The origins of karate-do date back to the ancient travels of Buddhist monks throughout the Asian Frontier. Unarmed and oppressed, it became necessary for them to develop a form of self-defence for their survival. Merchants travelling south from China to the Ryukku Islands (Okinawa) brought with them this art of the “Chinese Hand” to To-De (later to be called Karate – empty hand).
During this time, Japan invaded these islands and its warriors found themselves confronted by the fierce retaliation of skilled practitioners of this secret art. In the late 19th Century an enthusiastic Okinawan youngster by the name of Chojun Miyagi, became well skilled in the art and was determined to know more. He was advised to travel to China to study the many different methods of martial arts. His search led him to the hard school of Shaolin Chuan, the soft school of Pakua Chan, and from these two he developed his own style of Goju (Hard – Soft). He advocated that both the hard and soft complimented each other and he created the Sanchin and Tensho kata, a formal exercise which combined both these elements.
One of Miyagi’s students was a young man who was agile, fast and had a reputation for being a deceptive fighter, giving no ground to any adversary. He was known as the “Cat”, because of his favourite fighting stance – Neko Ashi Dachi (cat stance). His name was Gogen Yamaguchi. He soon proved to be a man of credibility and initiative and became highly respected in Karate circles in Japan.
Shuji Tasaki, Hanshi (1933 – 2011)
Shuji Tasaki Hanshi is the Founder of Seiwakai Goju Ryu. He began training in Goju Ryu in 1952 under the tutelage of Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei.
Yamaguchi is well known in the karate world as ‘the cat’ and the direct successor of Grandmaster Chojun Miyagi, Founder of Goju Ryu Karate do.
Tasaki Hanshi was Yamaguchi’s top student and was a referred Karate-ka at the time. After Yamaguchi’s passing and the introduction of the JKF Goju Kai, he formed Seiwakai (in 1971) and continued to pursue his karate growth and knowledge, growing Seiwakai into one of the most successful Goju Ryu Schools in Japan and later internationally.
He was a 9th Dan in the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) Goju Kai.
Stacey Karetsian Shihan
Stacey Karetsian Shihan started training with Seiwakai in 2003 and quickly become drawn to the quality of the teaching, the history, and the core essence of the karate as taught by Tasaki Hanshi and (the current Seiwakai president and Stacey’s Instructor) Fujiwara Hanshi.
Shihan was awarded 5th Dan by Tasaki Hanshi in 2007, and was given the name ‘Goshukan’ by Tasaki Hanshi. ‘Goshu’ was a nickname that Tasaki’s instructor (Gogen Yamaguchi) gave him. This has special meaning and significance to the lineage of Stacey Shihan’s Goshukan Karate Academy.
Shihan was awarded the title of Renshi in 2013 and in 2019 he was awarded the title of Kyoshi with Seiwakai Goju Ryu. (The youngest Kyoshi to be awarded to a non-Japanese member).
He is a 6th Dan Black Belt with Seiwakai (2014) and the Japan Karate Federation (JKF) Goju kai (2014). He is the first member in Australia to grade to 6th Dan with the JKF Goju Kai.
Stacey Shihan has been travelling to Japan to train and attending training seminars in Australia every year with his current instructor, Seiichi Fujiwara Hanshi. (We will cover a lot more about Fujiwara Hanshi in another article.)
Shihan started Goshukan Karate Academy in 2018 and as a 6th Dan Black Belt ( in Seiwakai and JKF Goju Kai) he is one of the senior members of the Seiwakai Organisation in Australia and the World.
Pictured Left: Grandmaster Gogen Yamaguchi with a Shuji Tasaki on the right.
Pictured Right: Tasaki Hanshi with Karetsian Shihan (2005)