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Hanshi Cullen 40+ year veteran of Goju
 The seminars will be run congruous with the MR. Olympia Combative Sports Festival Weekend September 27th & 28th 2013. Hanshi Cullen will be doing a fast paced in-depth look at Kururunfa back to back with a tournament Kumite seminar. Although the Mr. Olympia Combatives takes place at the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center , the seminars will occur at the Tournament Operations Headquartered at the Trop. So mark the date and time, Friday September 27th, beginning at 7pm and running till 9pm. Late registrations, please get there about a half hour early so we can get you in the system. There will be a beautiful frameable certificate for each participant. TO BE YOUR BEST, YOU MUST TRAIN WITH THE BEST... SEE YOU IN VEGAS.   Click here to print/download the seminar flyer.  Seminars


FIVE HANDS INTRO DISC, GOJU BASICS AND JAPANESE LANGUAGE MANUAL W AUDIO CD NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ONLINE CLICK HERE!! True Goju is what we do. A "comprehensive" version of traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu. This version of Goju brings the loyalist to the original wholeness of the art as we believe its originator had planned it to be. When Miyagi Chojun came up with the original name and kanji for Goju it was Goju Ryu Karate Jutsu.  The meaning of the words are Go Ju (Hard /Soft- more about the Kanji used for Soft later) Ryu (Style of) Kara Te (CHINA/Hand) Jutsu (Art). Some history: "  Miyagi's use and description of the Ju character was intended to mean to "block like the wind, bend like the willow". In an effort to feature the soft techniques of his new style, legend has it he traveled to China for a while to study Pa Kua Chang and Shaolin Chuan Fa. The application of these truly soft techniques lay hidden in Goju and other forms of martial arts due to the hard style state of karate that everyone was training in upon his return. Hanshi Cullen's diligent passion for, and live action usage of these techniques, as well as the resulting 100 percent effectiveness of said soft technique application, has changed the face of Goju Ryu and any style that uses circular or soft blocks forever. No matter what style or martial theocracy you believe in or practice from traditional karate to jujitsu, krav magra to self defense, the adaptation of these technical applications will change the way you train and look at practically everything you have learned thus far in your life. Hanshi Cullen doesn't wish to judge what you do or how you do it. He won't try to convert you to this style of Goju either. His only wish is to open your mind to the possibility that there just might be something out there in the martial world that you just haven't discovered or experienced yet.

Curious? Then read on and welcome to TrueGoju.com - where vision meets application.  



MIYAGI RETURNS:  Miyagi appeared to be far removed from the contemporary karate training that was going on . In an essay written by him in 1942, he starts the paper with this qoute, I don't know when it was changed, but "karate" is now written with letters as "Empty Hand" instead of "Chinese Hand". Anyway, I am happy to know that nowadays Karatedo is popular all over Japan as a unique Okinawa martial arts, and even it has been officially recognized by Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (Great Japan Fighting Arts and Moral Association) as one of Japanese fighting arts. However, without doubt, I am sure that the roots of Karatedo is in China."

A MISCELLANEOUS ESSAY ON KARATE  by Chojun Miyagi. Remarks: This short article first appeared in "Bunka Okinawa" Vol.3 No.6 dated August 15, 1942, and re-appeared as an appendix in the book "Chugoku" Okinawa Karate Kobudo no Genryu" written by Masahiro Nakamoto published on April 1, 1985 by Bunbukan

