The International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) was established in July 1979 by Morio Higaonna Sensei. The IOGKF was established for the purpose of protecting and preserving traditional Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do as an intangible cultural treasure in its original form as passed on by Goju-Ryu founder Chojun Miyagi, and spreading this art throughout the nations of the world. Most importantly, the IOGKF was being formed with the support and backing of Ken Miyagi (fourth son of Goju-Ryu founder Chojun Miyagi), An’ichi Miyagi (successor to Chojun Miyagi) and senior students of the late Chojun Miyagi: Seiko Kina, Seijin Nakamoto, Kiei Tomoyose, Shunshin Furugen, Jitsuei Yogi, and Shuichi Aragaki.
Since its formation, the teachings of Morio Higaonna Sensei have been spread around the world, and the IOGKF now has more than 55 affiliated countries and over 75,000 worldwide. Every year gasshuku (training seminars) are held in various countries to ensure the transmission of correct techniques and to promote friendship and exchange between members. The IOGKF is one of the few karate organizations that the Japanese Government recognizes as a true Japanese traditional martial arts organization. The IOGKF is a proud member of the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (Japan Traditional Martial Arts Association).
In September 2007, Higaonna Sensei received 10th dan (the highest rank in karate) as well as a special certificate signed by Miyagi An’ichi Sensei (successor of Goju-Ryu) and Aragaki Shuichi Sensei, both of whom are direct students Miyagi Chojun Sensei. This recognizes him as a successor in the direct line descended from Miyagi Chojun Sensei. Higaonna Sensei also went on to receive a special award from the Okinawan governor recognising him as a living cultural treasure for his contributions to the spreading tradtional Okinawan Karate across the world. In 2012 Higaonna Sensei took up an advisory role within the Federation and appointed Sensei Tetsuji Nakamura as his successor and chief instructor of IOGKF International. Sensei Ernie Molyneux and Sensei Henrik Larsen were also promoted to IOGKF Vice Chief Instructor at the same time and together the three form the IOGKF International executive committee.
Today the IOGKF is as dedicated to its original purpose as it was in 1979. The IOGKF represents the philosophy of Goju-Ryu founder “Bushi” Chojun Miyagi, and with this in mind, Higaonna Sensei reminds us that it is important to dedicate ourselves to the further improvement and development of Goju-Ryukarate through diligent training, so that we may come to understand the very essence of our art.
IOGKF Okinawa’s headquarters are located at the Higaonna Karate Dojo, Naha, Okinawa, Japan. IOGKF International’s headquarters are located at the Shudokan Karate and Family Fitness Centre, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.