Itosu's TRUE lineage?

Muwubu16858

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I know that Itosu Anko is credited with being a disciple of Matsumura Soken, but what do you believe? I cut and pasted this from http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=1, and would like to know what everyone else thinks about this and why?


In his 1932 book, "Watashi no Tode Jutsu," Motobu is quoted as saying: "Sensei Itosu was a pupil of Sensei Matsumura, but he was disliked by his teacher for he was very slow (speed of movement). There (in the dojo) for although Itosu sensei was diligent in his practice his teacher did not care about him so he (Itsou) left and went to sensei Nagahama."


The rest of the article can be found here.
 
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searcher

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Many of the Master of old bounced around to different instructors. It was a common thing.
 

twendkata71

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That is a well written article. And it sounds believable enough. karate ka of that period were in many cases, incouraged by their masters to go to other teachers and learn of their styles. I has only been in modern times when Karate students were told, made to, whatever. to only study one style of karate and in some cases with only one teacher.
Funakoshi, Mabuni, Motobu, Ohtsuka and Konishi all trained with several teachers and in some cases exchanged knowledge between each other.
After karate started being commercialized that students were told not to train with other teachers and styles.
All I know is that Itosu had a great influence on most of the karate ka of his day and after.
Most styles of karate today teach Pinan/ or Heian kata that he created. Excluding Naha te(Goju ryu, Uechi ryu, To'on ryu) which were of Hiagoanna lineage.
 

punisher73

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I am not doubting that Itosu studied under the other masters. I DO doubt about the reason "why".

Motobu was a student of Itosu. Itosu later refused to teach him anymore because of complaints about Motbu going out and picking fights with what he was being taught. It sounds to me more like Motobu trying to get his digs in on his old teacher and bad mouth him about why he studied with others.
 
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Muwubu16858

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Then what about what funakoshi had to say? I have his 1922 book "Ryu Kyu Kenpo Tode," and he says Azato follows the line of Matsumura, and Itosu the line of Matsumura.
 

Makalakumu

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Then what about what funakoshi had to say? I have his 1922 book "Ryu Kyu Kenpo Tode," and he says Azato follows the line of Matsumura, and Itosu the line of Matsumura.

It's an interesting view and it goes to show us how some things never change. LOL!

I wonder if you could compare the karate of Matsumura and Nagahama and see the differences?
 

twendkata71

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Well Nagahama and Matsumora Kosanku both taught Tomari te, which now has been blended into many shorin ryu styles. You would see more of a difference or elements of Tomari te in Okinawan Kenpo, or ryukyu kempo.
Most of the teachers that were students of Itosu taught karate that was more of shuri te . Which leads me to believe that Itosu's teachings were more shuri te and less tomari te, Especially since Itosu did not teach the tomari te kata.
You do see tomari te influence in what kyan Chotoku taught to Nagamine Shoshin and what he taught in his Matsubayashi ryu.
Kyan was a student of Itosu Ankoh as well as Oyadomori and Matsumora who were tomari te/ or a blend of tomari and shuri te.
It would not suprise me if Motobu was badmouthing his teacher. He was supposedly also trained with Matsumura directly, as the legend goes many teachers on Okinawa refuse to teach Motobu because of his brawling ways of testing his technique. I believe that if his father had actually taught him the family style of Ti he would not have went around looking to learn te from his less than honorable ways. Later in life Motobu did settle down and became a mature master of karate. Not incouraging his student to do as he did.
If in fact Itosu did push him away from instruction, Motobu would have a great deal of resentment and probably would have embellished facts, or made up things to make his former sensei look bad. Motobu did have a bit of a vengeful streak from what I have read.
 

TimoS

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I know that Itosu Anko is credited with being a disciple of Matsumura Soken, but what do you believe? I cut and pasted this from http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=1, and would like to know what everyone else thinks about this and why?

This is pretty much what I've been told also. Bushi Matsumura's "heir" was Azato, and Itosu learned mostly from Gusukuma (who he in turn really was, is something we just don't know), but also from Matsumura and Nagahama
 
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Muwubu16858

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Itosu-ha Kata:

Pinan 1-5
Naihanchin 1-3
Jitte
Jiin
Jion
Bassai Dai
Bassai Sho
Kusanku Dai
Kusanku Sho
Shiho Kusanku
Rohai 1-3
Chinto
Chinte
Chinshu
Wanshu
Wandaun(Wando)
Gojushiho

If he was really the disciple of Matsumura Sokon, why wasn't Matsumura no Seisan taught by Itosu to his students?

Matsumura-ha:

"Matsumura is credited with passing on the Shōrin-ryū Kempō-karate kata known as naihanchi I & II, passai, seisan, chintō, gojūshiho, kusanku (the embodiment of kusanku's teaching as passed on to Tode Sakugawa) and hakutsuru."-wikipedia

If Gusukuma was his main teacher, it is possible Itosu learned some of the Matsumura kata from Azato, whom Funakoshi says were very good friends.
 
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Makalakumu

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So, Itosu was too slow and wasn't good enough to be a student of Matsumura. That's a hard claim to support. Do we have any lineage's of karate that can actually trace their way back to Matsumura? How do these compare to Itosu-Te? I'm guessing that practitioners of both styles are skilled.

Matsumura may not have been Itosu's main teacher, but does this mean that the influence of his karate was limited? How limited? Where can you see it, other then the missing seisan?
 