In his description of the kanji "Ju", Miyagi has been quoted as saying that kanji represents a softness to the level of blocking like the wind or bending like the willow. If you have trained in Goju with any of the living masters today, then you know you have NEVER been taught to apply any goju techniques... like the wind.  And by that I mean to block in a way that as the defender, you merely brush the opponents arm or fist on the attack - so soft in fact that your opponent does not even realize that they have been touched in the first place. The Ateru Goju-Ryu Karate Jutsu fellowship is DIFFERENT.. Although we focus heavily on what many consider to be traditional Okinawan strong training.. kihon ichi, kihon ni, kihon san, kihon ido, neko ashi Ido, Kata, Bunkai, Bare knuckle Kumite etc, We also train in the theory and application of the soft aspects we believe exist within Goju Ryu. Huunjin has developed the Five Hands Systems that embrace the soft Kung Fu aspects that are so sorely missing today. One thing that is certain, whether one is speaking of the past (Funakoshi-Miyagi-Gogen the Cat) or the more present (Higa-Itosu-Higaonna-Yamaguchi); with over 200 eye witnessed direct attacks threatening serious physical harm to Hanshi Cullen, due to the effectiveness of the 5 hands systems, not one of the attackers made contact with or harmed Hanshi in any way. In addition, by using the 5 hands systems of frictionless defense, the vast majority of the time only one soft defense technique was used with no attacker getting back up within 5-10 minutes. In anybody's book- that would be considered extremely successful. Local Findlay OH law enforcement have commented that despite the fact that they have witnessed dozens of these incidents in person, that Hanshi Cullen was never cited, taken in for questioning or even considered as one of interest in these many altercations.

We have infused the China hand techniques into our Goju making it true Ateru Goju Ryu Karate Jutsu. ONE TECHNIQUE FIGHTING.

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OUR FOUNDER: Kevin "Huunjin" Cullen is the founder of Ateru Goju-Ryu Karate Jutsu. He is a complex man who has dedicated nearly 4 decades of his life to the art of Goju. He has immersed himself in many other martial arts receiving black belts in Judo, Shurite Kempo, and JuJitsu as well as being a published poet, professional musician, photographer and potter. His goal is to share his unique style of Goju with as many open minded people as he can. Mr. Cullen received his shodan from Gosei Yamaguchi (With Gogen's Seal on it) and trained under his auspices for 13 years. Cullen traveled to the Castro district hombu for either week long or two week long training junkets. They would typically train 8 two hour classes per week. Once in the dressing room as the "Fremont" group appeared there was a unison moan from Mr. Yamaguchi's regular junior black belts. Upon being asked why they appeared so forlorn the response of one of the black belts (who was also moonighted as a stand up comedian) was, "Oh man, you guys here again? Well, we won't be seeing you until Thursday's mandatory black belt class." To which the following question was asked "Why is that?" and his retort this time was..."whenever you guys come  out the classes get twice as hard.. it's like he is trying to kill you or something so we will just see you in a few days". The local Yudansha chuckled as they left. Before that locker room conversation, the Fremont group thought their "one sensei on four yudansha" training scenario was just because they had flown out to train with Mr. Yamaguchi and he wanted to give them his undivided attention.

FROM TOLEDO TO TOKYO, NAHA CITY AND BEYOND: The Fremont dojo began at the YMCA in the able hands of Goju black belt Mr. Bob Nicholson who operated the dojo under the Nihon Goju Ryu Karate Do Kyokai/Midwest Goju Kai and its founder Mr. Jack Coleman (who, during the vetting process with Mr. N. Gosei Yamaguchi, was granted a 4th Dan and Renshi title by said master and organization) This relationship lasted from the late 60's till 1978 at which time the Toledo (hombu) dojo as well as all the other Midwest GojuKai schools succeeded from the Yamaguchi organization with the exception of Fremont. In the early 80's the group reformed as the GKK Goju Ryu Karate Do Kyokai (which was no longer affiliated with either Mr. Coleman or Mr. Yamaguchi but had gone through a small group of masters as its technical leaders over the years) . Eventually they rest upon Mr. Motoo Yamakura who remains its technical adviser to this day. A quick note, the Fremont school was the only remaining dojo member in good standing with the US Goju Kai under the leadership of Mr. Brad Smith who had taken over in 1973 for Mr. Nicholson who had formed his own group called the AKA which then became the UKS United Karate Systems. Fremont remained with Mr. Yamaguchi, including yearly training gasshuku trips to the Castro Hombu Dojo until the mid 80's. 

