Master Sokon Matsumura is a very important figure in the history of the fighting art of Okinawa. He was born in 1809 and died in 1899 (these dates vary according to sources …).
Born into a noble family of Okinawa, he was initiated and trained in the martial arts which lead him to be appointed at the age of 20 as a guard at the palace of the Prince of Shuri.
As part of his palace duties, Sokon Matsumura met with a dignitary of the Japanese Satsuma clan, which dominated the archipelago of Ryukyu at the time, and he got a special permission to learn the sword art of the clan called Jigen-ryu. Master Matsumura eventually went to the Satsuma clan home in Kyushu to further his studies of the art of the sword of this school.
In 1836, Matsumura Sokon went to China in Beijing as a member of the group carrying the king of Ryukyu tribute to the Emperor of China. While living in Beijing Master Matsumura studied Chinese martial arts, most likely xing yi chuan, with Master Wei Bo (pronounced Iwa in the dialect of Okinawa). He returned to Okinawa in 1837 to pursue his guard duties to the king.
Master Matsumura Sokon continuously deepened and further synthesized his practice of the martial art through exchanges with local enthusiasts as well as with Chinese travelers in Okinawa. He is known particularly for his high expertise in handling the wooden staff. His accomplishments as a martial artist became legendary!