Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Kanbun Uech influenced many and he himself was influenced by several fine teachers. This is their stories.

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emattson
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Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by emattson »

I’ve heard recommendations of doing some research for Go Ken Ki 1886-1940, a close friend of Kanbun Uechi. Unfortunately, I’m afraid my research isn’t very scholarly as I simply looked him up using Google and makes notes. I don’t own any quality biography books, never visited Okinawa, don’t speak Japanese. Boston Public Library, where I have an account, doesn’t have anything on him. Will appreciate any peer reviews.

There are a few variations of his name. It may be spelled Go Kenki or rarely Gokenki. Marrying miss Yoshikawa resulting in being named Yoshikawa Kenki in some historical notes. In China, he goes by the name of Wú Xiánguì or Wu Xiangui. Wu Xiang Gui or Wu Xianggui are probably misspellings.(1)

He was born in January 20, 1886 in a family of three girls and four boys in the Fukien Provence of China. Go Ken Ki may have first met Kanbun Uechi when they used to train together in the town of Nanyu just south of Fuchou City, China. He migrated to Kume Village, Okinawa at 1912 to start a Chinese tea import business. Marrying a young Okinawan girl (multicultural marriage) probably sealed his status as a permanent resident of Okinawa. He stayed in Okinawa until he passed away at 1940. He probably was spreading words of Uechi Kanbun’s amazing karate skills between 1912, long after Kanun’s return from China, and 1924 when Kanun left for Kanagawa City, Japan.

In 1915, three years after setting up his tea shop, Go Ken Ki and his friend Miyagi Chojun (founder of Goju-ryu), arrived in Fuzhou, China, searching for Higaonna's teacher. This may have been more of a planned Sabbatical than immigration. They stayed for one year studying under several masters. Miyagi introduced a kata called Tensho around 1918, which he had adapted from Fujian White Crane. Higaonna Kanryō was one of the first students of Fujian White Crane style.

He taught Fujian White Crane kenpo, also known as White Crane Style, from the back of his tea shop. It originated in Yongchun County, Fujian, China. Kenpro is translated when broken into two words: “Ken” means ‘Fist’ and “Pro” means ‘Method’. The Okinawans Go Ken Ki trained included Chojun Miyagi, Juhatsu Kyoda, Kanbun Uechi, Shinpo Matayoshi and Kenwa Mabuni (founder of Shito-ryu). Hohan Soken (1889-1982) trained with Go Ken Ki in the late 1920s.

In according to legend, he made such a great profit from his tea shop that he charged only a single egg for martial arts training. He lived only 54 years, which is surprisingly short when living in an island reputed for long life for almost a thousand years.

Below are links, source for my research.

viewtopic.php?t=22936
https://karatetim.com/white-crane-of-go-kenki
https://worldbudokan.com/worlbudokanhom ... matsumura/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uechi-Ry%C5%AB
https://ryukyu-bugei.com/?p=5426
https://mhamenterprises.com/uechi_ryu_karate
https://www.karatebyjesse.com/go-kenki- ... an-karate/
https://kerg.tripod.com/dan/bubishi.html
Erik

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”
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jwlavasse
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by jwlavasse »

Gokenki and Kanbun

There is a theory by some the Gokenki introduced Kanbun to Shushiwa but looking at the dates closely this is not very likely.

Kanbun 上地完文 was born in 1877 and Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki was born on May 28, 1886. In 1897 when Kanbun was 19 he left for China and Gokenki would be about 11 years old. It would be very unlikely Kanbun would meet an 11 year old Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki who would introduce him to Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa (1874-1926).

I think that is more than enough to out this theory to rest.

Now there is a theory Gokenki learned from Kanbun in China and this at least from the dates is possible. Kanbun received a teaching license in 1904 from Shushiwa and Gokenki would be about 18. When Kanbun opened his own school in Nanjing in 1906 Gokenki would be about 20. When Kanbun returned to Okinawa in 1909 Gokenki would be 23. It is possible Gokenki did train with Kanbun at his school in Nanjing or when Kanbun served as an assistant teacher at Zhōuzihé's school in Mǐnhóu during that time but in no way proved. However I have another idea as to how Gokenki knew of Kanbun which I will state at the end.

