Taira Masaji Shihan - Hombu Dojo Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Taira Masaji Sensei (平良 正次 先生) is a leading teacher of Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Do, in the manner of the Jundokan dojo in Okinawa and of his teacher Ei'ichi Miyazato. He heads the Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Do Kenkyukai. He is best known as a researcher and practitioner of the bunkai of the Goju Ryu kata. He is unusually open in his teachings, feeling that the techniques and learning must be shared, for their preservation and to test their effectiveness. Taira Sensei was raised on Kume Island. His family were farmers, growing sugarcane and rice. In his third year of high school the family moved to Naha, where Taira Sensei finished his schooling. At 16 Taira Sensei started training in Goju Ryu Karate at the Jundokan dojo of Miyazato Ei'ichi Sensei. There was a break in his Karate training when he joined the Japanese police force. He has trained continuously at Goju Ryu Karate since he was 21. He joined the Japanese Police Force when he graduated from High School. As part of his riot police training he was required to learn Judo. He achieved his Judo black belt in 3 months, when 6 months was more common. He attributes this to his childhood Okinawa Sumo training. He is currently 4th dan in Judo. His day as a member of the riot squad ended at 5pm whereby he would make the journey from Gushikawa City where he was stationed to the Jundokan in Naha where from 6pm to 10pm every night he would pursue his karate training with an equal dedication under the guidance of the late Eiichi Miyazato Sensei, founder of the Jundokan and heir to Chojun Miyagi Sensei. Most of Taira Sensei's Karate career has revolved around his focus on the Bunkai of the Kata. He has painstakingly dissected the kata and trained his body to the point where he has mastered the inner workings of Goju Ryu Kata. Taira Sensei's bunkai is unusual in his insistence on working the kata in sequence, rather than picking techniques from the kata in isolation. He is also adamant that the kata do not be changed to perform bunkai. It is important not to mistake his complete kata bunkai to mean that the entire kata needs to be performed. Any single technique can be used to finish a fight. The kata works as a template to prepare the student with entry and exit points for defensive and counter moves. With a complete knowledge of the system a practitioner should be able to response to almost any attack and have a start and end point from that attack.