The patron saint of Goju Ryu
The Busaganashi is a martial arts lesser Taoist deity (kami) venerated by many Goju Ryu practitioners in Okinawa.
According to Miyazato Sensei of the Jundokan, Miyagi Chojun (as a Shinto) venerated the Busaganashi Kami every day. However, in the Okinawan air raid during world war two, Miyagi’s picture of the Busaganashi (which he acquired inChinaduring his travels) was destroyed along with many other possessions.
Reportedly, sensing his teachers sadness, one of his students, who had previously made a sketch of the Busaganashi, journeyed to thePhilippinesto have a three dimensional statue made of the Busaganashi. The student then presented the statue to Miyagi. Apparently, the gesture was so overwhelming that it brought the karate master to tears.
The statue now rests in the Jundokan Dojo inOkinawaand is pictured to the left.
But what are the origins and legends surrounding this lesser deity or Saint? The Busaganashi is found in the Bubishi which is the most influential martial arts book inOkinawa. The Bubishi is a Ching (1644-1911) dynasty White Crane and Lohan Kung-Fu manual. Busaganashi means “my dear respected kung-fu warrior” but the formal name of the deity is the: “Grand Marshall of Wind and Fire.” In Chinese the name is Yuen Sam Tan Doh.
The Busaganashi is the local Fujianese and Taiwanese god of business, art, music and wealth. He is worshipped in martial arts schools and amongst musicians and especially Chinese Opera performers.
During the Ching empire when Martial Artists were outlawed because of political unrest, many of the Martial Artists hid in the Chinese Opera troops. In Chinese Opera there is always the figure of a bearded warrior, and martial arts plays an important role on the stage. Because of the close relationship between opera, music and art in general and Kung-Fu, the Busaganashi became the patron saint of Martial Artists and martial arts schools (Guan) inFujian.
This deity is particularly found in shrines in White Crane or Five Ancestors Kung-Fu schools. Pictures of Busaganashi are also found in restaurants, businesses, and market places.
The Okinawan Busaganashi Legend
In ancientChinaa young girl gave birth to a baby boy. With no father to take care of him the family decided to abandon the child in a bamboo forest. But after some time the family had a change of heart. When they returned to collect the child they found that the child was being protected by the trees themselves. Seeing this as a sign they decided to take care of the child as well as they could. The child grew up to be very intelligent and although from a lower class, he was able to come in third at the yearly Mandarin aptitude tests. This gave him the opportunity to join the military where he acquired his martial arts skills and excelled.
One day, a tower caught on fire and risked spreading to the rest of the city. Seeing this the Busaganashi used his dynamic martial arts breathing to put out the fire with a simple exhale. By doing this he saved the city and was given his title as the “Marshallof Wind and Fire” and honored by all.