Kobudō 4: Kameshima Shinsuke and Chinen Masami
[Okinawa Times] November 21, 1961
First ever demonstration of Dōchin
Kameshima Shinsuke (64)
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 assembly related activities, he opened the Shōbukan Dōjō and devote himself in instructing his juniors.
From the age of 15, he learned from Motobu Choyū sensei (elder son of Motobu sārū) among others. Since then and for more than 50 years, he has kept practicing karatedō. At the coming demonstration, he will perform the kata Dōchin.
Dōchin 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 Handō sensei (1) when traveling to Taiwan at the age of 17.
Kaneshima has dedicated his life to karatedō and he is eager to demonstrate, his face being filled with confidence. Very involved with the preservation of kobudō, he together with President Higa Seitoku, has gone all around the island to gather the authorities of kobudō. He is a driving force for kobudō’s revival.
He tells about his aspiration as follow. “I am deeply sadden as I see that native kobudō 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 kobudō, we wish to nurture highly spirited and healthy youth that will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Only the white vanishing hairs 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 Dōchin 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 Kobudō Encyclopedia”, Kaneshima sensei passed away in 1990 at the age of 93. He studied in his younger years in Taiwan under Tokuyama Chōgi who himself studied under Shurite expert Onaga Ekata. In his 30ies, he studied with Chin Handō. Later, Kaneshima named his system Tozan-ryū which is written with the 1st and 3rd characters for Tokuyama.
Today, some of his students continue his legacy using the name “Shōrinpa Kenpō Tozan-ryū.”
Learning the staff from his grandfather
Chinen Masami (63)
Sakugawa no kon
He received direct transmission of Sakugawa no kon (Bōjutsu) from his grandfather Saburō (1).
It is said that “Sakugawa no kon” came from China, and there are few experts in Okinawa. Mr. Chinen began his career at the age of seventeen. When he was a child, he used to study karate with his younger brother Seishō (2), but tormented by the practice, he switched to Bō. He says that the reason is that while he took a break in his karate training, his younger brother Seishō improved. He says that he had given up martial arts for a while as he was vexed from losing to his brother, but on the recommendation of his grandfather he started Bōjustu. Chinen’s grandfather Saburō was known as a Bō expert, his technique being called the “form of Yamannī”.
Sakugawa no kon is one of the special skills of Grandpa Saburō. It’s somewhat different from other cudgels’ techniques; you pretend to strike but actually thrust. When thrusting, you do so while twisting the cudgel. Mr. Chinen received instruction from his grandfather, and as a legitimate inheritor Sakugawa no kon, he will perform this kata at the demonstration, but he adds “Bōjustu is a martial art my grandfather devoted his life to. I want to do my best during the demonstration with the meaning of preserving the kata of my grandad”. Sakugawa no kon is still preserved in the Kakazu district of Madanbashi (3), but now there are only a few experts as it is a forgotten martial art. It is only inherited by a few elders.
With the coming demonstration, Mr. Chinen said that “he would like to become a good adviser for President Higa and also wants to do his best for Kobujutsu”.
(1) Most likely Chinen Masanra, known as the founder of Yamannī-ryū.
(2) The name’s reading is unclear.
(3) The Kakazu district is presently in Tomigusuku. Not far from there can be found the Ryūkyū Kobudō Shimbukan founded by Akamine Eisuke sensei. Akamine sensei was born in Kakazu and studied the Bō of Kakazu that was taught directly by Chinen Masanra. He is followed by his son Akamine Hiroshi, present head of the Shimbukan.
A video of the demonstration released by the Okinawa Traditional Kobudo Preservation Society Bunbukan: