Miyagi Chojun Sensei was the Founder of all Goju Ryu. From his days as a young boy studying Okinawa-te, to his demanding training with Higaonna Kanryo Sensei, to his own systematizing of the Goju Ryu method, Chojun Miyagi provided us all with an opportunity to learn a martial art that is not only effective for self-defense, but also a character building platform.
About the System Roots
The Satto Dynasty (1350-1405), under King Satto established tributary relationships with China in 1372. These were in place until the Japanese invasion in 1879.
The First Sho Dynasty (1406-1469), achieved the political unification of Okinawa in 1422. As such, trade relationships with China and Formosa were strong, and Okinawans had access to China in a way unlike many other neighbors.
Okinawans were so well established in Fukien (Fujian), that they even had their own boarding and eating houses. It is in part due to the positive attitude of Okinawans generally that Higaonna Kanryo Sensei was able to gain introduction to RyuRyuKo Shifu, and begin his training.
(For a full account of the history of Goju Ryu, please purchase Higaonna Morio Sensei's comprehensive work: History of Karate: Goju Ryu. http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Products/Pages/books_gojuhistrev.html )
Okinawa is the name for the island of Okinawa as well as the prefecture which includes not only the main island of Okinawa, but also the southern islands of the Ryukyu archipelago. The Kanji characters for Okinawa mean "Rope in the offing.".
The capital city is Naha, the home of Naha-te. (Due to the expansion of the city of Naha, Shuri , the home of Shuri castle and Shuri-Te, is now also part of Naha, and easily accessable by monorail.)
Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom, the Kingdom of the Ryukyus. Although a small kingdom, Okinawa prospered in the region, trading with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. As excellent traders and fishermen, the trade winds blew Okinawans to many parts of Asia.
With so many foreign influences, Okinawa has developed its own unique history and culture. The heritage, the unique culture and history has been passed on to the descendents of these early pioneers. "Islands open to the world" is a concept that still lives on among many Okinawans.
De Wet Sensei has traveled to Okinawa-ken (prefecture) many times, and each time he has found more to explore. Much like the martial arts of Okinawa, many of the true gems of Okinawa-ken can only be found through repeated visits, and personal research. It's a Highly recommend and worthwhile journey!