GoSoku Ryu

Hard Fast Style. Created by Takayuki Kubota, and promoted by the International Karate Association (IKA).


Grand Master Takayuki Kubota's extensive and in-depth knowledge of the martial arts and first hand experience with different groups and individuals, ranging from young children to law enforcement agencies, prompted him to further refine and modernize karate-do to meet the specific needs of contemporary societies. His own experience with self-defense and karate training had made him genuinely interested in developing karate at all levels. He himself a prodigy, Master Kubota was especially concerned with the methods of teaching children and young people. He was profoundly concerned about the promotion and future of karate, especially outside Japan. With these concerns and ideas, he set out to create the Gosoku-Ryu, Hard-fast, style of karate. It took Master Takayuki Kubota several years of further research and improvement until it became the most practical and versatile system of karate being practiced anywhere in the world.

In 1989, Grand Master Kubota was bestowed the title of Soke, that is, creator of a new, unique and internationally recognized style of karate.

Soke is a world renowned instructor of the Shotokan style of karate, but refuses to discuss or compare the relative merits of the Gosoku-Ryu style with other methods of Karate practice. When confronted with the question, "Which Ryu is superior?", he modestly replies, "Karate is karate!" Perhaps he wishes to imply that the longer you practice karate, the more you will recognize the similarities between the various styles rather than the differences. Soke is a very modest and humble person. His sincere feelings of humility and heartfelt respect for tradition are acknowleged by everyone who knows him.

Respecting Soke's feelings, no direct comparison of the major styles of karate will be made here. However, we will mention briefly some of the major tenets on which the creation of Gosoku-Ryu was based. In the creation of Gosoku-Ryu, Soke's thoughts were centered around three major areas of concern, i.e., universal promotion of the art, adapting it for practical use and improving the existing methods of teaching and training for all people, especially children and young people.

Internationalization of Karate-do

Soke feared that if karate-do remained behind closed cultural doors it would suffer the same fate as other contemporary martial arts. Soke believed karate-do deserved universal recognition and that it had to become Japan's gift to the rest of the civilized world.

Adaptation for Practical Use

Being an accomplished Master of several arts, Soke had discovered the value of mixing techniques and cross training in several different fighting disciplines. Furthermore, having taught self-defense and police techniques to law enforcement agencies for many years, he believed that karate-do should be adapted so that it could be more practically applied to meet the needs of twentieth century societies. He felt that most of the ritualistic postures, symbolic gestures and techniques adopted from animals and ancient weapons systems were somewhat impractical for use in real life situations.

On one hand, Soke held a great deal of respect for tradition and the monumental efforts and accomplishments of the old Masters so that he did not wish to modify the classical ways. On the other hand, he knew that the art had to be invigorated before it received wider recognition by the more pragmatic youth of the post-war era. For this reason Soke decided to create a new school of karate-do that would remain loyal to the ideals of the forefathers while complementing it with practical innovations. Some of the basic ideas that were instrumental in the development of the new style are listed as follows:

  • Exclusion of redundant movements
  • Inclusion of practical techniques
  • Training in close quarters fighting and self-defense techniques
  • Generation of power through speed
  • Adaptation from Judo, Aikido, Jujutsu, etc.
  • Added neuromuscular benefits
  • Added mental and spiritual benefits
  • Adaptability for competition training
  • Optimization and efficiency of movement
  • Improved methods of teaching and training

These and many other new ideas were incorporated into the new system of karate-do which Soke named Gosoku-Ryu. These ideas become more tangible when studying Gosoku-Ryu katas or actually practicing karate under Soke or his advanced instructors.

The practical innovations of Gosoku-Ryu karate, as well as Soke's mastery of the martial arts, have made his school the most sought after organization for training law enforcement agencies, consulting for the entertainment industry and training of students in institutions of higher education both in the United States and abroad. In spite of its young age Gosoku-Ryu has been acclaimed as representing a traditional system of Japanese karate-do.

Improving the Training Systems

Undoubtedly Gosoku-Ryu karate is one of the most powerful and practical styles of karate-do known to man. Its effectiveness is not only a function of its fighting techniques, but also the methods by which they are taught and implemented at IKA and its affiliated dojos.

Being a great teacher and an educator, Soke was well aware of the shortcomings of the older methods of teaching and training which were still being practiced at the time. Soke knew at once that the traditional methods of training had to be revised to meet both the demands of the new method of karate-do, as well as the lifestyles of his students. He had envisaged that the majority of his pupils would be children, students and working people with limited time to spare for karate and related activities.

To assure training efficiency without compromising technical proficiency he devised specific step by step training methods and practice drills which were compatible with the physical demands of the Gosoku-Ryu system and the limitations of his students. The Kihon katas in general and the Kihon-Sonota kata in particular are some of the means that Soke devised to implement his teaching ideas in a dojo environment. Although Gosoku-Ryu karate embraces an extensive repertoire of techniques, its teaching philosophy emphasizes that it is the quality of the technique that counts more than the quantity.

All of Soke's innovative teaching and training ideas are now utilized as standard methods of practice at IKA headquarters. His teaching philosophies have received widespread recognition in the karate world. The interested reader who wishes to become acquainted with Soke's special teaching techniques is recommended to either become an IKA member or access some of Soke's numerous videos and publications on the subject.

Soke consolidated the solutions to his concerns in the creation of an international organization and a new school of karate-do that would measure up to his own high standards of management, teaching and human values. Consequently, in 1953 he established the International Karate Association (IKA) in Tokyo, Japan and introduced Gosoku-Ryu karate through IKA to the world. Since its inception, the primary goal of the IKA has been to promote traditional Japanese karate, especially the Gosoku-Ryu style. In 1964, IKA headquarters and the main dojo, the Hombu, was relocated to the United States and was able to attract talented young students that later formed the core of the American branch of the IKA.


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