Sokon Matsumura "Bushi"
Sokon Matsumura (松村 宗棍, Matsumura Sōkon, 1792 - 1890)
Sokon Matsumura was one of the original Karateka's of Okinawa & the forefather of Shorin Ryu. He studied Chuan Fe in China as well as other martial arts and brought what he learned back to Okinawa, where he taught a select few students and became a well known master. He was assigned as instructor and protectorate to the king of the Ryūkyū islands. After Japan assumed control of Okinawa 40 years later however, Matsumura Sensei moved to Tokyo and taught and developed karate for the rest of his life. During his early years he studied under Tode Bushi Satunuku Sakugawa
Matsumura was recruited into the service of the Sho family (Royal family of Okinawa) and eventually became the chief martial arts instructor and bodyguard for the Okinawan King. At some point in his career, approximately 1830, he went to China and studied the Shaolin style of Chinese Kenpo (fist method) and weaponry. It is also known that he travelled to Foochow in Fukien province, China on numerous occasions as an envoy for the Okinawan King. After his return from China he organized and refined the Shorin Ryu system of Okinawan Karate.
Matsumura is credited with passing on the kata or formal exercises of Shorin Ryu Karate known as Naifanchi I & II, Bassai Dai, Seisan, Chinto, Gojushiho (fifty-four steps of the Black Tiger), Kusanku (the embodiment of Kusanku's teaching as passed on to Tode Sakugawa) and Hakutsuru (white crane). The Hakutsuru kata contains the elements of the white crane system taught within the Shaolin system of Chinese Kenpo. Another set of kata, known as Chanan in Matsumura's time, is said to have been devised by Matsumura himself and was the basis for Pinan I and II. Matsumura's Ryu has endured to the present day and the above mentioned kata are the core of Shorin Ryu Karate today.
Matsumura was given the title "Bushi" meaning warrior by the Okinawan King in recognition of his abilities and accomplishments in the martial arts. In fact, Matsumura fought many times but was never defeated. His martial arts endeavours has been the progenitor of many contemporary karate styles, Shorin Ryu, Shotokan Ryu, and Shito Ryu, for example. Ultimately all modern styles of karate that evolved from the Shuri-Te lineage can be traced back to the teachings of Bushi Matsumura.