Karate Masters



Chojun Miyagi Kensei was born in Naha, Okinawa, on April 25 1888. He began his study of karate-do around the age of 10. During his early teens he began a very demanding training regime under the instruction of Master Kanryo Higashionna.

After Master Higashionna’s death, Miyagi Kensei travelled to the Fukien Province in China and studied the hard and external forms of Shaolin along with the softer internal forms of Pa Kua. To these systems of Chinese Boxing he added his native Naha-te and thus created a new system, now known as Goju-ryu.

It was not until around 1929 that Miyagi first coined the term Goju-ryu. The name, meaning hard/ soft style, was taken directly from the ancient Chinese text on martial arts known as the Bubishi,

“Everything in the universe breathes out (hard) and in (soft)…”

After furthering his knowledge in China for some years, Miyagi Kensei returned to Okinawa and opened a dojo. In addition to his running his karate dojo for many years, Miyagi was also a school teacher and introduced the study of karate into the school curriculum, the police force and many other areas within the community.

Miyagi’s reputation as a karate practitioner was enormous, he was a humble man who was often called upon to teach and give demonstrations of his skills. One of his greatest achievements was the systematic organisation of karate. He developed kata Sanchin (Three Battles), and created kata Tensho (Revolving Palms). These kata provide the essential building blocks to the Goju-ryu karate-do.

Miyagi Kensei died on Okinawa on October 8, 1953.


De Jong, Ingo,(1989). Goju Kai Karate-do Hard and Soft in Harmony – Volume 1. Sweden, Jakobsbergs Tryckeri AB.

Gogen Yamaguchi – 10th Dan GrandMaster

(1909 – 1989)

Gogen Yamaguchi was born on January 20, 1909, Kagoshima City on Southern Kyushu. As a young boy he showed interest in the martial arts and studied kendo (Japanese fencing). Around this time Yamaguchi began his karate training under the instruction of Mr. Murata, a carpenter from Okinawa who was drawn to the young Yamaguchi’s serious attitude and willingness to train hard.

During his days as a Law student, Yamaguchi opened his first dojo at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. The dojo soon became reknowned throughout the city for its hard training and fierce breathing exercises. Yamaguchi also introduced sparring matches based on free will (jissen kumite), which was unheard of in those days, as training had traditionally consisted of patterns (kata) and pre-arranged sparring (yaksoku kumite). Some of the rules that he created in order to determine the winner of a match are still in use today in jiyu kumite and competition karate.

In 1931, at the age of 22, Gogen Yamaguchi was introduced to Chojun Miyagi. Immediately, Yamaguchi became determined to develop a deeper understanding of both the hard and soft aspects of Goju-ryu. Previously,he had focused his efforts on the hard aspect of karate and hence earned the nickname, “Gogen”, meaning rough, from Miyagi.

Throughout his life Yamaguchi Shihan spent long periods of time training on Mount Kurama. During these training sessions he would subject himself to the pounding waterfall, under which he practiced Sanchin kata, in order to develop his mind and body.

He is known around the world as, “The Cat”, due to his grace and speed that he developed through his practice of neko ashi dachi (cat stance).

In accordance with Miyagi Kensei’s wishes, after World War Two Yamaguchi Shihan set about popularising Goju-ryu karate-do around the world. His charismatic presence, passion and incredible skills soon attracted many students.

In 1950, he established the I.K.G.A (International Karate-do Goju-kai Association), which has grown to incorporate over 50 member nations. In 1964, he unified all the existing karate schools in Japan into F.A.J.K.O (The Federation of All Japan Karate-do Organisation), this organization was the forerunner to the modern day J.K.F (Japan Karate Federation).

Gogen Yamaguchi Shihan passed away in 1989, at the age of 81. His son, Goshi Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan, has continued to develop Goju-ryu karate-do and is an amazing master in his own right.


De Jong, Ingo,(1989). Goju Kai Karate-do Hard and Soft in Harmony – Volume 1. Sweden, Jakobsbergs Tryckeri AB.

Yamaguchi, Goshi, (1993). Goju-ryu Karate: A Visual Guide to Kumite Techniques. Japan.

Goshi Yamaguchi - 8th Dan Saiko Shihan

(1942 – present)

Goshi Yamaguchi, Saiko Shihan was born in Shinjing, Manchuria on September 28, 1942. He is the third son of Kaiso (Founder) Gogen Yamaguchi.

