Sakai Ryugo & the Teachings of the Ryushinkaikan

Unlike my friend Fred Lohse sensei, I never got to train with Sakai Ryugo, but thanks to his introduction many years ago I was able to train with his son Sakai Ryusho sensei and the shihandai of the Ryukyukaikan, Miyagi Tatsuhiko sensei. Ryugo sensei’s Goju-ryu lineage is quite interesting (like most senior Goju-ryu teachers), but what struck me the most was the philosophy he articulated.

Like most teachers of his generation, there is an emphasis on responsibility, discipline and self-reliance that is missing in my opinion from modern Karateka. So, I decided to translate Ryugo’s sensei’s ideals and philosophy as they appear on the Ryushinkaikan website. I hope you find them as insightful as I did.

Goju-ryu Karate-Do Ryushinkan Dojo Philosophy


The path of training is to master the art of protecting human life and to live properly as a human being.


It is through the consistent effort of mental training that the mind is formed.


The development of a person who is useful to society and preserves and spreads the techniques of Goju-ryu Karate-Do.

Improving your Mind

In the modern Karate world, the practice of Goju-ryu Karate, which is the oldest and most traditional form of Karate, has been strictly passed down to the next generation as a way of training for life.

Goju-ryu is based on the principles of “Beginning and ending with courtesy,” “Never being struck by others, never striking others,” “Trust and peace of mind”.

The strength of human beings is more important than mere physical strength, because the most important thing is a strong mind focused on the path.

Miyagi Tatsuhiko sensei patiently trying to teach me.

In today’s society, there are many people whose minds are lost, who are on the verge of losing their goals, who lack confidence and strength, and who are thinking about how to live their lives with ease.

If it is easy and makes you happy, that is best; but the real world is not so easy. In the path of life, hardships and trials are always a part of it.

A person who takes the easy way and forgets to learn will never progress. He who fears hardship and trials and tries to avoid them will never improve.

What is important for human beings is a practical path to learning. What is important for human beings is the energy and enthusiasm to face up to things. The basis for this is to continually train and improve the mind, which is the most important thing.

Happiness is a healthy body and mind and there is no other way to achieve this than to train and polish it by ourselves. Refining the mind through training in the Way is the source of human life.

The Ryushinkaikan Dojo is a place to refine your mind and cultivate your personality and character for the benefit of society.

Conquer Your Own Mind (the last lesson)

The mind is the only thing that can lead you astray; do not let your mind be troubled; your enemy is in your own mind.

In our daily life, everyone can get lost and suffer. When you face difficulties, if you don’t have the strength and power to protect yourself, you will be swept away.

If we have the strength of mind and strength to live, we can solve anything. Fortitude of the heart is the most important thing.

A “strong” mind means a mind that is unafraid, unhesitating, and immovable.

“Power” means the skill to protect oneself.

This “strength” and “power” cannot be acquired from reading ten thousand books or being told in words; then it is just a theory.

You have to train your body, develop your skills, and refine your mind to realize it.

Goju-ryu is a path of self-discipline and training.

In your 20s, train your body.

In your 30s, cultivate your skills.

In your 40s, cultivate the mind of the way.

In your 50s and above, cultivate yourself.

There is no victory or defeat in the practice of the way. It is the training to develop oneself as a human being. The practice of the path is arduous. It is precisely because it is difficult that you are able to master “strength” and “power”.

Do not forget to work hard, you who are practicing. Never stop learning.

A person’s practice is a lifetime. Be in control of your mind.