Rengo Kai Shorin Ryu History
Okinawa Masters

(Front-from right) Chojun Miyagi, Chomo Hanashiro, Kentsu Yabu,Chotoku Kyan (Back-from right) Genwa Nakasone, Choshin Chibana, Choryo Maeshiro, Shinpan Shiroma

Tode Sakugawa was born in 1733 in Shuri and died in 1815 at the age of 82. During much of his life he was a figure in the development of karate. From him, karate inherited the Kusanku kata. His sensei was Peichin Takahara from the village of Akata. He also trained under the Chinese Kusanku learning Chinese Kempo. His most noted student was Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura.

Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura was born in 1796 in Shuri and died in 1893 at the age of 97. As a boy he was a student of Tode expert Sukugawa and also trained under the Chinese Kong Su Kung, also known as Kusanku. He served as chief of the military and court retainer for the king of the Ryukyus. He was the creator of Chinto kata in the memory of a Chinese sailor who was an expert in Kempo. He was also responsible for amalgamating Te and Kempo creating the method known as Shuri-Te or Shorin-Ryu. His more distinguished followers were Yasutsume Itosu, Chotoku Kyan, Choki Motobu and Chosin Chibana.

Yasutsume “Ankoh” Itosu was born in Shuri in 1813 and died in 1915 at the age of 102. He began his martial arts training under Sokon Matsumura, considered with Kanryo Higaionna to be one of the most important figures of karate. He was also the creator of the Pinan (peaceful mind) kata

Chotoku Kyan was born in 1870 in Shuri and died in 1945 at the age of 75. Kyan began training in the martial arts under the direction of Sokon Matsumura at the age of eight. He also trained under two other masters of that time, Itosu and Oyadomari. He quickly grew into one of Okinawa’s most predominate masters. Among his prominent students were Chosin Chibana, Tsuyoshi Chitose, Eizo Shimabuku and Tatsuo Shimabuku.

Choki Motobu was born in Shuri in 1871 and died in 1944 at 73. The third son of a ranking lord, he was not entitled to learn the family style of karate, which by custom was taught only to the first born son of each generation. He decided to train himself using the makiwara to punch and kick, and by using heavy rocks as weights. His nickname was Saru meaning monkey. He found formal instruction under Kosuku Matsumora, Tokumine, and Itosu. During his life, Motobu taught and influenced many individuals including Yasuhiro Konishi, Tatsuo Yamada, H. Ninomiya, S. Uejima, Hironori Ohtsuka, Shoshin Nagamine, and Tatsuo Shimabuku.