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The History Of Karate
Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura
1797 - 1889
Birth of Te | Sakugawa | Matsumura | Itosu
Golden Age | Kyan | Motobu | Miyagi | Chibana

Sokon Tode Sakugawa's most famous student was Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura from Shuri. Matsumura was reported to be 6 feet tall and over 200lbs making him a giant on the island. He began his study in 1810 at the age of 13. He trained with Sakugawa until Sakugawa's death in 1815. Matsumura was a scholar and calligrapher. At 19 he married a women (Yonamine Chiru) from a family known for their karate. She was very strong, and legend has it that she picked up a 132 lb bag of rice with one hand to sweep under it. She said she wouldn't marry someone that could not defeat her. After their marriage Matsumura tested her ability by dressing in disguise and waiting for her to come past him. When the test was done HE was tied to a tree! Be sure to read the full story in O'Sensei's book on page 32.

Matsumura was an innovator who further developed the karate of Shuri, providing much of the foundation for the karatedo practice today. He is said to have traveled to China to train in the Shaolin Temple learning Chuan Fa (Chinese Kempo-fist method). After his return he organized and refined the Shuri-Te system. He would later become known as the "forefather of Shorin-Ryu". He emphasized the importance of balancing physical development with moral education. It is said that he used pine trees as makiwara boards punching and kicking them until they fell down. He developed his grip by squeezing green bamboo until it crushed.

Matsumura was recruited by the king of Ryukyu (King Shoko) becoming his personal bodyguard and the bodyguard of two more Ryukyu kings. The king wanted him to change his name as was customary at the time. The king suggested Moramatsu meaning "Village Pine", but Sokon requested Matsumura meaning "Pine Village". The king granted his request. Read the story of Matsumura & the bull on page 4 of O'Sensei's book. Other stories of Matsumura and King Shoko start on the bottom of page 35.

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