Master Morio Higaonna, 10th degree black belt, has been acknowledged as one of the leading karate senseis and foremost exponents of Goju-Ryu Karate in Japan for the last 30 years. Training has always been the central theme of his life. He has never sought the limelight in the martial arts and his world renowned reputation is purely a result of his superb skills and mastery of his art; a mastery which is only exceeded by his genuine modesty and humility.
Master Higaonna arrived in Tokyo, mainland Japan, from his native Okinawa in 1961. He was 22 years old. He had studied Goju-Ryu from the age of 14 with a ferocious dedication which is rare in even the greatest of masters. Therefore, at 22 he was already an accomplished martial artist. Because of his obvious prowess, and despite his young age, he was invited to teach at Yoyogi Dojo in central Tokyo. His classes, although severe, became extremely popular and it was not long before he was employed as the full-time instructor there.
At this time many foreigners came to Tokyo to study the martial arts. They would arrive at the internationally known dojos such as the JKA and Kyokushinkai. Once in Tokyo however, their curiosity would lead them to other dojos in the Tokyo area. When they came across the Yoyogi dojo and saw the small but dynamic sensei there, many of them were awestruck by Master Higaonna's superb technique and incredible power. Immediately dropping what they were studying, they began training under this charismatic and inspirational teacher.
It was not only Master Higaonna's karate that impressed them, but also his manner and the manner of his students. In an age where foreigners in most dojos in Japan were considered as no more than live bodies to be pummeled, this dojo was like a breath of fresh air. All Master Higaonna's classes were demanding and testing to the limits of endurance, but they were always fair and conducted in the true spirit of Budo, the martial way.
In the 21 years that Master Higaonna taught at the Yoyogi Dojo, thousands of karate students benefited from his unique brand of karate. His classes became so popular that he was teaching 4 classes a day totaling over 1000 students daily.
Master Higaonna also built up a large overseas following and this lead to the founding of International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-do Federation (IOGKF) in 1979. With Master Higaonna at its head the IOGKF is now established in over 40 countries world wide.
Master Higaonna was awarded his 10th degree black belt in 2008 from his instructor An'ichi Miyagi. Along with the cirtificate of his Dan (rank) certificate, Master Higaonna was also awarded another certificate signed by both An'ichi Miyagi Sensei and Aragaki Sensei stating that Master Higaonna was the successor of the teachings of Grand Master Chojun Miyagi, and of the style Goju-Ryu. Master Higaonna resides in Okinawa, Japan, where he continues to teach at a dojo there.
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