Chotoku Kyan

chinto01

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Good evening all. I am always looking for little nuggets of information on the past masters. I came across one that interests me and wanted to see if anyone else has heard this. Kyan Sensei was often call Chanmigwa or small eyed. I had been doing some research on this and a reliable source in the martial arts community says that he was actually missing an eye. Has anyone else heard this?

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

twendkata71

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I was told he had really bad eyesite in one eye. I don't know anything about him having only one eye or a false eye. Really hard to know. I don't think that any of his original students are still alive.
 

TimoS

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I don't think that any of his original students are still alive.

Actually, I think Joen Nakazato sensei is still alive, although he is already quite old.

As for Kyan missing an eye, that's the first I heard it. I've seen pictures of him, and to me it doesn't look he's missing an eye. Granted, none of the pictures are really close-ups, so it is hard to say for certain. I will, however, ask my seniors about this.
 

TimoS

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Well, I sent a text message about this to my contact. The reply came back within a minute, and it was quite succint: "Bah!" :lol:

I'll let you know more when I talk to him :)
 
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chinto01

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Thanks for the replies so far. I would be interested in what more we find out about this. I do not want to state my source yet, but he claims that there is or was a student of Kyan Sensei who told him this. More to come.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

TimoS

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he claims that there is or was a student of Kyan Sensei who told him this

Can you ask him who was this student? The students of Kyan are actually quite well known, so that information will tell us a lot of the credibility of the story. I myself am quite sceptical of this. I am absolutely sure if it were true, one of his senior students would've mentioned it.

For example, a former high-ranking Shorinji ryu Renshinkan instructor used to tell a story how Zenryo Shimabukuro would roll a boulder with his feet when doing one particular segment of Gojushiho. However, when Zenpo Shimabukuro heard about this story, his reply was something along the lines of "WTF?!", i.e. he had never seen his father do that.
 

punisher73

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I have always heard this was in reference to his wearing of glasses. I have never heard it was because he had a fake eye.

kyan.jpg
 
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chinto01

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When I get time I will share the email exchange with all of you. Let me start by saying that I am not agreeing with the person who claims this nor am I disagreeing with him. He was generous enough to share this possible tidbit of information with me and I wanted to pass this on to all of you so you could form your own opinion. The only thing I ask is when this is posted to keep it civil and not cause problems for him.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 
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chinto01

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O.K. guys here we go:

Rob to goodin
show details Nov 3 (1 day ago)


Goodin Sensei,

Greetings. My name is Rob and I recently came across your blog which I find extremely informative. I thank you for all of your efforts in collecting and sharing all of the research you have. I hope other people see what you have done and do the same so that the arts do not fade away. I do have one question for you in regards to Kyan Sensei that I hope you would be able to clarify for me. I had heard that he was called Chan Mi-Gwa on more than one occasion. I read your article Okinawa's Bushi Karate Gentleman and in the footnotes you state that Kyan Sensei had only one eye. I have never heard this before and my Sensei had never mentioned this. I was wondering if you could elaborate a little more on this as to where this information has come from as I find it very interesting. If I may also go a bit deeper to ask which eye it was and how he lost it also. Thanks for your time.

Best Regards,

Rob


Reply

Charles C. Goodin to me
show details 4:40 PM (16 hours ago)

Aloha,

A student of Kyan Sensei lives here in Hawaii. He studied with Kyan Sensei for 12 years at his home. He told me about Kyan Sensei's eye (I do not recall which eye it was). It was poked out by a friend while the two of them were sitting by a hibachi with hot coals in it. The friend was stirring the coals with a long chopstick (hihachi) and used this to poke out Kyan Sensei's eye. I do not know the reason or who the friend was.

You have to remember that at that time medical care was not very good. Later, people would have had a glass eye put in. But I understand that Kyan Sensei had not eye at all on one side as a result of the accident.

It was for this reason, I was told, that Kyan Sensei became so emphatic about busai (martial awareness). Even friends could be dangerous.

