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KANRYO HIGAONNA REVIVED NAHA-TE

by Shoshin Nagamine

Remarks: The original Japanese title "Nafadii Chuko No So, Kengo Higaonna Kanryo" (= Kanryo Higaonna, the karate expert, who revived Naha-Te or Naha style karate) The article appeared in the monthly magazine "Aoi Umi" February 1978 issue (No.70) published by Aoi Umi Shuppansha (pages 111-113).

Translated by Sanzinsoo

Kanryo Higaonna (1853-1915) was born in Nishimura, Naha, Okinawa on 10th March 1853 as the 4th son of Kan-yo Higaonna who was the 9th generation of Shin Family. In the same year, Commodore Perry visited Shuri Castle. His childhood name is Mosi and the Chinese style name is Shin Zen En Ko. He could not learn the Chinese classics, as his family was poor. His father took advantage of the location of Nishimura, he transported firewood from Kerama Island by boat called Yanbarusen and ran retail and wholesale business of firewood.

Kanryo was small in stature, but agile, strong, talented in sports and a robust young man who was good at karate and sumo ( a kind of wrestling).
When he was about 20 years old, he was trained hard in Naha-te style karate by Seisho Aragaki (1840-1920). So, though young, he became famous as a karate expert throughout four towns of Naha city. He was also an enthusiastic researcher of the martial arts. He often heard stories about in-depth study of Chinese Kungfu, its philosophy, and amazing techniques in Chinese martial arts from the seniors who had returned from China. He eventually decided to go to Fuzhou, China and learn authentic Chinese Kungfu.

Back then, Naha Port was an important port for trade between Fuzhou, China and Ryukyu Kingdom.
He knew that ships often went back and forth from Ryukyu (= Okinawa) to China. In stead of his father, he got on the ship and transported firewood from Kerama Island.

In Fuzhou, China, he was accepted as a student by Master Wan Shin Zan (= This is Koyu Shimabukurofs opinion.). But before the acceptance, Master Wan Shin Zan made Higaonna promise not to tell anyone about the kungfu, as his style of Kei I Ken (= Xin Yi Chuan or xin yi quan) is a secret art.

He practiece only footwork and breathing

- to be continued -


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