Okinawan Hakutsuru

(White Crane Kung Fu)

Affiliated with Kobukan Karate Federation:  www.cranekarate.com

 

History

    The ancient history of White Crane Kung Fu really begins in the village of Yong Chun in the province of Fujian in Eastern China.  It was said to have been developed by a woman named Fāng Qīnián in the 1500s after seeing a crane land near her while doing laundry.  She tried to shoo the crane away with a long stick but the crane evaded all of her movements easily and this inspired her to imitate these movements as well as combine them with movements from Shaolin Monk Fist which she already knew from her father.  Over time her students in China developed 4 main schools of Crane Kung fu based on the characteristics that they most identified with such as the Whooping Crane, Sleeping Crane, Flying Crane, and Shaking crane. Later on other styles developed such as Feeding Crane and many family styles. 

 

    Bushi Matsumura of Okinawa traveled to Fujian China in the 1800's and learned many Shaolin and White Crane techniques and then went on to develop the Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu and Hakutsuru (White Crane) karate systems. The years of his lifespan are reported variously as c.1809-1901[1] or 1798–1890[3] or 1809–1896[3] or 1800–1892.[3] However, the dates on the plaque at Matsumura's tomb, put there by Matsumura's family, clearly state that he was born in 1809 and died in 1899. "wikipedia". 

    Another major White Crane influence in Okinawa came from the Chinese envoy sent over from China to Okinawa to teach Chinese culture.  Many Martial arts enthusiast came to study with the Chinese who were often masters in the White crane kung fu styles.  Over time the native Okinawans combined these Chinese styles with their own native Okinawan Te martial art giving birth to many new streams of thought in White Crane techniques and kata. 

 

    Another famous teacher of Okinawan White Crane Kung fu was Go kenki.

Go kenki's roots are in Fujian Province of China. In the 1900's he traveled from China and opened up a tea shop in Naha (the capital of Okinawa). Go kenki was a master of White Crane Kung fu and began to teach to many famous Karate masters there in Naha.  One such master was Hohan Soken who was the nephew of Nabe Matsumura, and was the current inheritor of Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu.  Hohan Soken learned the White Crane system from Gokenki, and also possibly learned some kata from his wife or aunt as it is shrouded in mystery.  Hohan Soken then passed on the White Crane Kata that he knew as well as the Matsumura Shorin Ryu system to the current living Grandmaster Takaya Yabiku.  Master Yabiku also learned many White Crane systems from China, Taiwan, and Japan.  Grandmaster Yabiku then taught late 8th Dan Chuck Chandler.  Kyoshi Chandler taught it to the current Master of the Kobukan Karate Federation who is ranked as a 6th Dan White Crane and 8th Dan Shorin Ryu, Hanshi L. Mark Vellucci.     

    Our White Crane is primarily an Internal system of Kungfu/Karate which involves the Mastsumura kata, the Mountain Crane kata system, and the Gokenki kata.  Many kinds of striking methods are utilized but the open palm, the 1 knuckle (Phoenix Eye Fist) and 2 knuckle (Eagle Beak) point striking are the most prevalent. This system emphasizes evasiveness and deception as well as point striking (dim mak).  The Crane does not rely on physical power, but relies on relaxed internal power by using the 'L' Stance, some dynamic tension to build strength, and precision striking.  This is a very powerful and now rare fighting system for both men and women alike.