In 1951, at the age of 8, he began practicing karate-do at Senzoku Dojo in Asakusa. Six years later he received his 1st dan and in 1959 he earned his 2nd dan. Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan was made a 3rd dan, instructor in 1962.

He entered Nihon University in 1963, majoring in Cinema Studies in the Arts Faculty. He travelled to the U.S.A whilst still a student, where hecontinued his studies as well as teaching karate for one year.

Upon his return to Japan, he taught in various Goju-ryu schools, prior to his graduation from university in 1969. At this time he became a full-time Shihan at the Hombu (head) Dojo with a view to promoting and developing Goju-ryu Karate-do.

Yamaguchi Saiko Shihan has travelled to over 40 countries as an authorised instructor of J.K.G.A, I.K.G.A, J.K.F and W.K.F referee, in order to teach and develop karate-do.

In 1990 he was appointed as the president of J.K.G.A and I.K.G.A, and Saiko Shihan (Grand Master) of both associations.


Yamaguchi, Goshi, (1993). Goju-ryu Karate: A Visual Guide to Kumite Techniques. Japan.

Brian Mackie - 8th Dan Hanshi Shihan

Australian Chief instructor and Director I.K.G.A Oceania, Brian is the Principal of the Karate Academy of Japan. Brian was taught and trained by Japan’s top masters and was awarded his Master Instructor’s Certificate (Shihan) and rank of 8th Dan Black Belt from Grandmaster Yamaguchi.

The Karate Academy of Japan was first established in 1967 under the instruction of Yasunobu Nagai Sensei. Nagai Sensei was a 5th dan, instructor, from the Goju-kai hombu dojo in Tokyo who set a high standard of technical excellence. His style of training was intense physically and has had a lasting affect on Brian.

Brian was one of Nagai Sensei’s first students, displaying his dedication and attention to detail from the start. He committed his time to perfecting every technique that Nagai Sensei taught to him and constantly sought to increase his knowledge. Brian became the chief instructor of the Academy after Nagai Sensei returned to Japan in 1970.

With the pursuit of excellence at the forefront of his mind, Brian went to Japan in 1971 to train with Japan’s top Goju-ryu exponents, including Gonnohyoe Yamamoto Sensei. It was there at the legendary Japan Karate College that Brian was first introduced to Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi, and he was instantly in awe of the famous karate master known as, ” The Cat”. Brian was as impressed by Yamaguchi’s charismatic and gracious nature as he was by his brilliant karate prowess.

Brian Mackie has continued to visit Japan every few years in order to further his knowledge of Goju-ryu karate so that he may pass it onto his students. His instructor, Ben Mettam, has travelled with him as part of three training visits to Japan since 1993.

In competition Brian was the first West Australian to win the Australian All-Styles Karate Championship, he was also the first Australian to win the prestigious Asian-Pacific Championship. Brian has assisted many people to succeed at the highest levels of national and international competition. With his competition background, teaching skills and attention to detail, Brian Mackie Shihan is ideally positioned as Director of Australia I.K.G.A.

For the official IKGA website of Australian Chief Instructor and IKGA Director Brian Mackie, 8th Dan Hanshi Shihan, please visit www.karatewa.com

Ben Mettam - Renshi 6th Dan Shihan

Ben commenced training in the martial arts via Judo in 1979 under the late, Andrew Flemming (Formerly the patron of Judo in Australia). In 1980, as a junior, Ben won the State Championship in Judo and went on to represent WA at the National Titles.

Commencing his Karate training in 1988, under the instruction of Brian Mackie, 7th Dan and Chief Instructor of Australia IKGA, Ben trained a minimum of six Karate sessions a week

for the initial four years of his training. Since that time he has continued to train a minimum of four times per week. Due to Ben’s hard work, dedication and persistence he has developed an excellent base of knowledge that is continually being built upon. In 2006 Grandmaster Goshi Yamaguchi awarded Ben his 5th Dan, Shihan (master teacher) rank. Ben currently teaches twelve sessions of karate per week at his North Beach and Warwick dojo.

At the forefront of Ben’s mind is the desire to continually strive for improvement. Winning four state titles in kumite (sparring) and representing Australia, as either a competitor or coach, since 1993; Ben is an I.K.G.A Asian‑Pacific champion (1999) and has also won two silver medals at I.K.G.A World Championships (1997, 2001). Ben’s passion for Karate is fuelled by his desire to pass on the benefits he has gained from practicing this dynamic art. He is a highly qualified Individual, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Master’s degree in Theology, and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessing.