The hunt for Lu-Lu Ko, Chinese teacher of GoJu Ryu’s founder Master Higaonna Kanryo.
Translated by Shaun Hogan from:
Author: 休闲 XueXian
[Translator’s forward notes: The hunt for Goju Ryu Master Higaonna Kanryo’s Chinese teacher. Many texts show that the original Chinese master of GoJu Ryu’s founder Higaonna was named Ru-Ru Ko (ルールーコ）Since this is not a Chinese name, the founder’s name becomes difficult to trace. In 1987, the Fujian Wushu Association and the Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate Do Association met to research the originator’s name. They concluded that Higaonna Kanryo’s master was named: Xie Zongxian his birth name – Xie RuRu “RuRu” was sort of a nickname. – RuRu Ko is an honorific title where “Ko” is the Fujian pronunciation of “Ge”, Big Brother. In other words, “RuRu Ko” works out to “RuRu Big brother.”]
Translation of the Mr. XueXian’s Chinese Blog Post:
Karate-do uses both hands and feet, combining offense and defense, attacking the opponent with various techniques such as kicking, hitting, and striking, using fists, palms, fingers, elbows, knees, and legs to make various attacks. Karate-do is a martial art that embodies the intensity of fighting, and does not use any equipment to engage in self-defense while minimizing harm to the opponent. It has been popularized all over the world. Where does Japanese karate-do originate? This is a topic jointly studied by the All Japan Karate Federation and the Fujian Wushu Association.
1. Fujian was the birthplace of Japanese karate.
According to historical records, in the Ming Dynasty, the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) were still a relatively poor and backward island country. The backwardness of Ryukyu (Okinawa) was due to the ineffective, closed sailing trade business that blocked exchanges between the Ryukyu Kingdom and neighboring countries, resulting in a negative economic situation. In the historically verifiable five years of Hongwu (1372), Zhu Yuanzhang sent personnel to Ryukyu. And the King of Ryukyu, Zhongshan Haodu sent his brother Tai to pay tribute to the Chinese capital, thus starting friendly exchanges between RyuKyu and China. After sending 36 families from Fujian to Ryukyu, Okinawa’s economic outlook was greatly improved. The “Thirty-six Fujian families” were people who were skilled at boat building, sailing, and trade. They facilitated tribute payments to and from China, built commercial industries and agriculture, and set up payment and trade systems back and forth with Chinese ports. (ref: Minghuiyao Vol. 77).
They were all residents of Shenzhou Hekou (the river mouth) in Fujian (now in the South Park area). The Ming Dynasty rulers made these people good at sailing. Transferred to Okinawa to serve the people of Ryukyu, on the one hand, to improve their sailing skills and trading forays, the 36 Families reversed RyuKyu’s economic backwardness. On the other hand, the 36 Families “changed the culture and customs behind the era, to make the culture and religions of both sources flourish together. (“Zhongshan Shipu” Vol. 3, 44, “Ryukyu Historical Materials Series” “). Since then, the 36 Families who moved from the Shenzhou HeKou have not only become the main role of Ryukyu’s foreign relations activities, they also brought advanced science and culture to Ryukyu, as well as Chinese traditional martial arts.
In the fifteenth year of Emperor Xianzong of the Ming Dynasty (1480), some Ryukyu people went to Fujian for a special assignment to learn martial arts. After five or six years, they returned to Ryukyu (now Okinawa) and combined Fujian Nanquan (Southern Fist) with the Ryukyu masters. The combination of ethnic fighting techniques formed a unique boxing technique called “hand” (transliteration of Te). This was the germination of karate due to the exchanges between China and Ryukyu and cultural exchanges and commercial trade.
Fujian had a variety of fighting styles, especially those from the loyal survivors of the late Ming Dynasty who fled to Okinawa, and strengthened Hua “Te” fighting skills, laying the embryonic form of “ToDe” translated as “Tang Hand”, the meaning of Chinese fighting, to show that they would not forget their roots.
