The Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo Dojo is a local family-owned martial arts studio that teaches Shorinryu Karate, a traditional style from Okinawa, Japan: the birthplace of Karate. Our Instructors are registered with the Okinawa Shorinryu Ryukyukan Karate Kobudo Federation under Hanshi Koei Nohara, 10th Dan, in Okinawa, Japan.
Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo opened September 1st, 2008, at the Goldsboro YMCA. Classes were only twice a week when they first started. Then in January 2012, the dojo relocated to its first commercial facility and operated there for ten years. They now offer multiple programs for different age groups and experience levels at their current location in Little River Square Shopping Center. Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo is the 2020 and 2021 winner for the Goldsboro News-Argus Reader's Choice Award in the Martial Arts Studio category.
Students at our dojo learn confidence, respect, discipline, defense, fitness, and other valuable life skills. The Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo Dojo is a member of the AAU National Karate Program and participates in local, state, regional, and national level competitions, competing in kobudo, kata, kumite, and team events. Our dojo was recognized as a Top 20 Club at the 2015, 2016, 2021, and 2022 AAU Karate Nationals. Members of our competition team can also qualify to participate as a part of the AAU-USA National Karate Team, where we have had athletes compete in Ireland, Scotland, Slovakia, and Romania.
Sensei Jason and Sensei Anne are direct students of Hanshi Koei Nohara. Hanshi Nohara visits Goldsboro, North Carolina, annually to train with students of the dojo and hosts the North Carolina-Okinawa Ryukyukan Karate Kobudo Tournament. The tournament and seminar have brought competitors and karate-ka from Okinawa, mainland Japan, England, Puerto Rico, California, Virginia, South Carolina, and all over North Carolina.
Meet Our Instructors
Hanshi: 10th Dan
Hanshi Koei Nohara is ranked as 10th Dan, and holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, specializing in Ryukyuan culture. Hanshi Nohara retired from government service in 2008, having served as an administrator for the Okinawa Prefecture. In 2008, Hanshi Nohara released his book The Transformation of Tiy of Okinawan Traditional Karate. This book chronicles Okinawa-te and its development into modern karate. Hanshi Nohara’s book has been well-read in Japan and is available in English through Amazon. Hanshi Nohara also looks to the cultural dances of Okinawa, analyzing and studying the Shuri-te methods woven within these dances.
Hanshi Nohara personally instructs and guides his dojo branch owners in preserving Shorinryu Karate as a living, vibrant, and extremely viable fighting method, a powerful method of self-development, and a true cultural treasure of the Ryukyu’s.
The Ryukyu’s are a string of islands that lie between mainland Japan and China. Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands. Karate originated in Okinawa and developed into three major branches by the late 1800s. Each branch represents a locality in Okinawa, each different in history and form, together forming the base of virtually every karate style practiced today. Naha, Okinawa’s largest city, had its own branch called Naha-te (Naha hand). Tomari, a port region near Naha became the location of Tomari-te. Shuri was the seat of the rulers of the Ryukyu kingdom, where the third branch, Shuri-te developed.
Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands have a long history of feudalism, similar to Europe. Power was consolidated into three kingdoms in the 1300s (Sanzan Period) and then fell under one kingdom in 1429, when King Hashi and his kingdom at Shuri Castle rose to power. This was the beginning of the Sho Dynasty. Functioning as a tributary to China with its ships sailing from the port at Naha, the Sho Dynasty at Shuri Castle was at the center of a great exchange of culture and trade all over Asia. Shuri’s Sho Dynasty held the martial power to unify the Ryukyus and maintained an era of trade and peace for hundreds of years. The center of the Ryukyu martial way of life was Shuri-te, secretly maintained by the Shuri-te masters within Shuri Castle. In 1609, the Satsuma Clan of Japan took control of the Shuri Kingdom, driving Shuri-te deeper into secrecy. Shuri-te was preserved by the Shuri-te masters through private training, kata, and cultural dances. Shuri-te was first released to the public in the late 1800s by Shuri-te master and school teacher Anko Itosu (1831-1915), who believed that his teachings could empower the youth of Japan.