In 1912 however is when Gokenki went to Okinawa. He would be about 26 and Kanbun 35. In 1924 when Kanbun was 47 he went to Wakayama, Japan. Gokenki would be 38. Kanbun returned to Okinawa in November of 1946 he was about 69 and Gokenki had died 6 years earlier in 1940.

What I have read is that Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki's uncle Wúsōngmǔ 吴松牳 was a student of Mínghèquán 鳴鶴拳 master Xièzōngxiáng 謝宗祥 (1852-1930) and pleaded with Xièzōngxiáng 謝宗祥 (1852-1930) to accept Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki and his brothers Wúxiáncai 吴贤? and Wúxiánchang 吴贤?.

However in 1912 Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 when Gokenki moved to Okinawa and started a Tea company called the Senshun Kai 永光茶 (Yǒngguāng chá, "eternal bright tea) company in Naha. There was a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment in Japanese occupied Okinawan at the time and Báihè quán 白鹤拳 (white crane boxing) expert Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki teamed up with another Chinese immigrant involved in the tea trade between Fúzhōu 福州 and Okinawa 沖縄 to fight the anti-Chinese thugs of the Naha underworld who were brutalizing the people of Chinese decent on Okinawa.

This was one Tángdàjī 唐大基 (1887-1937) Toudaiki or Tōdaiki in Japanese who had emigrated from Fúzhōu 福州 to Okinawa 沖縄 in 1915 was was a tiger fist boxer from:

Yáoshā cūn 尧沙村 (Yaosha village)
Nányǔ zhèn 南屿镇 (Nanyu town)
Mǐnhóu xiàn 闽侯县 (Minhou county)
Fújiàn shěng 福建省 (Fujian province)

For reference Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa (1874-1926) the famous tiger fist boxer who some think was Uechi Kanbun's 上地完文 teacher was born in:

Zhītián cūn 芝田村 (Zhitian Village)
Nányǔ zhèn, 南屿镇 (Nanyu town)
Mǐnhóu xiàn 闽侯县 (Minhou County)
Fúzhōu shì 福州市 (Fuzhou city)
Fújiàn shěng 福建省 (Fujian province).

The David Smith translation of the "Uechi Kanei: Seisetsu Okinawa Karate-dō: Sono Rekishi to Gihō. Uechi-ryū Karate-dō Kyōkai, Ginowan 1977" AKA the Uechi bible, The Uechi Kyohon and the Big Blue Book." Says:

"Many rumors of his training had spread. It was not uncommon for people to get together and exchange information on military or martial arts. One such get together was with a Kobushi-prostitute White Crane expert from the Nasei Dojo era Gokenki who was also living in Naha and made his living as a Tea Merchant. He and Kanbun talked many long hours about the martial arts. He had heard about Kanbun’s past and tried fervently to change his mind about teaching."

Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki may have know Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 from China but the tiger fist boxer Tángdàjī 唐大基 (1887-1937) Toudaiki of Nányǔ zhèn, 南屿镇 (Nanyu town) would certainly known fellow tiger fist boxer Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa of Nányǔ zhèn, 南屿镇 (Nanyu town). It is highly probable that Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 Gokenki had heard of Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 through his friend Tángdàjī 唐大基 as is said by some that Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 not only lived with Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa school but became an assistant at his school. It is even possible Tángdàjī 唐大基 Tōdaiki was a student of Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa and even learned from Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 as Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 was an assistant teacher at Zhōuzihé's 周子和 (Shushiwa's) school. This is much like the stories about Wúguìxián 呉貴賢 Gokenki training with Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 and Zhōuzihé 周子和 (Shushiwa) . Perhaps the story was confused over time as the Chinese tea merchant Tángdàjī 唐大基 Tōdaiki was forgotten and people assumed it was the other Chinese tea merchant Wúguìxián 呉貴賢 Gokenki. In any case it would be very likely Tángdàjī 唐大基 Tōdaiki would have known about Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa and Uechi Kanbun 上地完文 in China even if he only did a related tiger fist style.

I think it is very unlikely 11 year old Gokenki introduced Kanbun to Shushiwa. I doubt Gokenki was Kanbuns or Zhōuzihé's student and think he knew of Kanbun from the tiger boxing Tángdàjī 唐大基 Tōdaiki but it is possible.