On the other side of the country, Mr. Coleman had relocated to San Diego in 1979 and continued to run his three Nihon Goju Ryu Karate Do Kyokai programs until a serious automobile accident in 1984 which ended his active participation in Goju Karate. (Please note: recent changes to historical data provided via email conversations with newly found friend Mr. Jack - Jackson - Coleman. This man is a true Goju master and old school karate-ka).

The Fremont school eventually as mentioned left the Goju Kai and the three schools, Fremont, Findlay and Clyde, were called the Fremont Goju Ryu Karate Do. With operational by-laws etc. after two years Mr. Smith asked Huunjin to go view and meet with Mr. Yamakura of the GKK to see if an affiliation would be a good fit. It was and although the co-chair Mr. Stamper took it upon himself to demote each of the Yudansha a full black belt level, the upcoming future relationship with Mr. Yamakura would prove fruitful and most worthwhile. Since the Fremont group was used to training with Mr. Yamaguchi in gasshuku, they brought it up to Mr. Stamper who said it was a NO GO, and no one had ever done this as well as Mr. Yamakura would not approve. This turned out to be completely false. When approached with the concept Mr. Yamakura exclaimed, " I have been waiting for someone to bring this up for years". For 13 years we traveled out to OK for intense week long training sessions. 

Upon our arrival and first day of training with Mr. Yamakura we were on the floor and he stated, "this is all wrong"to which Huunjin replied, "then sensei, can I show you how we usually do things?". At that point Yamakura said sure.. Huunjin then demonstrated stances, techniques , kata in a quick display of the Yamaguchi style training and Yamakura reponded, "that's great.. almost perfect". Huunjin then share with Mr. Yamakura that what had been performed earlier came directly from a preparatory session with Mr. Stamper and none from their prior training with Yamaguchi. Everyone knew from that point that any technical advising they would get would be from Yamakura only. 

One day, during the first week long gasshuku in which Huunjin trained with Yamakura in Oklahoma, they were learning Yamakura's Yakusoku Kumite by the numbers in line drill format. When Yamakura faced Huunjin instead of calling out the number and then giving the command to defend he simply call the number of the technique and fired a bomb to the middle of Huunjin's forehead. With ears ringing Huunjin laughed out loud asking Yamakura, "What happened to the call, like all the other one steps?" Yamakura's reply: "Kevin, sometimes you have to block the punch!" The next time they were face to face during this drill,  they were performing upper one step number seven which included a nage throw to the floor. Now the floor was cement with indoor outdoor carpeting and no pad on it. Again Yamakura, who is past all Japan Fighting Grand Champion,  and winner of the Henry Cho at Madison Square Garden, neglected to give the call to defend as he had for the last six techniques. Huunjin was ready this time and fended off the lighting quick attack, threw the Grandmaster over his hip, bouncing him off the cement floor. He then added a bit of spice to the series with an impromtu telling punch to the solar plexus with the appointed kiai. Yamakura, being an exremely strong opponent, looked up at Kevin Cullen (the Huunjin name came later) and said "Ahh Kevin, I see you get me back huh!" to which Mr. Cullen replied, "Hai Sensei". From that point on these two warriors built a lasting bond in Goju Spirit. The "Y" imprint from Mr. Yamakura's signature ring remained embossed on Cullen's head the rest of the day as a reminder.

After training for 10 years with Yamakura, Mr. Cullen asked MR. Yamakura to bestow a Japanese name on him much in the manner that Gogen was given his name by Miyagi. After two years of thought Yamakura named Mr. Cullen "Huunjin". The kanji reads "Dark Cloud Man" and as decscribed by Mr. Yamakura himself, the short meaning is: The bringer of death, the savior of the people. The long historical tale of the Huunjin is "He is the lone warrior, an ALMOST mythical man who is at the bottom of the valley surrounded by thousands of samurai. He kills them all and saves the village. He is the savior of the village. " Now realise this name was not given to Mr. Cullen haphazzardly. During a gashhuku, Mr. Yamakura stopped in the middle of a four hour training session and told Huunjin that he "reminded him of a man he hates." At this he inquired why Yamakura would say that to which his response was, " You remind me of a guy in Japan that I could never beat". Of course being embarrassed by this comment Mr. Cullen snapped to attention and whispered. Iiye (pronounced E Yay!) which means -no!. During the 13 yrs of training with Motoo Yamakura Huunjin received his 3rd (for the second time), 4th and 5th Degree Blacks, Renshi and the Chairmans award (the GKK's highest honor) from that organization and was due to receive Roku Dan and Kyoshi as well but opted to to split from that organization because of the many back room secret promotions and political disparities that kept on occurring.

