Satunuku Sakugawa (Tode)

The history of the Okinawan karate, which we are train today, can be traced back to the year 1733 and the birth of the Okinawan master Satunuku Sakugawa (1733-1815). Born as „Teruya Kanga Sakugawa“ in the city of Shuri, he began to learn the original fighting-techniques of Te (手) at an early age from the Okinawan monk Takahara Peichin. Later he became a student of the Chinese envoy Kusanku (Kwang Shang Fu), who taught him the Chinese martial art known as Kenpo (拳法). Together with Kusanku, Satunuku Sakugawa traveled for several years to China and deepened his knowledge in the Chinese martial arts. His high level of proficiency in both martial arts earned him the nickname “Tode Sakugawa”.

Kanga Sakugawa (寛賀 佐久川, 1733-1815)

With the founding of a martial arts school in Shuri, he began to systematize the fighting techniques from Shuri-Te (首里手) and Tomari-Te (泊手) and to differentiate them from the fighting techniques of Naha-Te (那覇手). One of his last and most important students was Sokon Matsumura, who further advanced the systematization of the techniques. Thus the Shorin school (the basis of our style) was formed and the foundation stone for the lineage of the great martial arts masters of Shorin-Ryu (少林流) was laid.

The katas „Sakugawa no Kon“ (棒型) and Kusanku (公相君) passed down by Tode Sakugawa can also be found in our style „Matsumura Kenpo“ (松村拳法).

Sokon Matsumura (Matsumura Shorin-Ryu)

The lineage of our style begins with the founder of Shorin Ryu, “Sokon Bushi Matsumura” (1797-1889). Born as „Sokon Kayo“ in the city of Shuri, he began to learn the martial art Tode at an early age, just like his later master „Tode Sakugawa“. He also traveled several times to China to study the Chinese martial arts Kenpo (拳法) and the local weapons arts.

He was considered as an expert in the samurai sword art Jigen Ryu (示現流) and his reputation as a legendary fighter was well known not only in Okinawa but also in Japan and China. Because of his expertise, he became the bodyguard of the former king „Ko Sho“ of the Ryukyu Kingdom and his two successors, „Iku Sho“ and „Tai Sho“ (the last king of Ryukyu).

Sokon Matsumura (宗棍松村, 1797-1889)

In his time, it was tradition to change one’s name when receiving such a great honor. For that reason, the king bestowed him the title „Bushi“ (武士). The Kata Passai (拔塞), which was introduced as one of the first Chinese katas on Okinawa, can also be found in our style „Matsuma Kenpo“ (松村拳法) in the variant interpreted by Sokon Matsumura.

Nabe Matsumura (Matsumura Shorin Ryu)

Bushi Matsumura had over a dozen students. One of his best and closest was his grandson Nabe Matsumura (1860-1930), who is also considered the successor of Bushi Matsumura and thus heir to the Matsumura Shorin Ryu. Nabe Matsumura lived by the traditional idea, that the knowledge of the art of defense should only be passed on to family members. For that reason his nephew Hohan Soken was probably his only long-time student.

Nabe Matsumura (ナビ松村, 1860-1930)

Hohan Soken (Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito)

Hohan Soken (1890-1982) was born in the city of Gaja (Nishihara district). At the age of 13 he began to learn the style of Matsumura Shorin Ryu and Kobudo (古武道) from his uncle Nabe Matsumura. In 1945 he began teaching his own style, „Matsumura Shuri Te“. Later he renamed his style into Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito (少林流松村正統) and founded the corresponding association „Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito Okinawa Karate Kobudo Association“. With the renaming it should be emphasized that his style follows the orthodox teaching (正統) of his master Nabe Matsumura and his master Sokon Matsumura.

Hohan Soken (方範 祖堅, 1890 – 1982)

Hohan Soken, who died in 1982 at the age of 92, had a few trusted students whom he taught until he was 88 years old. This made him the oldest living active grandmaster for many years. Some of these students in turn founded their own styles which were derived from their masters main style Matsumura Seito. Among them were Seiki Arakaki (Matsumura Shinbukan), Fusei Kise (Kenshinkan), Takaya Yabiku (Matsusokan) and Yuichi Kuda (Matsumura Kenpo).

Yuichi Kuda (Matsumura Kenpo)

Born in Chinen village, Okinawa, Yuichi Kuda came from a family with a 500-year-old samurai tradition, that goes back to the royal family of the first Sho dynasty. He received his first lessons in Okinawan martial arts as a child from his father. His father also taught him the family style of bojutsu (棒術). Later he also took lessons in the art of kendo (剣道).

Yuichi Kuda (友一久田, 1929 – 1999)

In the 1960s he learned Okinawa Kenpo under Shigeru Nakamura (president of the Okinawan Kenpo Association). In keeping with the spirit of the martial arts, full-contact sparring was common in Shigeru Nakamura’s dojo. For this purpose, a bogu (防具) similar to that of kendo was used.

Shigeru Nakamura (1894 – 1969)

After the death of Shigeru Nakamura in 1969, Yuichi Kuda finally became a student of Hohan Soken and began to learn Shorin Ryu Matsumura Seito.

In the end Yuichi Kuda founded the „Matsumura Kenpo Shorin Ryu Karate Kobudo Association“ and named his style „Matsumura Kenpo“. In addition Master Kuda developed his own katas, which were incoperated into Matsumura Kenpo. These include the five Nisedi katas (二世でぃ型) with physically very demanding and dynamic techniques, the kata Kobudi (こぶでぃ), which documents street fighting and self-defense techniques by Hohan Soken, and various Kobudo katas (古武道型). Yuichi Kuda was the father of our current grandmaster Tomosada Kuda.

Tomosada Kuda (Matsumura Kenpo)

Tomosada Kuda is the most recent leaf in the lineage of the Okinawan masters of our style. He was born in Okinawa in 1950 and has been taught in the martial arts since childhood by his father Yuichi Kuda as well as the legendary Hohan Soken.

After the death of his father in 1999, Tomosada Kuda became his father’s heir and took over the presidency of the world association „All Okinawa Shorin Ryu Matsumura Karate and Kobudo Association“ (沖縄 少林流 松村拳法 空手 古武道 総本部) as well as his father’s dojo. The dojo is called „Kobukan“ (興武館) and is located in the city of Urazoe (浦添市). The „All Okinawa Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo Karate and Kobudo Association“ is strongly influenced by the fast and smooth style of Tomosada Kuda.

Tomosada Kuda (友貞久田)
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