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Muwubu16858

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As funakoshi explains in his biography, the karate of Azato, who followed Matsumura's style, was that the arms and legs should be regarded as swords, and he would evade an attack and counter quickly. Itosu, however, would advise Funakoshi to train his body so that it can withstand any blow, no matter how powerful, which sounds to me like some of the conditioning exersizes of Naha-te, which, if you read Nagamine Shoshin's book on the Great Okinawan Masters, Nagahama, Itosu's teacher, was from Naha.
 

Makalakumu

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As funakoshi explains in his biography, the karate of Azato, who followed Matsumura's style, was that the arms and legs should be regarded as swords, and he would evade an attack and counter quickly. Itosu, however, would advise Funakoshi to train his body so that it can withstand any blow, no matter how powerful, which sounds to me like some of the conditioning exersizes of Naha-te, which, if you read Nagamine Shoshin's book on the Great Okinawan Masters, Nagahama, Itosu's teacher, was from Naha.

Itosu lineage kata are still very light and mobile and there are few of the classical naha conditioning and strengthening exercises in Itosu-te systems. So, this distinction becomes harder to support. From a functional point of view, does the distinction really exist?
 
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Muwubu16858

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Then again, most lineages are watered down, and missing elements from their true origens, SO its no surprise to see these elements no longer in Itosu-ryu, Shito-ryu and other Itosu-based systems, as I'm more than sure no one here can tell me which skills were 100% taught by Matsumura, either.
 

Makalakumu

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Then again, most lineages are watered down, and missing elements from their true origens, SO its no surprise to see these elements no longer in Itosu-ryu, Shito-ryu and other Itosu-based systems, as I'm more than sure no one here can tell me which skills were 100% taught by Matsumura, either.

I thought Hohan Sokon was probably the closest we could get to seeing what Matsumura Te looked like, but TimoS says that is debatable. If the history they claim is correct, then that style of Shorin Ryu is probably going to be the closest...and would probably be the best place to see what Matsumura Te looked like.
 

TimoS

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I thought Hohan Sokon was probably the closest we could get to seeing what Matsumura Te looked like, but TimoS says that is debatable

The reason I said it is debatable is that the existense of Nabe Matsumura has not, to my knowledge, been proven. Hohan Soken is said to have learned from him, but why is there no mention of him anywhere else?
 

Makalakumu

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The reason I said it is debatable is that the existense of Nabe Matsumura has not, to my knowledge, been proven. Hohan Soken is said to have learned from him, but why is there no mention of him anywhere else?

Is there some research that shows Hohan Sokon learned from some where else?
 

TimoS

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Is there some research that shows Hohan Sokon learned from some where else?

Don't know about research, I could check, but based on what I've heard, his karate was pretty much Itosu's karate or rather Chibana's karate. Apparently at least some of the senior students of Chibana are saying this. Matsumura Seito currently contains also some of Kyan's karate in it, courtesy of Fusei Kise (such as kata Ananku, which was created by Kyan).
Here are, however, some other inconsistencies as to why the story of learning from Bushi Matsumura is a debatable:

  • the kata that Hohan Soken taught contain some that we know with relative certainty were not taught by Bushi Matsumura. The kata that are known to have been taught by Bushi Matsumura are Seisan, Gojushiho, Kusanku and Naifanchi. However, Hohan Soken also taught Chinto, Rohai and Wansu, all "Tomarite" kata. Where did those come from? It is likely that Matsumura knew at least Chinto, but apparently he never taught it to anyone. Maybe he didn't know it all that well, and was just familiar with it.
  • Additionally Hohan Soken taught at least two Pinan kata. Where did those come from? Because with almost absolute certainty we can say that Bushi Matsumura did not have those
  • The most "damning" evidence to me is the physical appearance of kata. Let's look at kata Chinto: Hohan Soken performing Chinto versus Shorin ryu Shidokan Chinto (Shorin ryu Shidokan is the Shorin school of Katsuya Miyahira, a student of Chibana). To my eye they look very similar. Now comparing those to Seibukan version and the differences in execution come even more apparent.
  • Also, Matsumura Seito apparently teaches two versions of at least Passai kata (Sho and Dai), another "trademark" of the Itosu lineage
To me, the logical explanation for these is that Hohan Soken learned karate from Chibana. As to why he would feel to need to fabricate the lineage, I honestly don't know (if that is what actually happened, after all, I'm just speculating). He certainly wouldn't be the first nor the last to do so.
It all comes down to whose story you choose to believe. I've "chosen" to believe that Nabe Matsumura most likely didn't exist, based on the evidence above and discussions with my seniors. If anyone disagrees with me, I would love see their evidence
 

twendkata71

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Perhaps there is no mention of Matsumura Nabe, because , one he did not teach on a public basis. Two not all sensei on Okinawa are well know,and for the time period it was very common to teach personally at one's home. If he ony taught a couple of students or one student(family member) as was the custom of several Ti Masters, and Te masters, passing the knowledge to family members only, then it would make sense that he would not be well known.
I'm just saying. I don't know either way. Only going on sources I have talked to in the Matsumura Seito and Matsumura Kenpo community.
On the other question. Soken Hohan in addition to training with his uncle Matsumura Nabe. Also trained with Mabuni Kenwa of Shito ryu karate do after returning from Argentina.. Perhaps would explain why he started teaching more than one Rohai, and the Pinan kata series and more than one Naihanchi. Another legend says that Soken may have met and learned from Motobu Choki before leaving Okinawa for Argentina. Have no idea if that one is true. Have not found a valid source to confirm or deny that. Most say that he only trained with Matsumura Nabe(don't think Nabe was his actual name)
 
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