For 10 years Huunjin had been working on the infrastructure, teaching materials and systematising his style of goju waiting for the proper time to start out on his own. This finally occured in 2000 and Ateru Goju Ryu Karate Jutsu was born. Much has gone on since then and Hanshi Cullen has dedicated students from east coast to west, Michigan to Texas, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Europe. He is a featured instructor at the Arnold Sports Festival (which is larger than the Olympics with over 17,000 atheletes participating) and the Action Martial Arts Hall of Honors (The largest and most notable hall of fame/martial arts event in the US) His theories on true attack velocity and true defense are groundbreaking and well accepted worldwide.

EXCELLENCE OUT OF BASICS: When Kevin Cullen began his Goju training in 1973 he would take each new technique he learned at karate class and then go home and do each one 500 times before bed. He would do upwards of 3,000 waza each night before bed which would happen around 3-4 am each day. Huunjin's intensity and love for the art never slowed down. Another example of  his work ethic is Fridays before he would fly out to train with Yamaguchi for a week or two (16 two hour classes), Cullen would perform 300 kata back to back with only one 30 minute break making it an ordeal that would start at 8am and run non-stop until around 10pm. Mr. Cullen still teaches 12 classes per week, every week, and all ages from 3 till 83. (He actually had an 83 year old woman sign up and take Goju for a year.-He is still amazed by this)

As a testament to solid training Mr. Cullen was once invited by the amazing Hidetaka Nishiyama to move out to California to become his dojo deshi and the next Chuck Norris. (whom he proclaimed earlier in front of 600 black belt participants, had never one any championship until he has trained with him) In the early 80's Mr. Nishiyama was teaching a weekend long gasshuku at the University of Toledo. (the old tin hut) There were hundreds of black belts in attendance with Cullen being placed somewhere in the middle of the 6th row. After a grueling few hours Sensei had given the command to break for lunch but oblivious to this Cullen continued to train in an almost "trance" like manner. Mr. Nishiyama then called out to Cullen who after wiping the sweat out of his eyes looked around and found an empty hall. Embarrased he stood there until Sensei called him up to front to sit and talk on the bleachers with him. He asked Mr. Cullen about his past training with Mr. Yamaguchi, his thoughts on kumite and kata theory and then chatted a bit more until he asked Cullen to move out to his dojo in California. Stunned by this request Cullen said nothing for a minute and then responded - Sumimasen Sensei. (No) He then asked the young black belt why he wouldn't consider this training opportunity and his response was - "I must continue on my Goju Ryu path at least until I become a 4th dan master." At this Mr. Nishiyama delivered a thundering strike to Cullen's left shoulder while laughing. "Gosei has a good one in you! I wish I could get my hands on you but please do have a good career in Goju". At that Cullen shook his hand and returned to his pool of sweat spot on the floor and continued training until the rest of the black belts returned for the next session.

In 2005, international master and 10th Dan George Alexander gave Cullen the highest praise after attending a seminar on the Martial Oceans innaugural cruise by saying, "You are a true master of Goju! Your theories on true attack velocity and energy of attack are eye opening." The two have become good friends and are members of the elite Mondo Silente professional dive team. Cullen's methodologies may be contemporary and high energy, but his faith in traditional Goju has never waivered. These things you need to know. His only wish is to share his discovery with as many traditionalists as he can while he is able to do so.

