剛柔流空手道 (Goju Ryu)
空手道歷史流傳 (Karate History)
These are two Chinese language encyclopaedia pages for 'Goju Ryu Karate-Do' (Chinese: 'Gang Rou Liu Kong Shou Dao). An important sentence for this research is as follows:
'This lineage of karate (Goju Ryu) possesses the obvious characteristics of 'Southern Fist' (南拳 - Nan Quan).'
Although the three different Southern Shaolin Temples in Fujian all practice Northern martial arts mixed with Southern styles - only one of these temples is specifically mentioned as first developing the style 'Southern Fist' and that is the Southern Shaolin Temple at 'Putian'.
Another interesting sentence is:
'This lineage emphasises the technique of the "Southern Boat and Northern Horse" (Nan Zhou - Bei Ma) - a Southern Style of martial arts (This refers to two types of Horse Stance with the 'Northern' version being deep, low and stable and the 'Southern' version being high, light and flexible). This was passed-on through the "White Crane Gate" of the Southern Shaolin Fist tradition.'
This would suggest that the White Crane Fist concerned may well have been learned by Xie Chongxiang (Ryu Ryu Ko) at one of the Southern Shaolin Temples (both the Putian and Fuqing Southern Shaolin Temples are in the vicinity of Fuzhou - where Xie Zongxiang is believed to have lived.
The Teacher of Higaonna Kanryō is described in Chinese language sources as '謝崇祥' (Xie Chongxiang) [b. 1852 - ?]- aka '如如哥' (Ru Ru Ge). In the Chinese language this reads something similar to 'Like Like Elder Brother' or perhaps 'Popular Elder Brother' as it is a nickname. Within the Okinawan language - the Chinese ideograms '如如哥' (Ru Ru Ge) are pronounced 'Ryu Ryu Ko'. His surname is '謝' (Xie) and his first names are 'Chongxiang' - with 'Chong' meaning 'Lofty' or 'Esttemed' and 'Xiang' meaning 'Auspicious'. This probably refers to a prominent son who was expected to keep the family clan-name alive by having sons and passing on the family surname to future generations. He is also known as '劉良興' (Liu Liangxing), 'Liu Lomg' (劉龍) and '鄭禮' (Zheng Li) - all believed to be pseudonyms. Even 'Xie Chongxiang' could mean 'Thank the Auspicious Lineage'! All I can find about Xie Chongxiang's background at the moment is this:
'Through communication by word of mouth and adaptation of his living habits to the norms of Chinese culture, etc., he achieved what he was looking for. He was finally accepted into a Chinese martial lineage and taught by a great Master of White Crane Fist - one Xie Chongxiang (Ru Ru Ge). Xie Zongxiang made a living through being a very good bamboo craftsman (carpenter).'
I would say that there is a very high possibility that Xie Chongxiang (Ryu Ryu Ko) was taught White Crane Fist at one of the Southern Shaolin Temples (either Putian or Fuqing). Another possibility is that he learned outside the temple from someone else who had learned in the temple during his lifetime, or that one of his ancestors had been a Shaolin monk in his youth before disrobing, marrying and then teaching the martial arts to his sons. In the latter case - Xie Chongxiang would have inherited the White Crane Style from his father, etc. One thing is for certain, styles were certainly not 'open' like they are today and in the 1870s the family and temple lineage would have been very exclusive indeed. Money would have meant nothing unlike today. Character, virtue, loyalty, duty and gaining the right kind of references was the only way of securing a genuine teacher who may have taught only one or two students during his entire life! Apparently, the devastation suffered during the Battle of Okinawa destroyed all the records - a fact recorded in both China and Okinawa.