Sakugawa Kanga, also known as Tōdī Sakugawa or Tōde Sakugawa, was a renowned martial arts master from the Ryukyu Kingdom, which is now part of modern-day Okinawa, Japan. He lived during the 18th century and is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the development of Okinawan martial arts.
Sakugawa Kanga was born in Akata village near Shuri, the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom, around 1786. He began his training in the indigenous martial art of the Ryukyu Kingdom called “Ti,” which later evolved into what is known today as Okinawan karate. His teacher was Takahara Peichin, a prominent martial arts expert of that time.
Under Takahara’s guidance, Sakugawa dedicated himself to the rigorous training of Ti, which included the study of various strikes, kicks, grappling techniques, and probably kata (forms). He trained diligently and developed exceptional skills, eventually becoming a respected martial artist himself.
One of the significant milestones in Sakugawa’s life was his encounter with a Chinese martial arts master named Kusanku (Kwang Shang Fu), who visited Okinawa. Kusanku’s expertise left a lasting impression on Sakugawa, inspiring him to further refine his martial arts knowledge. Sakugawa is believed to have integrated some of Kusanku’s techniques into his own style, contributing to the development of Okinawan karate.
Some historians say that the kata Kusanku was created from the techniques he learned from Kwang Shang Fu (Kusanku).
Sakugawa’s reputation grew, and he became known as an accomplished martial arts instructor. He taught numerous students, passing down his knowledge and skills. Among his students was Matsumura Sōkon, who later taught future masters such as Itosu Anko and Asato Anko.
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