CONSIDER THE SOURCES: Mr. Yamaguchi is a living legend, Mr. Yamakura was on the pro fight circuit with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris for a year. By the way, you may ask him how well he fared with those two guys but his reply may stagger your belief system.  Mr. Cullen is pleased with his name Huunjin and is dedicated to live up to it's implications. Mr. Nishiyama's legacy is unquestionable as is George Alexander's. When one works hard- they are noticed by those who know the difference. 

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MARRYING OKINAWA's Strength, JAPAN's Attention to Detail and Art, AND CHINA HAND's Soft Functionality

IN THE BEGINNING: All things have a beginning, a middle and an end. Goju's beginnings are well documented and the result is ten's of thousands worldwide that train religiously in Goju. We are in the middle time right now and although the constant bickering and political motives of many Goju organizations create static for us all, I believe it is a very exciting time for GOJU! There are many factions, organizations and schools of thought. For example, there is the Okinawan style which is uglier, more powerful and works out of higher stances. The strikes or GO of this version are super strong and feature many hand and body conditioning exercises with the focus on power instead of fine lines and beauty. The Japanese stylists have adopted the strictest of standards and focus on low shiko dachis and neko ashi dachis. These are taught and enforced to the letter of the law and keep Goju extremely artsy and beautiful. As a result, some of the power is lost but it is still very good Goju. Nowadays, kata practitioners at international tournaments have incorporated extra long pauses and dynamics into their kata simply for effect. This seems to completely take away from the katas real meaning and looks show boaty but the crowd seems to like it. Oh did I forget to mention that each group believes that theirs is the only "TRADITIONAL" version out there. Well that's laughable since every one of them was adapted by whoever forged their particular Goju path which takes away from the traditional legitimacy of their art anyhow. Another thing you must consider is that ALL OF THEM leave out TRUE JU. When you add in the CHINA HAND, you complete GOJU with a true balance of ideas and techniques. When you look at Kung Fu stylists, their techniques appear as if they would have no effect on a strong attack, yet as if moved by the wind, the linear attack is bounced off effortlessly.

Ateru Goju Ryu Karate Jutsu combines the best of all of those worlds into a beautiful but highly funtional system. Our GO is based on the Okinawan hip twist at the end of each strike which is devestating, the low kicks and thrusts and agressive bare knuckle kumite. Our JU goes back to the CHINA HAND concept. Our founder has taken the soft elements of GOJU and created his 5 hands systems.  Kawa Te (River Hand) , Maru Te (Circle Hand) , Nagashi Te (Flowing Hand) , Kakuto Te (Chicken Beak/Dog Head Hand) , and Kakae Te (Hooking Hand). Each one of these is a stand alone as a system but can work together in concert to form an amazing alliance of hand and body defense. When you learn to block like the wind you open a whole new world of functionality and opportunity. One technique fighting is a reality.. only at True Goju.com.

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION: Cullen came upon the soft side of Goju honestly and by accident. As the dj for a hugely successful nightclub in the 80's, he ended up extracting 80 percent of incorrigibles that would enter. (between 600-900 would pass through the door Thursday through Sunday.) When he would escort them out, many of them would take a cut at and/or try to take Mr. Cullen out. Kicks, punches, grabs, take downs... you name it. They tried them all. These attackers were a cross section of college kids, football players, military on leave, off duty law enforcement, bikers, hoods, mma fighters, thugs and martial artists. Of the over 200 real attacks on Mr. Cullen, he never used more than one of his unique techniques, his attackers never regained the ability to attack again and there were no kicks or punches ever thrown.

Both Miyagi and Funakoshi are both qouted as saying that the perfect fight ends in one technique where no one is seriously hurt. Grandmaster Cullen has mastered that through the trial by fire method. He had an epiphany one night in a dream where he relived many of those attacks and realised that althought he was doing good GOJU he was applying it in a way that no one had ever taught before. Blocking in a way that he barely touched his opponents and thereby utilizing all of their energy and force to destroy themselves. You will learn more about this when you read on about the five hands systems. Suffice it to know that although Cullen has dispatched hundreds of bad guys of every type in the most delicate and risky arena that exists- in the streets, and all by using just one technique.