Since we're talking about the big blue book...
As most know few years ago a man named David Smith undertook the task of translating Kanei Uechi's big blue book. He spent about 20 years and the final product, by his own introdcution, is a limited, partial, and overly literal translation of the text. (Note: Kobushi-Ho = Kenpo = Fist Method)
This text came to me via email awhile back and it turns out that David Smith is more than happy to have his (unauthorized, unofficial, incomplete, without illustratrations) translation shared with as many folks who care to read it.
The translated text is over 800 pages in a mircosoft word document. Mr. Smith chose to translate all the parts of the book that don't relate specifically to Uechi-Ryu technique. The technique portion of the text is heavily illustrated and much of it has already been translated into English. Instead he chose to focus on the bulk of the material which is an amazing historical collection of articles, history, and commentary from a variety of sources.
However on page 755-ish there is the following aricle which I thought, if nothing else, would be an interesting read for those who enjoy anecdotal history that you may never have a chance to verify or cross-reference. Keep in mind that the various names are a literal translation from Japanese by an American living abroad in Hong Kong. The original members of the trip who wrote this article didn't speak Chinese so they were working through a translator. And to top it all off, Kanbun Uechi didn't speak Japanese at all - he spoke Hogen. Such is the stuff legends are made of.
The article discusses the relationship between ShuShiWa and secret religious societies, secret training, lost kata, and fun stuff like that.
-SHUSHIWA TO SOSHO OSHO-
(SHUSHIWA AND THE CHIEF PRIEST SOSHO)
In 1973 during the 11th month 2nd day the original author of this book during this time along with five other members when to China, Fukien Province and had a round table discussion on Chugoku Kobushi-Ho. These five people talked with the Nanryu Shorin Kobushi group on hand techniques their practices, principles and applications with the local Kobushi-Ho subject matter experts.
The following were individuals who talked in council with the Okinawans: Taiken-San who represented the Koka Kobushi-Ho group and Saikei Gyo-San who represented the Saiributsu Kobushi-Ho group and Oyo Ken-San represented Byakutsuru Kobushi (White Crane)-Ho.
Each one contributed much to the group of Okinawans who represented the Uechi-Ryu system.
They also talked about the specific Manchu era during the year 1727 during the fifth year reign of Yosei there was a group of common people who formed secret religious societies whereby the practiced group drills involving Bujutsu. These people were blocked and told to cease and desist by order of the government. But there was a stipulation that only qualified Kobushi-Ho experts of teachers sanctioned by the government could teach in private but these techniques. The Ming retainers of the former government still had centers of operation during this time causing descent. There center was known as the, [Honshin Fukumei Kakumei Undo or the Anti-Manchu Return to the Ming Revolutionary Movement] Hon meaning anti, Shin meaning Manchu, Fuku to revert or return to, Mei the Ming. This group was starting to wane but was still active during the above period. These radicals during this era were trained in the martial arts.
The base where they gathered to practice at was near Su-Yama where the Shorin-Ji temple was located. Eventually this temple was razed and burnt to the ground. After this the monks scattered to the four winds it was said to avoid prosecution and or death. After this bold move by the administrative Chinese government they applied the same tactics southward razing other temples. These priests never really died out they banded together in smaller less detectable groups and continued to practice the fist way.
One of the High Priests known as an Ochimusha or fugitive warrior succeeded in making it southward to form a new center of operations in order to spread the supreme good of the fist way. The Chief Priests Sosho and Shushiwa were the ones who did this. Sosho and Shushiwa in the later Manchu era came up with the five principles based on five heroes who were famous priests; 1. Gomai Niko, 2. Byakumi Dojin, 3. Madotoku, 4. Shugen Osho, and 5. Myoken.
Now in Fukien Province there was a Kuren-Yama or the 9 Lotus Mountains that was near the Fukien Shorin-Ji Temple being newly built. This place became a historical landmark for Zen priests.
Most importantly is information on the Fukien Shorin-Ji, which was built around 1768 during the 33rd year of Kenryu. Bodai Kairaso Kyo on Daishu also wanted to build a temple for the Kobushi Zen leadership order in order to conduct business. Where this temple was to be placed was at that time was undetermined.
There was a book written about the entrance into the Fukien Shorin-Ji titled Shorin Kobushi Nyumon. This book was written by Shoden Ryuchi and must be seen and researched for more info. There was another writing by Hyosan Shucho titled Chugoku Himitsu Shakai (Chinese Secret Societies), which is of interest. Hyusan was exiled to Japan for his involvement in the Sonbun Kakumei or the Sonbun Revolution. This then led into the Hanshin Fukumei (Anti-Manchu/Restore the Ming) group. They coined the slogan Tenchi-kai (Heaven & Earth Society) or AKA Betsumei no Honmen.