Beginning in 1927, the Ryukyu Education Department organized the “Okinawa Karate Symposium” in Naha to study and develop the issue of “Te”. At the meeting, it was decided to change the “TouDe” (Chinese Hand) to “Karate” (Empty Hand). At that time, due to the environmental relations of the trading ports, the martial arts practice in Shuri, Naha, and Boshou was very popular, and talented people came out in large numbers to study and teach. Among the genres of Ryukyu karate, the most famous are “Shuri-Te” and “Naha-te.” They were created by Itsosu Anko and Higaonna Kanryo respectively. The technical characteristics of these two schools were different and each had its own strengths, but both belonged to the traditional Nanquan Southern Fist faction in Fuzhou, Fujian Province.
2. Karate and the style of Fujian Nanquan
Okinawa’s GoJu style karate belongs to the “Naha Te”, created by the Miyagi Chosun, the young disciple of Higaonna Kanryo. The training methods, movement structure, movement names, style characteristics and technical principles of “Naha Hand” and Fujian Yongchun White Crane Fist. The katas and routines are roughly the same. Analyzing from the training method and movement structure: the rigid-flexible flow routine training requires the “three wars strategy” as the basis, and then gradually developed to the advanced routine.
In addition to standing up and running, Fujian Yongchun White Crane style” is to practice the “three wars strategy”. One of the expressions of the “three wars strategy” were the “three positives”. The first positive emphasizes “head upright, body upright, and horse upright”. The second positive is the “three changes”. Requiring “hand change, body change, step change”. These two statements are indispensable in the training of white crane boxing.
“Three fundamentals” is the training basis of White Crane. As long as you master the “Three-Fundamentals” well, you can talk about the “Three Changes”. Only when you have a good grasp of the “Three Changes” can you change freely in the application and win with your hands. Analyzed from the name of the kata, the Japanese karate’s Superimpai (108″ hands) kata is the same as the wording of Fujian White Crane’s 108 hands kata.
A few years ago, when the Japanese karate delegation visited Fuzhou, they also brought “White Crane Kata Sheet”. They said: “My ancestors were trained according to this kata sheet and passed down from generation to generation.” “White Crane Boxing Book” was the manuscript passed down from Fujian, and it is the same as the book of boxing kept by Fujian’s elderly martial artists. .
Analyzed from the style characteristics and technical principles: The rigid-flexible flow routine style requires a strong launch, a steady footwork, and the breathing and luck of the “Three Wars Strategy”. Trained into strong, rigid and flexible muscles and bones. The Fuzhou White Crane fist strike is a “stroke of muscles and bones in a string of energy”, the two are the same, and they are just like the GoJu Ryu “single (double) fingering gun fingering” attack method is jab, and the most vicious is eye jab. It is the same as the “Golden Gunner” technique of White Crane Boxing; the technique of “Wind Eye Boxing” punches and drills specifically to hit the opponent’s acupoints, the eyebrows and the throat are centered, and the single chicken boxing in Minghe Boxing ( He Fengyan) has the same technique; the palm technique of the “hand knife” specializes in cutting the opponent’s neck, back, and intercostal space.
- The creator of karate, GoJu Ryu was in Fujian
On May 23, 1987, the Japanese Okinawa GoJu Ryu Karate ancestor-seeking group came to Fuzhou City, Fujian Province to find roots and visit their ancestors, looking for the generous Chinese master of Higaonna Kanryo. Under the responsibility of Comrade Lin Weigong, the editorial board of local chronicles, they cooperated with the Fujian provincial military.
During the investigation period, an extensive investigation was carried out on all the more famous masters in Fuzhou, and finally Xie Ruru, the first generation master of the Fujian “Minghe Clicking Crane Boxing”, was identified as the generous master of Higaonna Kanryo. Chief researcher Lin Weigong said in the summary: Higaonna’s teacher’s real name should be Ruru, surname Xie, clan character Zongxiang, born on July 31, 1852 (June 15, Qing Dynasty Xianfeng second year) in Daibian Village, Zhanxiang Township, Changle County.
