Sakugawa no Kon Shō (Bojutsu Kata Series)

Pronounced Sakuga’a nu Kun Sū/Shī in Okinawan dialect. Sakugawa no Kon is said to have been devised and handed down by Sakugawa “Tōdī” Kanga.

There are many stories about the person Kanga, that he went to China for study, later became a teacher at the “National Academy” of Ryūkyū (established 1798), that he was granted the place name “Sakugawa” as a reward for distinguished services and accordingly changed his surname from Teruya to Sakugawa and others.

Sakugawa is revered as one of the founders of Okinawa karate. However, the oral history about him is seriously doubted by leading historians of Ryukyu history.

Excerpt from a lineage found in an Okinawan treatise on the history of karate & kobudo showing Sakugawa (Western adaption by this blogger).

Excerpt from a lineage found in an Okinawan treatise on the history of karate & kobudo showing Sakugawa (Western adaption by this blogger).

There are many kinds of Sakugawa no Kon.

For example, in Taira lineage kobudō there is a Shō and a Dai version of Sakugawa no Kon. These versions came via Chinen Sanra (Yamane-ryū)→Yabiku Mōden→Taira Shinken.

Taira’s student Inoue also maintains a Sakugawa no Kon Chū, which derived from an older version.

From the composition of Sakugawa no Kon in the Matayoshi lineage kobudō can be seen that it originated in the same template as the Shō version of Taira lineage kobudō.

The Ryūkyū Kobudō Shinbukan of Akamine Hiroshi has an extra-curricular version of Sakugawa no Kon that was handed down in the Kakazu area of Tomigusuku Madanbashi and is thus called Kakazu bōjutsu (see me too in that video, standing around 🙂 ). It was inherited in the 1920s by Yamane-ryū experts Chinen Masanrah and Ōshiro Chōjo.

Sakugawa no Kon as inherited in Yamane-ryū Bōjutsu has similarities as well as differences to the above versions. The video link shows the director of the Maeda dōjō and his excellent and technically very sophisticated performance.

In the various village bōjutsu (mura-bō), too, a number of Sakugawa no Kon have been handed down. In Yaese-chō Tomoyose village there are three kinds called Sakugawa no Kon Ichidan, Nidan, and Sandan.

Among the technical characteristics of Sakugawa no Kon Shō is the backwards drop-jump (tobu-sagaru) and the following winding removal (maki-nage).

This Sakugawa no Kon Shō is an excellent training piece. Once able to perform techniques, combinations and enbusen without thinking, go full throttle from the beginning and keep the pace until the end.

The video below shows Sakugawa no Kon Shō of Taira lineage kobudō. At some points in the video I noted to not dodge the head away in the gedan-barai and in the furi-age-uchi. It is a natural protective reflex that has to be actively unlearned. I see this all the time and when directing attention to it you will be surprised how many people actually do it.

Finally, the bō is a tapered 1.82 m quality tool from world-famous Okinawan brand Shureidō.

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