Their chief leader stood up during the Sonbun Kakumei and called for cooperation by the Chinese government in solving issues surrounding this revolution. These writing on Tenchi-Kai were written by a monk at the Fukien Shorin-Ji Yushin Fukumei. There was a Buddhist monument erected in his honor.
Subsequently, the Fukien Shorin-Ji after this writing many revolutions took place concerning the spread of Kobushi-Ho especially the groups operating in the southern regions of China. Many people these days tired of waiting for knowledge and go out and seek it out thru a teacher or written material as is presented here.
Shushiwa or Sosho developed the Shorin-Ji 36 techniques known as Shorin-Ji San-Ju Roku Bokyoren or 36 groups of religious exercises, which led to the Shorin-Ji San-Ju Roku Daiburen Shushi, or the 36 Shorin-Ji great military exercises. Shusiwa [Chu Chi Wo In Chinese] was an authority and a valuable asset to this art form, which was due to an astute consciousness he developed early on.
He was given the eventually the title of Sosho Osho Chief Priest of the Fukien Temple. Next we will look at the genealogy of Kobushi-Ho.
FUKIEN SHORIN TEMPLE
SHIZEN OSHO - Kokikan
(SUPREME CHIEF PRIEST) - Testu Kyosan
- Hoseo -> Okiko ------>
- Rin Fukusei
SOSHO OSHO - Rikuaei
(CHIEF PRIEST SHUSHIWA?)
- Rinse Ei
1. -----> Okiko- >
- Rinso (1974 Present day Osho)>
2. ------> Goboshu- >
- Riku Chifu
The above-mentioned genealogy was just presented and now let’s take a look at one of the figures above, Kokikan. He was a tea Merchant but most importantly he hailed from Fukien Province and studied at the Shorin-Ji under the Shizen Osho and a woman Priestess Hoeishun who also taught him Koka Kobushi-Ho.
Again as another story develops Okiko was invited by a friend a one Mueikyaku to see a demonstration of kicking techniques of Koka Kobushi by a master of these techniques Kokosanfu. Koka Kobushi -Ho was one of the more popular southern styles.
Their techniques it was said were flawless due to the powerful basics they learned early on in their training. Their techniques were solid and well based due to using Atemi no Jiken in their training. The developed the "10 Iron Finger Technique" which also made their techniques effective if not lethal.
From Koka Kobushi they developed Godo or the strength way when they used their techniques in attacks. In their Fist Gate Law techniques they also used Nyu-Ho or the weakness technique in their attacking and defending style. So now you have them using a combination of hard and soft techniques, as did Pangainun and or Uechi-Ryu. This art then evolved into another art developed by the Priestess Eishunji called Eishin Kobushi.
Uechi Kanbun who studied under Shushiwa studied the strength way or Godo and the soft way Nyudo attacking techniques. It was said these attacks were so intense and devastating using Godo but his receiving techniques was soft especially when performing Kata. Go/Nyu together hard & soft can be separated or combined in an instant. When teaching Bujutsu to people was his hobby or occupation. When receiving this training they also received intense spiritual training to center their Wa and be a peace with all. Uechi-Ryu and Kobushi have an exercise that was practiced called the 100 steps to spirituality. The Chinese called it [Pe Fu Shen Chuan] or Hankonan (Half-hard Half Soft).
Now we look at Hyaku-Ho Shin Kobushi techniques or the 100 law spiritual techniques of the fist way. They can be seen weaved into the three Kata; Sanchin, Sanserui, & Suparinpei. Consequently, these three Kata help the body to master these difficult techniques and drills. Sanchin for example as we all know is a very useful basic Kata and tool to help one achieve i.e., assertiveness in ones existence. And eventually by practicing Sanchin one can develop the Hyaku-Ho Shin Kobushi or better known as moving meditation and use it during actual drill or sparring or if need be in an actual fighting scenario. The same can be seen in the other two-advanced Kata's.
Wholly, once these techniques and Kata are learned properly and when one is well versed one can use these in any combination and still be effective.
Uechi Kanbun after returning home to Okinawa still practiced Suparinpei but discontinued it for a variety of reasons. Even to this day this Kata is talked about. Shushiwa's Kobushi-Gi or techniques were flawless and to this day Uechi-Ryu still of this jewel that was Shushiwa.
Without regret some foreigners were taught the precepts of Kobushi-Ho but there was limitations as to what was taught. Uechi Kanbun liked teaching Kata and its variety of techniques. As we know the first three Kata from Uechi-Ryu were based on Kata from Shushiwa's Mon-ha or gate group. There also was some influence in this style from the southern schools or Nanha Kobushi Kakukoka Kobushi also which had much input from students and teachers alike.
The Japanese Ryu's called for a re-name of this system to Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do after much debate it was so decided to allow the name change because of the progress this style had made and of the many positive changes it engendered in the public arena. The former style was passed down thru the oral tradition called Tsugen Kensho.