Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do Lineage
TODE SAKUGAWA 佐久川 寛賀 (1733-1815) became a prominent figure in Okinawan Martial Arts. In fact, he is considered to be the first true teacher of Okinawan Karate. Sakugawa's martial art was a mixture of Shuri-Te and Chinese Kenpo. In 1756, Sakugawa became a student of the Chinese military envoy Kusanku (also Kushanku). Kusanku was a highly skilled Kenpo master and famous for his fighting ability. Kusanku did many things which influenced Shuri-Te's and ultimately Shorin-Ryu's development. He taught many native Okinawans including Chatan Yara and Shionja of Shuri. He brought some of his students from China to Okinawa and they spread the Chinese style on Okinawa. In addition, it is reported that Kusanku introduced a maneuver whereby the closed fist was held in a chambered or ready position along the side of the torso (hikite)and then from this position a punch was thrown, corkscrewing it in karate fashion, toward the intended target. Kusanku is also credited with the introduction of a type of kumite or sparring to Okinawan karate. This kumite was referred to as Kumiai Jutsu or fighting technique.
After his training with Kusanku, Sakugawa became known as an expert in the Chinese style of fighting called Tode. This is the basis for his nickname Tode (Chinese hand) Sakugawa. He is credited with being the first Okinawan Karate teacher. The reasoning behind this is that Sakugawa is said to have combined the techniques of Chinese style Kenpo (Tode) with the native Okinawan techniques of Shuri-Te and thereby formed the basis of a truly Okinawan Karate. He has three students who distinguished themselves as excellent martial artists. They were Bushi Ukuda, Macabe Chokun and Bushi Matsumoto of Urazoe. However his last and most famous student was Bushi Matsumura.
BUSHI MATSUMURA 松村 宗棍, (1797-1889) studied under Sakugawa for four years. He rapidly developed into a warrior. He was recruited into the service of the Sho family and was given the title Satunuky, later rising to Chikutoshi. At some time during his career, Bushi Matsumura was sent to China to train in the famous Shorinji (Shaolin Temple). He is alleged to have remained in China for many years. Upon his return to Okinawa, Matsumura established the Shuri-te or Suidi ("Shuri Hand") that later became known as Shorin-ryu. He brought the White Crane (Hakutsuru) concept to Okinawa. He passed on his menkyo kaiden (certificate of full proficiency) to his grandson, Nabe Matsumura.
Shorin-ryu is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters pronounced "Shaolin" in Mandarin-Chinese. Shorin/Shaolin means "small forest"; "ryu" simply means "methods handed own," "methods of learning" such as those of a school, or "tradition."
NABE MATSUMURA brought the old Shorin-ryu secrets into the modern age. His name does not appear in many karate lineage charts According to Hohan Soken (1889-1982), the purest teaching of Matsumura's Shorin Ryu was carried on by Matsumura Nabi(c.1860-1930). He received training in the family style of Matsumura Shorin Ryu which also included the secret techniques of the white crane. The white crane system was reputed to be a secret family style that was only taught to immediate family members. In his later years, Nabe Matsumura was referred to as Nabe Tanme or "old man" Nabe. He was known to be a stern and disciplined teacher. He had only one student, Hohan Soken. It is said he was one of the top karate men of his time. He passed on his menkyo kaiden to his nephew, SOKEN HOHAN.
SOKEN HOHAN The next successor in the lineage of Matsumura Shorin Ryu was Hohan Soken(1889-1982). He began training at age thirteen under his uncle, Nabe Matsumura. Soken had to work in the fields as a youth in spite of his Samurai heritage. This was due to a political reorganization in the Ryukyu Islands and all of Japan as a result of the Meiji restoration. After ten years of basic training under Nabe Matsumura, Soken began learning the techniques of the white crane or Hakutsuru. This was in 1912 when he was twenty-three years old. According to Soken, this was a secret technique or training methodology which was confined to the Matsumura family. Bushi Matsumura had learned the white crane system in China. Soken's instruction in the white crane technique emphasized balance training. One training method that he practiced was to perform the Hakutsuru kata on a board floating in a pond. The board was just large enough to support his weight. The Hakutsuru kata, which was erroneously referred to as the "White Swan" technique in a 1967 magazine article is the advanced level of Matsumura Shorin Ryu. The Hakutsuru technique is the main part of the style. It manifests the Chinese concept of the soft (defensive) fist and balance training while imitating the delicate movements of the white crane. In fact, this concept is inherent and woven throughout all the kata of Matsumura Shorin Ryu. For example, Chinto uses the one legged stance of the crane extensively, Gojushiho uses the movements of the neck and beak of the crane in its technique and Hakutsuru uses the wing (hane) of the crane. Master Soken also trained for a while with Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1953) and Gokenki, a Chinese tea merchant living in Okinawa. Gokenki, Soken, Mabuni and several other Okinawans all trained together as a group. Gokenki's style was Hakutsuru Kenpo (white crane fist style) and he was from the Fukien coast of China.
Up until the 1950's Master Soken referred to his martial art as Matsumura Shuri-Te, then he began calling his style Matsumura Seito(orthodox) Shorin Ryu. The empty hand kata of the style included those passed on by Bushi Matsumura (as previously noted). However, Master Soken later added to his system's Rohai . Rohai means vision of a crane and was originally a Tomari-Te kata dating back to the 1600's.
MASTER FUSEI KISE was born on May 4, 1935. He began his study of Karate in 1947 from his Uncle Master Makabe. In 1955 Master Kise became a student of Master Nobutake Shingake and recieve his SHO DAN. In 1958 Master Kise began studying under Grand Master Hohan Soken, the third successor of Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Karate-Do. In 1960 he was a student of Grand Master Shigeru Nakamura, Okinawan Kenpo Karate-Do Federation and qualified for his 7th Degree Black Belt. After five years of training, Master Kise became a shihan or Master on January 1, 1965 when he passed the 7th Dan examination under Grand Master Shigeru Nakamura. At that time Master Kise taught and practice Shorinji Ryu Karate-Do. Also during this time he was studying Shorin Ryu under Grand Master Hohan Soken. On January 1, 1967 Master Kise switched completely over to the Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito (Orthodox Karate- Do). On January 3, 1972 Master Kise qualified for the Hanshi title by passing the 8th Dan examination held by Grand Master Hohan Soken and Master Makabe. Sept. 1st 1976 Master Kise qualified for his 9th Dan by Grand Master Hohan Soken. In 1977 Master Kise founded the Shorin Ryu Karate Kenshin Kan Karate and Kobudo Federation. On Oct 25 1987 Master Kise was promoted to 10th Dan by Master Shigaru Tamaiya.
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