Respectfully,

Charles




Be nice everyone please remember I am sharing this with all of you hoping you may find it interesting and I do not want this to turn into one of those bashing sessions of his credibility.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

TimoS

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Interesting. I know of Charles Goodin and as I understand, he is considered quite a good historian, but I would still like to know who this student is or was. I will pass on this information and see what kind of reply I get.
 

TimoS

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Ok, had a word about this with my contact. Of course he, as I, still remains very very sceptical about this. Naturally neither of us can prove this wrong, but we can only offer some anecdotal evidence. First of all, Chosin Chibana sensei said of Kyan "Kyan's nickname was Chan Migwa, because his eyes were like beetles and they were considered too small for his head". Also, we have to remember that Kyan wore quite thick glasses, almost like magnifying glasses. Surely people would've noticed that he is missing an eye! And if people noticed that, then most likely his nickname would've been something like "one-eye Kyan" and not "small eyes Kyan".

My contact is asking more from another contact, I'll report if they come to any sort of conclusion :)
 

twendkata71

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Why doesn't the student of Shimabuku Eizo Hanshi ask him. Perhaps he would know, going through my research I realized that duh, Shimabuku was a student of Kyan and is still alive. I did not realize that Nakazato Hanshi was still alive.
As for information from Charles Goodin, He has always been well informed in the past and has very good connections, being in the Hawaii senekai. So, I have no reason to doubt what he says. Let me know what you all find out. I would ask Nagamine Takayoshi, but his father may not have said anything and just maybe if the story is true it may have happened after Nagamine and others were no longer students.
 

TimoS

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maybe if the story is true it may have happened after Nagamine and others were no longer students.

Well, Zenryo Shimabukuro stayed with Kyan until his death, excluding WW2 so I think he would've mentioned something about it to his son. But let's see if there are any further developments to the story
 
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chinto01

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Why doesn't the student of Shimabuku Eizo Hanshi ask him. Perhaps he would know, going through my research I realized that duh, Shimabuku was a student of Kyan and is still alive. I did not realize that Nakazato Hanshi was still alive.

The next time I have a conversation with Shimabukuro Sensei I will ask him. He has always said that Kyan Sensei's eyes were bad but has never made mention of him missing one. This piece of information I just stumbled across recently (Monday). If it were a couple of weeks ago I would have asked him while he was state side. Until then it will have to wait until a call to Okianwa.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

Brandon Fisher

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According to the DVD entitled The Karate Of Chotoku Kyan it says his eyesight was very poor but did not mention anything about missing an eye. Keep in mind Zenpo Shimabukuro was the one that did this DVD for Tsunami Productions.
 
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chinto01

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I doubt we will ever know the actual truth. Would be interesting to find out however.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

twendkata71

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Weither it is true or not. He was one of the most influential karate teachers of his time and because of him many of the Shorin ryu schools were developed.
 

Brandon Fisher

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I doubt we will ever know the actual truth. Would be interesting to find out however.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
Sure would be interesting to find out. But I agree the truth is buried in the past I am sure.
Weither it is true or not. He was one of the most influential karate teachers of his time and because of him many of the Shorin ryu schools were developed.
Influencial is a understatement but find a better word right.
 

TimoS

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He was one of the most influential karate teachers of his time and because of him many of the Shorin ryu schools were developed.

Well, off-hand I can name some that were more or less directly influenced by his teachings:
Seibukan, Shobayashi, Matsubayashi and Isshin ryu are the more famous. Then there's also Joen Nakazato's Shorinji ryu Kyudokan, how about others? Matsumura Seito currently is partially Kyan's karate, as Fusei Kise used to practise Seibukan under Chotoku Maeshiro (Zenryo Shimabukuro's student) before he joined Hohan Soken and brought with him e.g. Ananku and Seisan. Shorinji ryu Renshinkan, my previous style, used to claim a direct relationship between Isamu Tamotsu and Chotoku Kyan, but there's just one small problem in that story: Kyan had already passed away over 10 years before Tamotsu came to Okinawa. I think they've dropped that claim and now acknowledge Zenryo Shimabukuro and Joen Nakazato as the sources of their teachings.
 

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