I used the name Shushiwa a few times as there is a dispute if Zhōuzihé was Kanbuns teacher. I should have said Shushabu but don't want to make this too complicated. If Tángdàjī 唐大基 Tōdaiki knew Kanbun through fellow tiger boxer Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa (1874-1926) that support that Zhōuzihé is who Kanbun refered to as his teacher Shushabu.

Notes:

Kanbun 上地完文 (1877-1948) aka 上地寛文 (this if true is an important fact I will cover elsewhere)

Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 (May 28, 1886 - 1940) also known as Gokenki

1897 at the age of 19 Kanbun went to China (Gokenki would be about 11)

Kanbun received a teaching license from Zhousihe in 1904[21] and in (Gokenki would be about 18)

1906 Kanbun opened his own school in Nanjing (Gokenki would be about 20)

Uechi returned to Naha, Okinawa in 1909 (Gokenki would be 23)

1912, a tea merchant and White Crane Kung Fu master Go Kenki (Wú Xiánguì) who knew him settled in Okinawa. (Gokenki would be about 26 and Kanbun about 35)

Due to the economic situation in Okinawa, in 1924, at the age of 47, Kanbun Uechi left for Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan to find employment. (Gokenki would be about 38)

In November of 1946 Kanbun returned to Okinawa. He would be about 69 and Gokenki had died 6 years earlier.

There is more information about the white crane masterb Wúguìxián 呉貴賢 )Gokenki in Japanese), the tiger boxer Tángdàjī 唐大基 (Tōdaiki) and Zhōuzihé 周子和 (Shushiwa) on the Shushiwa Facebook page. It is far too much to post here easily and at one sitting, but I will add more when I can. Plus there is so much more I am working on translating from Chinese and Japanese that it will take the rest of my life and someone to pickup where I leave off. Maybe someone will read this article and pick up the mantle and challenge.
Last edited by jwlavasse on Thu Nov 30, 2023 1:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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emattson
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by emattson »

Love the specifics included. Below is the link listing his birth date:
Go Kenki founder of modern White Crane
https://karatetim.com/white-crane-of-go-kenki

"Kanbun received a teaching license in 1904 from Shushiwa"
Interesting how different sources would list different teacher's name who gave Kanbun Uechi a teaching license. Wikipedia has Kanbun received a teaching license from Zhou Zihe in 1904 (Okinawa Karate Style Research Project (2018). 上地流 Uechi-Ryu Manual. pp. 7.) "The Footprints of Kanbun Uechi" by By Shigeru Takamiyagi Sensei, originally published from Classical Fighting Arts magazine. Vol. 2 No. 26 (Issue # 48) describes Shu Shi Wa (same as Shushiwa) as giving Kanbun the teaching license. It's possible that Zhou Zihe is his Chinese name and Shu Shiwa is his Japanese name and Kanbun call him Shu Shabu. These are all the same man.
https://forums.uechi-ryu.com/viewtopic.php?t=22931
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanbun_Uechi
Erik

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”
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jwlavasse
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by jwlavasse »

Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa's (1874-1926) name has also been Romanized as Chow Tsu prostitute, Chu Chi Wo depending the dialect and organization system.

Here is Zhouzihe 周子和 Shushiwa in several Chinese languages with their modern and romanization

Mandarin (Pinyin) The standard language of China and the new standard:
zhōu zǐ hé

Cantonese (Jyutping) Some have incorrectly said Zhouzihe learned tiger fist in Guǎngdōng/Canton:
zau1 zi2 wo4
Zau zi wo

Hakka (Sixian, PFS) Some have wondered if Zhouzihe was Hakka as the martial arts looks similar:
chû chṳ́ fò

Min Dong (BUC) the prestige Min dialect spoken in Fuzhou, where Zhouzihe 周子和 had his school:
ciŭ cṳ̄ huò

Min Dong might be what Zhōuzihé 周子和 spoke being he was from the Fuzhou area and this might be the closest to how he actually pronounced his name. However, yhe Nanjing dialect of Mandarin was the lingua Franca of the time but I have not found how that would be pronounced yet.

