Onko Chishin series: Kaneshima Shinsuke and Chinen Masami


Onko Chishin – to learn from the past to know the future

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Kobudo Part4

Article 4 (Part 1)

November 21, 1961

Kaneshima Shinsuke (64) – Douchin

First ever demonstration of Douchin

He was born in Yonabaru Town in 1897. He served as the second mayor of Yonabaru and is presently the chairman of the town assembly. On the side of his busy official activities, he opened the Shobukan Dojo and devote himself in instructing his juniors.

From the age of 15, he learned from Motobu Choyu sensei (elder son of Motobu Saaru) among others. Since then and for more than 50 years, he has kept practicing karatedo. At the coming demonstration, he will perform the kata Douchin.

Douchin is a kata never seen in Okinawa therefore it will be the first ever demonstration in public. It is one of the many secrets that Mr. Kaneshima has in his repertory. He learned this kata from Chin Hando sensei after crossing over to Taiwan when 17.

Kaneshima has dedicated his life to karatedo and he is eager to demonstrate, his face being filled with confidence. Very involved with the preservation of kobudo, he together with President Higa Seitoku, has gone all around the island to gather the authorities of kobudo. He is a driving force for kobudo’s revival.

He tells about his aspiration as follow. “I am deeply sadden as I see that native kobudo is slowly disappearing. It is partly due to the fact that authorities are passing away. With the coming public demonstration, we intend to film and thus preserve the kata demonstration of each masters. Through kobudo, we wish to nurture highly spirited and healthy youth that will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Only the white vanishing hair are a sign of the man’s old age. Indeed, his movements and his verbal attitude are filled with energy. From the days he started learning karate, he has never been sick once said this man who has developed a powerful physical appearance. And he will prove it as he will perform Douchin for the first time in public. Wiping his sweat he goes on saying that he is not at all short of breath because as he explains karate built great physique and spirit. (Yonabaru Town Morishita Ward 35)

Extra notes: According to the “Okinawa Karate Kobudo Encyclopedia”, Kaneshima sensei passed away in 1990 at the age of 93. He was also a student of Tokuyama Chogi sensei. He used the name of his master to name his own karate “Tozan-ryu”. Today, some of his students continue his legacy using the name “Shorinpa Kenpo Tozan-ryu.”


Article 4 (Part 2)

November 21, 1961

Chinen Masami (63) – Sakugawa no kon

Learning the staff from his grandfather

He inherited Sakugawa no kon (bojutsu) directly from his grandfather Sanra.

It is said that “Sakugawa no kon” was introduced from China and there are very few experts in Okinawa. Mr. Chinen started practicing when he was 17 years old. When a child, he first started practicing karate with his younger brother, Seisho, but later on switched to staff as he felt there was a limit in his training. His explanation is that as he once took a break from training, his brother Seisho improved greatly. Although he once thought of quitting martial arts as he couldn’t bear losing to his younger brother, he started bojutsu on the recommendation of his grandfather. His grandfather Sanra was known as an expert of Bo and the technique of Mr. Sanra was known as “Yamanni no kata”.

Sakugawa no kon was also one of Grandpa Sanra’s fortes. Pretending to strike (utsu) while actually thrusting (tsuku); when thrusting, the staff should be twisted (hineru) in the thrusting motion, which is somewhat different with other bojutsu.

From his grandfather, Mr. Chinen was initiated into Tee (Tī), and he will perform Sakugawa no kon at the coming demonstration as an orthodox successor of the said kata. However, he told us: “Bojutsu is a martial art that my grandfather dedicated his lifetime to. With the meaning of preserving the kata of my grandfather, I wish to do my best during the demonstration.” Sakugawa no kon is preserved in the Kakazu hamlet of Madanbashi, but today, there are very few experts as it is a forgotten martial art. It is only inherited by a few seniors.

On the occasion of the coming demonstration, Mr. Chinen commented, “Acting as a good adviser to President Higa, I wish to furthermore devote myself for kobujutsu.”

(Shuri Tobaru-cho 2-6)