Higaonna Morio Sensei
Master Morio Higaonna, Judan (10th dan) and Chief Instructor of the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF), was born in 1938 in Naha; the capital city of Okinawa.
He began training in Shorin Ryu at the age of 14, and in 1954, at the age of 16 he began training in Goju-Ryu under the guidance of Master An'ichi Miyagi, the most knowledgeable and devoted student of Goju-Ryu founder, the late Master Chojun Miyagi.
Through long hours of arduous training and with a ferocious dedication which is rare in even the greatest of Masters, Master Higaonna quickly established himself as one of the island's top karate men.In 1960, at the age of 22, he moved to Tokyo, mainland Japan to study commerce at Takushoku University. He was invited to teach at Tokyo's Yoyogi dojo where he soon attracted a large following of dedicated karateka, sometimes he taught as many as 1,000 students a day. Students travelled from all over the world to train with Master Higaonna and as a result the IOGKF was formed in 1979. The IOGKF is now established in 50 countries world-wide.
Training has always been the central theme of Master Higaonna's life. He has never sought the limelight in the martial arts and his reputation is simply the result of his superb skills and mastery of his art; a mastery which is only exceeded by his genuine modesty and humility. He is the author of a number of books and videos on Goju Ryu, and as a holder of the award of Intangible Cultural Treasure of Okinawa, he is considered the foremost exponent of the Art.
Nakamura Tetsugi Sensei
World Chief Instructor
Sensei Nakamura, IOGKF Vice-Chief Instructor & Administrative director, has been training in Goju-Ryu Karate for over 30 years. He was a student in Okinawa, Japan – the birthplace of Karate. He received instructions from the Karate master who is the direct student of the founder of Goju-Ryu Karate – Master Chojun Miyagi. Sensei Nakamura has won 3 World Championships – twice in kumite (sparring), and once in kata (forms).
He was a head-assistant instructor under Master Morio Higaonna (10th degree black belt, Chief Instructor of IOGKF) at the world headquarters in California, USA (1991 – 94) as well as Japanese headquarters in Tokyo (1995 – 1997). He moved to Canada 1997 as a technical advisor for IOGKF Canada. He was soon appointed as a Chief Instructor for IOGKF Canada as well as the Administrative Director for IOGKF International.
In 2012 at the IOGKF World Budosai, he was promoted to IOGKF Chief Instructor by his own instructor, Master Morio Higaonna.
Sensei Nakamura travels internationally regularly to teach Karate seminars. He holds a law degree and teacher’s license for philosophy, politics, and economics from Kagawa University, Japan. He is currently a 7th degree black belt in Goju-Ryu Karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Judo.
GENE VILLA SENSEI
USA Chief Instructor - 7th Dan
Sensei Gene Villa started his martial arts training in 1963 at the age of five under the instruction of his father, a 3rd degree black belt in judo. As he got older, his interest in other martial arts grew. This led him to study several martial arts: Shotokan (Karate), Kenpo (Karate), Thai Kickboxing, Chinese Wushu and in 1977 he found his favorite, a style called Goju.
He receivied his 1st degree black belt in 1981, became an assistant instructor and in 1983 opened his first karate school. From 1981 to 2004, Sensei Villa competed all over the United States winning many regional and national titles in kata (forms), kobudo (weapons), and kumite (both in point sparring and full contact).
To learn more about the art of Goju-Ryu, Sensei Villa began training in 1990 under Master Morio Higaonna, the world chief instructor of the International Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation. Under Higaonna Sensei’s guidance, he has become one of the most respected Goju-Ryu instructors in the United States.
In 2010, Sensei Villa was appointed as Chief Instructor for the IOGKF- USA by Master Higaonna. He is currently a 7th degree black belt in Goju-Ryu karate, but more importantly is still a student.