Sakugawa no Kon (Koryū)

Sakugawa no Kon (Koryū) is an older form of the Sakugawa kata that originated in the teachings of Yamane-ryū which trace back to the 1920s teachings of Chinen Sanrā and Ōshiro Chōjo, who taught the village youth of the Kakazu area in Tomigusuku. Today it is handed down in the Shinbukan of Akamine Hiroshi Sensei in Tomigusuku, Okinawa. The video is from a performance at Tomigusuku castle ruins, close to the current Karate Taikan, in 2011.

There has long been a discussion about the original contents, appearance, and performing habits of Yamane-ryū. Therefore, knowing about these older versions of Yamane-ryū kata in Shinbukan, I wanted to know more about it. This was one of several kobudō issues on my list when I moved to Okinawa in 2010 for 1 1/2 years straight.

It should be bourne in mind that knowledge about the contents and performance habits of Yamane-ryū were more or less unclear to unknown, except for what was told by the modern derivates of the schools.

As you will notice, this Sakugawa no Kon (Koryū) here is basically the same as Sakugawa no Kon Shō. Hiroshi Sensei on microphone explained during the demonstration that this Sakugawa no Kon (Koryū) has been handed down right from the teachings of Chinen Sanrā. However, since the time of this demonstration in 2011, there might have been a re-evaluation by means of written and photographic records as well as video, that is, the kata might have been updated by the Shimbukan and now might look a different.

None of the various schools of Yamane-ryū currently in existence seem to practice this version or anything close to it in terms of enbusen. In other words, it may be that the tradition of Chinen Sanrā was completely different from what was told by later generations, and techniques were actually subject to continuous change over several generations. This can also be seen in another kata of the same tradition, namely Shushi no Kon (Koryū).

BTW, Chinen Sanrā is said to have loved to travel to Kakazu to teach. It was during a return journey from teaching at Kakazu when he got sick, and soon after died at Shuri.

© 2022, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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