Min Nan (POJ) is the most widely spoken and studied Min dialect. It is spoken in Fujian and Taiwan. Some have assume since Zhouzihe lived in Fujian and some of his students may have left for Taiwan may have spoke min man. It is possible this'll is the dialect Kanbun learned as well so it may be relvant. In Min Nan Zhōuzihé周子和 (Shushiwa) is:
chiu chú hô

In Japanese Zhōuzihé 周子和is pronounced Shushiwa and it was decided in the 1970 to use the Japanese pronunciation of his name for Uechi-ryu.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by jwlavasse on Thu Nov 30, 2023 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jwlavasse
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by jwlavasse »

Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 (May 28 1886 - 1940) also known as Gokenki on Okinawan. He was born 1886 in what at the time was called Mǐn xiàn 闽县 (Min county) Fújiàn shěng 福建省 (Fujian province) China. Currently this area is now called Táijiāng qū 台江区 (Taijiang district), Fúzhōu shì 福州市 (Fuzhou city), Fújiàn shěng 福建省 (Fujian province). He was the fourth son in the family so his yòumíng 又名 (nickname) was Sìdì 四俤 (fourth brother). He also had three sisters.

His uncle Wúsōngmǔ 吴松牳 was a friend and student of mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 (shouting crane boxing) master Xièzōngxiáng 謝宗祥. Due to bullying of the boys Wúsōngmǔ 吴松牳 pleaded with master Xièzōngxiáng 謝宗祥 to accept Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 and his brothers Wúxiáncai 吴贤(?) and Wúxiánchang 吴贤(?), where the ? marks represent Chinese characters in their names which I have not yet identified.

Wú 吴 is the family or clan name and like the Okinawan naming system boys often shared the same 1st character as their father for their personal name so Xiánguì 贤贵, Xiáncai 贤(?) and Xiánchang 贤(?) But all with the family name Wú 吴. Wú 吴 is the new simplified Chinese characters, traditional Chinese is 吳 while in Japanese is was changed to 呉 so you will see all 3 depending on the time and language of the sources.
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emattson
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by emattson »

"shouting crane boxing"

Never heard of it, apparently obscure since a Google search turn up very little. What is it?
Erik

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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by jwlavasse »

Mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 translated as crying, shouting or whooping crane boxing is a very popular variation of White Crane Boxing.

Ruǎndōng 阮东 demonstrated mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 (crying crane boxing) in 1984 at the Uechi camp in Aug on Thompson Island while Zhāngtiāncì 张天赐 demonstrated his hǔxíngquán 虎形拳 (tiger shaped boxing) directly from Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa.

He is another video of Ruǎndōng 阮东 demonstrating mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 (crying crane boxing).

https://youtu.be/Nfc5YCfyVZo?si=cBHd7aqFSar5kN5G

Mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 (crying crane boxing) is one of the 5 major branches of Fújiàn white crane boxing along with sù hè quán 宿鶴拳 Sleeping Crane Fist, shí hè quán 食鹤拳 Eating Crane Fist, fēi hè quán 飛鶴拳 Flying Crane Fist and zòng hè quán 縱鶴拳 Shaking Crane Fist.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujian_White_Crane

Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa trained both fēi hè quán 飛鶴拳 Flying Crane Fist and shí hè quán 食鹤拳 Eating Crane Fist masters who claim him as one of their teachers, so our lineage is probably more closely related to those. Goju Ryu 剛柔流 may have some admixture of Mínghèquán 鸣鶴拳 (crying crane boxing) but not Uechi-ryu 上地流.
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by sorenlan »

Its unique blend of agility, power, and intricate footwork has captivated martial arts enthusiasts for generations. Here is a very cool site about games http://www.emedia.am/az/ . While its influence within Goju Ryu is evident, Uechi-ryu's lineage appears to be less closely linked to Mínghèquán.
Last edited by sorenlan on Sun Jan 21, 2024 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go Ken Ki 1886-1940

Post by emattson »

"Mínghèquán". It's possible that it may be spelled "Minghe-Quan". Pretty often, a single word may be split into two. One Korean woman I know is named Sooyoung. She pronounce her name as a single syllable but the Americans, including myself, always use two syllables. Looks like it has Okinawa influences.
Erik

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.”
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