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“Tode” Sakugawa

“Tode” Sakugawa (1733-1815)

"Tode" Sakugawa

The mysterious Koshokun of a Chinese envoy settled in Okinawa for some time. His most famous student was Satunuku “Tode” Sakugawa (1733-1815). It is believed Sakugawa became a student of Koshokun in 1756. Sakugawa was a student of Takahara Peichin (1683-1760) (Peichin is a title of status) until the arrival of Koshokun in Okinawa. At that time Sakugawa was granted permission from Takahara Peichin to train under Koshokun.

Sakagawa traveled to China with Koshokun to study Kempo. He returned to Okinawa in 1762 to introduce this fighting method. Before long Sakugawa was considered an expert in the Chinese hand fighting method. It is said that Sakugawa was awarded the title of Satonushi for his services to the Okinawa King.

Sakugawa soon started to teach the Chinese hand in Okinawa. Combining what both his teachers had taught him, he structured a training system. This made him the first Okinawan teacher of Tode. Many of his students rose to greatness. Among them were Chokun Satunku Makabe, Satunuku Ukuda, Ch. Matsumoto, Kojo, Yamaguchi (“Bushi” Sakumoto), Unsume, and Sokon ”Bushi” Matsumura.

Tode Sakagawa was an important factor in the development of “Te” on the Okinawan Islands. Sakugawa was credited with forming several “Bo” kata, which are still practiced today. In addition, Sakugawa also created “Dojo Kun” which has become a tradition with many styles.

When Tode Sakugawa was 78, he taught his greatest student, Sokon Matsumura the art of “Te”. It would be Sakagawa’s student, Sokon Bushi Matsumura, who would be considered the forefather of many Karate styles.

Kūsankū learned the art of Ch’uan Fa in China from a Shaolin monk. He was thought to have resided (and possibly studied martial arts) in the Fukien province for much of his life. Around 1756, Kūsankū was sent to Okinawa as an ambassador of the Qing Dynasty. He resided in the village of Kanemura, near Naha City. During his stay in Okinawa, Kūsankū instructed Kanga Sakukawa.

Sakugawa trained under Kūsankū for six years.  After Kūsankū’s death (around 1762), Sakugawa developed and named the Kusanku kata in honor of his teacher.