Early Karate History: To-De
To-De: “Chinese Hand”
In Okinawa, the chinese influence in the development of the Okinawan martial arts led to their martial art, originally only known as “Te” (Hands), to be referred to as To-De, “Chinese Hands”.
Three villages, three styles
Interestingly, in three different villages only few miles apart from each other, three different styles of Te or To-De developed. Naha was a port town south of the river, with an emerging style called Naha-Te. North of the river was Shuri, the ancient capital of Okinawa, which produced Shuri-Te. Further north, another village named Tomari, entertained Tomari-Te, however their style was not further developed and eventually Tomari-Te was assimilated by the more active Naha-Te and Shuri-Te development.
One of the early Okinawan masters, Master Sakugawa, was known by his nickname, To-De Sakugawa. He is credited as being one of the initial importers of Chinese martial arts to Okinawa, in particular to Shuri, where Shuri-Te manifested.