Higaonna Sensei receives rare awards

When most people retire or semi retire from their careers, it is usually to take a more relaxed lifestyle for some well earned rest. Higaonna Sensei is not most people! In 2012 after retiring from his position as World Chief Instructor and taking up an advisory position within the IOGKF, Higaonna Sensei’s training has not backed off.

He still continues to push his body through the vigorous physical and mental workout that come with traditional Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate training. But after nearly 50 years of sweating on the Dojo floor, Higaonna Sensei’s efforts are being recognised around the globe.

Following the success of the World Budosai he organised in Okinawa, Higaonna Sensei travelled to Moldova for the IOGKF Euro Asia Gasshuku. While there our master was called for by the President of the country.


Higaonna Sensei was presented with the prestigious ‘Order or Honour’ award. This award is the highest honour that can be presented to a foreigner in Moldova and it was presented to Higaonna Sensei for his contributions to Goju-ryu in Moldova, which has a very strong following. It was equally given for the involvement Higaonna Sensei has had in building strength between Moldova and Japan.

See a video of Higaonna Sensei’s presentation below:


But upon returning to Okinawa, Higaonna Sensei was informed that he was to soon be recognised again. The Okinawan Government had deemed the Karate Master was a worthy recipient for a cultural achievement award.

This was given due to Higaonna Sensei’s efforts to spread Okinawan culture across the World, through his teaching of Goju-ryu. The award is significant in that it reaffirms Higaonna Sensei’s status as a living cultural treasure.

Goju-ryu Karate thrives today due to the dedication, sacrifice and spirit of Higaonna Sensei. Even though our Master has cut back his personal travel schedule to spend more time training at his home in Okinawa, it is satisfying for both student and teacher alike to see Higaonna Sensei being awarded such honours that he clearly deserves. Congratulations Sensei!