At the age of 13, Xie Zongxiang (RuRu) moved to Fuzhou with his father Xie Zunzhi because of a fire at his home at the age of 13, and he also studied with his father’s friend Pan Yu to practice boxing. At the age of 23, Xie RuRu was exquisite in martial arts and became famous. . Ruru inherited Pan Yuba’s crane fist, combined with her own characteristics to consider a set of rigid and soft techniques, and created a fist that emphasizes the “three wars”. With the sound of clucking like a crane, it was named “Minghe Fist”. Xie RuRu became ” The master of Minghe Fist.
On September 16, 1989, relevant experts once again gave a further argument on whether Xie Ruru (ZongXiang) was indeed the Chinese martial arts master of Higaonna Kanryo, the originator of Japanese Okinawan GoJu Ryu., learned in Fuzhou.
And on June 9, 1990, in the southwest corner of the Fuzhou New Sports Center, a solemn black marble “revealing monument” stood A memorial to the great amount of Chinese master Xie Zongxiang (Xie RuRu). This is a clear proof of the influence of the traditional Chinese and Japanese martial arts circles.
(Translators’ note: the name LuLu Ko ルールーコ often attributed to Higaonna’s Chinese master is an honorific title: LuLu is his name. Ko means “big brother” an honorific title.)
4. The origin of Uechi Ryu Karate in Fuzhou
The style of another Japanese genre Uechi Ryu Karate-do is similar to the tiger-shaped boxing style passed by Master. Zhou Zihe of Fuzhou. Its hand shape, technique, step shape, footwork, lvocalization, and forceful methods all maintain tiger-shaped boxing characteristics.
On March 29, 1981, an Okinawa martial arts delegation headed by Takahikari Yuki visited Fuzhou and asked for help in finding the origin of Uechi-Ryu Karate-do with origins from the Chinese master Mr. Zhou Zihe.
The Fujian Provincial Wushu Association commissioned Mr. Wei Qiqi to organize an investigation. The results found that: Mr. Zhou Zihe was born in 1874 in Zhiri Village, Nanyu, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province. He was a master of martial arts since he was a child. , Good at iron sand palm, specializing in hard work. Later, he traveled to and from Fuzhou City and often set up a pavilion to teach apprentices at the Gulou Marshal Temple. In 1897, the Japanese student Uechi Kanbun came to Fuzhou to learn martial arts with Mr. Zhou Zihe, and returned to Japan 13 years later.
In order to promote the popularization of Japanese martial arts, combined with the characteristics of Okinawa, Master Uechi created the Uechi Ryu Karate-do style.
In 1985, relevant experts from Fujian Province sent the book “Tiger Shape Boxing” passed down by Mr. Zhou Zihe to the Uechi-Ryu Karate-do Headquarters. They happily said: “In the past, the Uechi Ryu karate-do headquarters participated in all-Japan competitions under the banner of Zhou Zihe, but they didn’t see their true colors. They were dubious. Now the first page of the book is a portrait of our ancestors. It’s really amazing.” “Crouching Tiger Heroes” recorded by Fujian Audiovisual Publishing House in 1990 is the testimony of preaching a generation of tiger-shaped boxing master Zhou Zihe to teach Okinawan martial artists..
In recent years, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province has had frequent exchanges with Okinawa martial arts circles in Japan. So far, Fuzhou City has also built the “Naha Friendship History Exhibition Hall, Ryukyu Hall” and so on. In June 1995, in order to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the “Revealing Monument”, a Japanese Martial Arts delegation of more than 50 people came to hold a martial arts conference with the martial arts community in Fujian Province. The mutual exchanges between the two countries are of great benefit to martial arts becoming an Olympic event as soon as possible!