What is a Kenkon? 乾坤

bassendean goju ryu graham ravey karate kenkon okinawan perth symbol togka Jul 16, 2021

What is Kenkon? 乾坤 ...

Heaven and Earth are described as Kenkon (乾坤) in Japanese. Ken meaning heaven and Kon indicating earth. Heaven is shown as round and earth as square, which symbolises the vastness of heaven and earth. The badge expresses the harmony of hardness and softness in nature... heaven and earth.

THE TOGKA KENKON - (Words by Sensei Graham Ravey)

When I (Sensei Ravey) departed from the IOGKF I had much stationary and many badges in stock, so not wanting to throw them away but knowing I had to change something, we took the middle out of the badge. In those days badges were embroidered so every student upon receiving a badge unpicked the centre, and with a couple of extra lines added to the letters 'IOGKF' on the stationary, it now became 'TOGKA'. All that was left to do was put something back in the middle of the badge.

I had to think of a design for the new badge that depicted the essence of Go Ju (hard and soft) but also symbolised the spiritualism of our nature. After much thought I decided that the four basic elements can do this, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They are found in everything both material and organic in our three dimensional world. And also in each element is found both the hard and the soft. The next task was to find one symbol that stood for them all. After some research I found that three wavy lines had symbolised the elements at sometime or other in our history.

At a deeper level the four elements have traits that the martial arts practitioner should use as ingredients for their art. For example:

Earth - strong - hard - tradition - roots

Air - passive - yielding - fluidity

Fire - passion - bright - engulf

Water - bend to any shape, strong under pressure

These are but a few examples, all with hard and soft principles. So now the TOGKA was formed with a badge still representing the Kenkon.

Words by Sensei Graham Ravey.

To represent our martial art journey, kyu grade students wear a blank kenkon, without the symbol of the elements in the middle. After passing their shodan grading, black belts wear the full TOGKA Kenkon symbolising their deeper understanding of the system.

The centre artwork was first designed by Rob Williams in the late eighties, and another variation by Sensei Ravey can also be seen on the front of his Honbu Dojo - Kilcoy. The badge was revamped more than 20 years later in 2009 by Jo Burt which is the current design used today.

You can find out more about Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate in Western Australia and how to apply at our website www.traditional-karate.com.au

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