MATAYOSHI KINGAIRYU TODE • KOBUJUTSU


HISTORICAL PILLS


The Matayoshi family descends from a clan of warriors from the Ryukyu kingdom, whose founder was Ufugushiku Shinbu* in the 14th century. The family's skills in the field of weapons also allowed them to ensure the safety of ships crossing from Naha to China and vice versa, on trade missions during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
* It is from this character that all the male children of the Ma family (麻), regardless of the branch (Matayoshi, Gima, Sawada…) took Shin (眞 or 真) as the first kanji of their name.


MATAYOSHI SHINKO (15th generation, 1887-1947) inherited the family tradition of weapons from his father Shinchin. To perfect his knowledge and skills, he undertook a journey that took him to Sakhalin, Manchuria, Annam and then Shanghai and Fuzhou. In Fujian, Shinko trained under Wu Jiaogui, the father of
the man who would later be famous in Okinawa as Go Kenki, and taught him Shaolin Bai He Quan (Fuzhou Shaolin White Crane Fist). Furthermore, always thanks to Wu's introduction, from
Kin Koronushi (later called Kingai Laoshi) he learned tinbei-jutsu, shuruchin-jutsu and nunti-jutsu, as well as Chinese acupuncture and the Shaolin Kung Fu of the Southern School which included: Arhat Boxing, Crane, Tiger, Mantis, Monkey and Drunkard. After a long period of training in martial arts on the mainland, Shinko returned to Naha to trade and teach martial arts. Upon his death, the fighting arts in which Shinko had trained incessantly were passed on to his son Shinpo; it was Shinpo who gave the name Kingairyu to the family fighting method.


MATAYOSHI SHINPO (16th generation, 1921-1997) began training under his father at the age of four, then at the age of seven he was also introduced to Chotoku Kyan, for a short time to Chojun Miyagi and then to Seiko Higa, who was considered by Shinpo as a second father. In 1935 he also began training under Go Kenki* himself, instructing until 1957 when he had to move to Kawasaki to look for work. Returning to Okinawa in 1960, he began teaching kobudo at Higa Sensei's dojo, also becoming a member of the federation he had established.

* Go Kenki (1886-1940) specialized in the Ming He Quan (Crying Crane Fist) style although his repertoire was broader. He lived in Okinawa from 1912 as a tea merchant and married a woman named Makato Yoshikawa but, in truth, it seems he was part of a Chinese secret society dedicated to espionage. Certainly as a martial arts master he had a strong impact on local karate and on various future teachers (Miyagi, Kyoda, Mabuni, etc...) of which the most prolific was Shinko Matayoshi, who preserved all of Kenki's repertoire in his future Kingairyu.


In 1970 he founded the Ryukyu Kobudo Renmei with the intention of giving kobudo the same value and diffusion that karate was experiencing at that time; two years later, the Renmei received registration under the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, from there he began the structuring of the kobudo system that later spread worldwide.

In 1976 he built his own dojo and named it Kodokan in honor of his father, from then on he worked extensively for the preservation and dissemination of Okinawan martial arts, also becoming a member of various local organizations.

In 1987, he was formally recognized for his ability and efforts in promoting and preserving Okinawan martial arts, receiving the 10th dan and the title of Hanshi on October 10 of that year, by His Imperial Highness Higashi Fushimi Jigo, President of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. He was also recognized as an important cultural treasure by the Butoku Kai, as well as a member of the board of directors, as well as Shibu-cho of the Okinawa branch; he was also an active member of the board of directors of the Nihon Kobudo Kyokai (Traditional Martial Arts Association of Japan).



Matayoshi Shinko (second on left), at the Butokuden 1939
Go Kenki in Hakutsuru, with students in typical stances of the style
Matayoshi Shinpo (on the right) and Hayasaka Yoshifumi (kneeling first on the left)

OVERVIEW

The name Matayoshi is mostly linked, in the world, to the discipline of Okinawan kobudo, thanks to the work of collection and preservation that father and son carried out with regards to the ancient kata with weapons, forms linked to the practice as it was carried out at the time of the ancient Royal Dynasty of Ryukyu and the Chinese Ming and Qing Dynasties. Less known or rather less widespread, however, is the empty-handed fighting method that the Matayoshi have developed over time, thanks to the immense study carried out, and which today has the name of Kingairyu. Kingairyu is a style of Tode, that is, true old-school karate, and from the technical point of view and that of the transmission which initially took place within the family and then to a few chosen students, among whom Hayasaka Sensei is the only one to whom the certification of total transmission of the style was issued. Kingairyu is a complete system, in the sense that it is made up of 3 large "subsystems": Nahate, Kingai Tode and Nanpa Shorin-ha Tsuru-ken, with important influences from other methods as Shurite. By studying Kingairyu it is possible to understand and practice the characteristics and techniques of the main methods that have allowed the evolution of karate as it is known today, starting from the three versions of Sanchin, which today are preserved exclusively within Kingairyu itself in their original form: Suidi Sanchin (Matsumura Sanchin), Nafadi Sanchin and Tsuru Sanchin*.

* 
The first trace of sanchin, in Okinawa, seems to date back to Higaonna Kanryo who brought it from Fuzhou in 1877, but it is plausible that the sanchin practiced in southern China is older. Around 1720, when Fujian Shaolin Gongfu was structured, this sanchin would have taken on a definitive form.

The highest level of the system is obviously the Crane method with a series of forms inherited from the masters Kingai Laoshi and Go Kenki, which are the evolution of each other so as to refine the sublime art of the White Crane Fist of Fujian.


Tsuru Sanchin


Some typical kata of Kingairyu Tode are: Kakuha, Hakkaku, Nepai, Tora-no-te, Kamakiri, Tsuru Sasen, Rakan-ken, Yoi-no-te, Rokuki-te, etc...

Regarding kobujutsu the weapons are: bo, sai, tunkwa, nunchaku, kama, sansetsukon, eku, tinbe, tekko, suruchin, kusarigama, chigama, kuwa


CURRENT PRACTICE


Prof. Bonanno is currently studying Kingai-ryu and Kobudo under Hayasaka Yoshifumi Sensei.

Hayasaka Sensei began studying under Matayoshi Sensei in 1978 and he received the menkyo kaiden in 1997. He worked as a police inspector in the First Investigation Division and the Tokyo Forensic Division, he retired after reaching the rank of chief of the Hachijojima Police Station.


Shinyasu Matayoshi Soke (left) at Ryugasaki Kodokan
Angelo Bonanno at Ryugasaki Kodokan