Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) [1964-2018] understood Goju Ryu in much the same manner that I do. In the late mid to late 1980s in the UK, I walked into a Goju Ryu Dojo in the city of Hereford and was astonished by what I encountered! Whilst travelling around the UK participating in various education courses (at a time when such endeavours were still ‘free’), my Hakka Chinese gongfu Master – Chan Tin Sang (1924-1993) - suggested that whilst keeping my Chinese background ‘secret’ (I look Western), I should attend a number of local martial arts schools (all of which appeared ‘Japanese’) learn as much as I can about their teachings, and then when I returned home, I could make a full report about what I had found. All the styles I had encountered were all variants on a theme with blocks, punches and kicks all seemingly replicating the Japanese sword systems (although I respected the motivations behind the Wado Ryu philosophy). The techniques were aggressive, delivered in a straight line and designed to demonstrate dominance at the point of first contact.
Goju Ryu Karate-Do looks and feels nothing like the average ‘Japanese’ Karate style! Chinese language historical sources are unclear about how long the Ryukyu Islands were a tributary State of China – but this relationship ended in 1879 when the islands were annexed by the Imperial Japanese regime. Not long after this, Higaonna Kanryo returned to Okinawa bringing with him a number of White Crane fighting styles, together with a number of ‘Southern Fist’ fighting Forms all gathered from martial arts Master living in and around the Fuzhou region of Fujian province. As these typically ‘Chinese’ styles advocate a system of self-defence premised upon the smooth interaction of yin and yang – this combined fighting style became known in Okinawa as ‘Goju’ or the ‘Hard-Soft’ School! The blocks are ‘rounded’ whilst the attacks are straight or circular and the stances are regularly transitioned from deep, to medium and high! This is all held together with a very well-timed ‘body-shifting’ ability! These techniques work because of the arduous body conditioning which the Goju Ryu student must undergo as part of the mind-body preparation process. This is reflected in the ‘tension’ retained whilst performing the Sanchin and Tensho Katas, etc.
Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) was 17 years old (during February 1964) when he first encountered a Goju Ryu Karate-Do class being held in Hong Kong. At this time, Hong Kong was still a British ‘colony’ and Japanese businesses were given free access to the island. This led to leisure clubs being established that existed for certain ethnic groups only. For instance, there were leisure clubs for ‘White’ British (where all non-Europeans were excluded), and there were similar clubs permitted by the British Colonial Authorities for the Japanese business community living within the colony. A Japanese-only Goju Ryu Karate-Do class was established at the Causeway Bay World Fitness Club. To gain entry an individual had to be ethnically Japanese or the ‘guest’ of an ethnic Japanese person. This is how Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) gained access to this Goju Ryu Karate-Do class that was then being held by a ‘Sensei Harada’. Mr Harada was a rich and influential businessman who possessed the right connections with the British Colonial Authorities. It was his (private) Goju Ryu Karate-Do class which was the ‘first’ Japanese martial arts class to have been established upon any Chinese territory post-1945. It is said that Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) was amongst the very first students accepted into the class – with the implication being that despite the strict colonial regulations – Mr Harada may well have intended to establish a class open to all!
In 1965 due to work reasons, Mr Harada had to return to Japan for a time. This meant that control of the Dojo passed into the hands of Mr Masaru Suzuki (later the founder of Shobukan) with Mr Hange Uehara (founder of the Okinawa Gojo Ryu Uehara Hang Dojo) as second-in-command. By this time, Mr Lin Lingfeng (林竞峰) had been training for nearly three years and had taken and passed his 1st Dan Blackbelt Test during December 1966 (Sensei Suzuki had presided over the grading and awarded the 1st Dan qualification). In 1968, the British Colonial Authorities permitted the establishment of an official ‘Japan Goju Ryu Association’ (organised by Mr Harada but this time with official diplomatic ties to the Japanese government) - with its own recognised public ‘Dojo’ that could (in theory) allow people of all ethnic groups to train together! As Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) was not Japanese, had never trained in Japan and had never graded in Japan – he was required to take his 1st Dan Blackbelt grading once again. After the official ‘opening’ of the new Dojo - Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) was re-examined under stricter testing conditions designed to satisfy the government of Japan. After his successful ‘Passing’ of this new examination for the grade he already possessed - Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) was awarded his new Certificate by Yamaguchi Gogen – whilst the grading itself was presided over by the representatives of Yamamoto Atsuyuki. After this, Mr Lin Jingfeng (林竞峰) successively obtained his 2nd and 3rd Dan qualifications through the ‘Japan Goju Ryu Association’. (The 2nd and 3rd Dan grades were overseen by representatives of Yamamoto Kagura – whilst Tasaki Shuji acted as witness and Yamaguchi Gogen issued the Certificates).
林竞峰师范 1947年 5月5日 出生於香港。1964年2月， 林先生未满17岁时参加了日商原田注先生在香港铜锣湾世界健身会场地里开办的日本刚柔会空手道班。这是香港的第一个空手道班，林竞峰先生是该班的第一批学生。1965年间 因工作原因，原田注先生一度回日本，道场经营者让铃木正文先生（后来正武馆的创立人）与上原恒先生（冲绳刚柔流上原恒道场）来代课。 林先生在这个空手道班中坚持训练了接近三年，1966年12月取得初段资格（铃木正文主持考核颁发段位资格）。1968年 日本刚柔会 （原田先生的组织）正式成立道场后，林先生复考日本刚柔会初段资格 （山本权之兵衞主持考核，山口刚玄签发证书） ，之后林先生相续取得日本刚柔会的二段与三段资格（两次考核都由山本権之兵卫，田崎修司一起主持，由山口刚玄签发段位证书）。