Teachers of Kanbun

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

Moderator: jwlavasse

Post Reply
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:01 pm

Teachers of Kanbun

Post by jwlavasse »

I have read a lot of theories on Kanbun's teacher. On Okinawa before he went to China he is said by some to have not learned karate, others say he learned Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te but doesn't name his teachers

Alan Dollar says he learned karate from Yoroko Setaru 喜瀕樽, and Yutari Kamako 豊里??(unknown characters), Kobujutsu (weapons) from Iya Shoan and Yakenshi Hachiroto thenBojutsu 棒術 (staff arts) from Taru Kise and
Kamato Toyazaro who were well know Motubu experts and from his father Kantoku Uechi.There was also a martial arts master named Toyama from Tobaru 桃原の園 who is said to have inspired Kanbun to study in China but I do not know if Kanbun was his student. He probably was, it would make the story more likely. It is also possible I have already named him and that this is a different pronunciation of the same Chinese character for one of the other masters I have mentioned. Kanbun is also said in another source to have gained some formal training in karate and bo techniques from a man named Touichi 'Tanmei' (lit. 'old man'; a term of respect) who likewise could already be named above. Chinese characters used in Japanese can be pronounced in various ways, such a as Okinawan or Japanese but there are multiple reading for each.

I have not been able to confirm any of this but was able to reconstruct the Japanese characters for some of their names to do research in Japanese but so far I have not found anything.

I have heard some claim Kanbun studied under Higashionna Kanryo or Aragaki Seisho, both who did Naha-te. One story says Aragaki Seisho wrote Kanbun an introduction to the Kojo school in China, another says Aragaki Seisho accompanied Kanbun to China and introduced him to the Kojo dojo in Fuzhou.

At the Koji Dojo in Fuzhou Kanbun learned from either Kaho Kojo (1849 - 1925) or Isei kojo (1832-1921) but sources mix the two up and I have not been able to confirm definitely yet which of the two or both taught Manbun. The same is true for the time Kanbun spent at the Koji school in Fuzhou. Some sources say 1 month others up to. 3 years. I have found the Kojo Ryu taught in Fuzhou is closer to Naha-te than the current Kojo Ryu taught on Okinawan today.

In the up to 2 years between Kanbun let the Kojo dojo some sources say he trained for up to a year with Ruruko of Goju-ryu/Naha-te.

Their course their Zhōuzihé 周子和 Shushiwa who hosted Kanbun in his home. Technically both Zhōuzihé/Shushiwa and Kanbun were both students of Zhèngxiānjì 郑仙纪 (1854-1929) at least in tiger boxing. Zhèngxiānjì's 郑仙纪 school however was in the Sānbǎo 三保 port of Fúzhōu 福州 some distance from Zhītián cūn 芝田村 (Zhitian Village) where Zhōuzihé/Shushiwa and Kanbun lived so Zhōuzihé/Shushiwa may have been the day to day and de jure teacher of Kanbun.

There are other more farfetched teachers suggested for Kanbun I have not listed here, having rules them out. Gokenki aka Wúxiánguì 吴贤贵 (May 28 1886 - 1940) was too young when Kanbun (1877-1948) arrived in China being only about 10. I have posted about this in the forum in Gokenki and on my Shushiwa Facebook extensively.

If I think of another teacher of Kanbun worth mentioning I will post it but this is off the top of f my head.
Justin LaVasse 🙇‍♂️

A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they may never sit.

-Greek proverb-
User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon May 08, 2023 8:29 pm

Re: Teachers of Kanbun

Post by emattson »

Naha-te was primarily based on Fujian White Crane from Southern China. It was indigenously developed in Okinawa. Kanryo Higaonna was credited for Naha-te's early development. By the early 19th century, Fujian White Crane migrated to Okinawa. Naha-te got its name from the port town of Naha (the modern day capital of Okinawa) and Te was the Japanese word for "Hands".

https://karatedo.hakuakai-matsubushidoj ... ahate.html

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

Return to “Kanbun Uechi Teachers and Students”