Itosu Sensei passed Shuri-te to his top students, Chosin Chibana, who named his branch Shorin-ryu (Kobayashi) Karate, and Chotoku Kyan, who named his branch Shorin-ryu (Matsubayashi) Karate. Another of Itosu Sensei’s students, Gichin Funakoshi, moved to the Japanese mainland and introduced Shuri-te as Shotokan Karate.
Our Ryukyukan Karatedo Federation is committed to the preservation of the original Shuri-te/Shorin-ryu Karate as taught by Sensei Itosu in the 1800s. Our president, Hanshi Koei Nohara of Okinawa, has spent his entire life studying (Kobayashi) Shorin-ryu as taught by Sensei Chosin Chibana, and (Matsubayshi) Shorin-ryu as taught by his father Kaoru Nohara, a direct student of Chotoku Kyan.
Ryukyukan (or Ryukyu Organization) has a direct historical link to the original Shuri-te and preserves this lineage through Kata (Karate forms). If you look closely at the Shuri Palace photo, you will see the Shi-Sa (half dragon-half lion) on the palace roof. The Shi-Sa, protector of Okinawa, can be found on the Ryukyukan patch.
The main technical characteristic of Shorinryu Karate is to concentrate one’s power (kime) into the target smoothly and accurately; in the precise instant that it is needed. This method of concentrating power is practiced through the kata internally to externally, using movements that are naturally healthy for the practitioner. This practice causes no pressure on the internal organs and little disturbance of respiration. Relaxed natural movement punctuated with focused releases of power causes no unnecessary muscle fatigue. Energy is preserved, leaving the body and mind alert and ready to respond as needed.
Naihanchi Kata is the most severe kata from the Shuri-te lineage, a tanren (conditioning for toughness) kata which involves strong stable footwork, side to side movements, and natural breathing techniques. Naihanchi Kata is aimed at training one's body strictly, fostering a spiritual force which comes from the perseverance of severe training. Students begin with Naihanchi and constantly return to this kata with higher levels of understanding. That's why it is said, "Everything begins and ends with Naihanchi" in the Shuri-te system.
The Pinan Kata was created by Anko Itosu as a training aid for his young students and can be found in many karate styles today. It is said that Naihanchi is well suited for toughening the body and spirit, Kusanku Kata are good for fostering alertness, and Passai Kata are suited for putting training into practice. Chinto Kata contains beautiful flowing Shuri-te movements. The fifty-four advanced karate movements found in the Gojushiho Kata are said to have been hidden in an ancient Okinawan dance.
Kobudo is the practice of weapons used in the ancient Ryukyu’s. Some weapons evolved from farm implements which could be used by peasants against the swords of wealthier attackers. Other kobudo weapons were used by the upper class. We teach historically correct kobudo of the Ryukyus as taught to Ryukyukan members by Hanshi Nohara. The practice of kobudo improves the use of dachi (foot, leg, and hip position) to generate power, conditions arms and hands, and sharpens focus and awareness.
Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, Naihanchi Sandan
Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan
Passai Sho and Passai Dai
Kusanku Sho and Kusanku Dai
Andrew and Marcy West
“We enrolled our son at Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo in February of 2018 at the age of 7. We started karate to help him build his confidence and self-esteem. Since then, we have seen tremendous growth in all aspects of his life, as well as, in his confidence and self-esteem. Our favorite thing about karate has been seeing his personal growth and dedication to karate in a few short years. We chose Goldsboro Karate after a recommendation from our neighbor. Then after speaking with Sensei Jason and Sensei Anne, we knew it was the perfect place for him. We have had only positive experiences with the instructors and dojo overall. I would recommend Goldsboro Okinawa Karatedo to anyone who is interested in trying karate. You will be amazed at what it can do for your child!”