Sakugawa (To-tei) Kanga (1762-1843)
The founder of Shuri-te style karate and contributor to our Kobudo Style

Researched by Shu Nakamae

He was nick named “To-tei Sakugawa” which means Karate (Crazy!?) Sakugawa.

Went to China to study the northern styles of Chinese Martial Arts (bare hand and staff), and brought it back to Japan. Sakugawa then merged this Chinese style with the original Okinawan style of Tei.

Because this new styled was generally practiced around Shuri (the capital of feudal Okinawa) it was called Shuri-tei (or Shuri-dei).

Shuri-tei, along with Haku-tei, and Naha-tei where the three major styles of marital arts practiced in Okinawa, all being mergers of Chinese and traditional Okinawan styles. Because of this Chinese influence, the 3 styles where generally called To-tei, which translates to “Chinese Tei”. The character for To (the name of the then current Chinese dynasty) can also be read as “kara”, while “tei” was represented by the character for hand which is read “te”.

For this reason, To-tei gradually came to be called “karate”.

Sakugawa’s pupil Matsumura Sokon, who went with Sakugawa to China, inherited the Shuri-te style and went on the teach masters such as Itosu Anko.

For further reading, see Sakugawa Kanga – Wikipedia

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