wrestlers developed the Kongoken to increase their power. It can be used in many ways from the more obvious weight lifting type of motion to others that develop throwing-type movements.
Other Training Equipment
In addition to these Goju Ryu Karate specific training aids, Tooting Karate Club also benefits from a range of more modern training aids including punching pads and padded floor mats to facilitate safe instruction in take downs, throws and ground fighting.