Shimpo Matayoshi 眞豊又吉, the son of Shinko Matayoshi 眞光又吉, was born on 27 December 1921 in Yomitan Village in the Kina District, Okinawa, Japan. The young Shimpo was introduced to the martial arts at the young age of six years old. The elder Shinko introduced his son to not only Kobu-Do but eventually also to Kingai Ryu Karate-Do, a White Crane style. His father also introduced him to Hakaku Kempo through the teaching of Gokenki Sensei. Although Shimpo Matayoshi studied with Chotoku Kyan and a variety of other teachers over the years he remained loyal to his father as his primary teacher and mentor.
In 1939 Matayoshi Sensei moved from Okinawa to Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture (State equivalent) where he lived for 19 years teaching and training in martial arts. In 1957 Matayoshi Sensei returned to Okinawa where he resumed teaching martial arts predominately Okinawan Kobu-Do. He taught Kobu-Do in mostly Goju Ryu Dojos and mostly the Dojo’s affiliated with Seitoku Higa. Matayoshi’s ultimate goal was to expose and educate Okinawan Kobu-Do to the people of Okinawa when the art was being over-shadowed by Karate-Do. Matayoshi felt it was his duty to teach Okinawan Kobu-Do as part of Okinawan culture. He realized that it would be necessary to open his own Dojo to complete this quest.
In 1960 Shimpo Matayoshi opened his Dojo which he named the Ko Do Kan 光道館 (Enlightened Way Hall). Matayoshi Sensei named his Dojo in honor of his father Shinko Matayoshi by using the Ko 光 character from his father’s name which translates as” light” in the Dojo’s name. The Do 道 character translates as “the way” and the Kan 館 character translates as “building” or “hall.” Once his Dojo was opened he sent out notice throughout Japan inviting martial arts instructors and students to come to his Dojo to train in Okinawan Kobu-Do. He not only wanted to pass down his knowledge of Okinawan Kobu-Do unifying Kobu-Do practitioners under one goal but he also wanted to maintain the traditions that had been passed down by other Kobu-Do Sensei’s from the past.
In 1960 Matayoshi Sensei, in addition to opening the Ko Do Kan Dojo, founded and formed the Ryukyu Kobu-Do Association which was the foundation organization for The All Okinawa Kobu-Do Association (Zen Okinawa Kobu-Do Ren Mei) (AOKA). In 1972 he had the first Embu Taikai 演武大会 (celebration and demonstration of martial arts) which he continued annually. The AOKA was also formed in 1972 and still exist today. The AOKA sought after and received non-profit status, the only martial arts organization ever to do so, from the Japanese Government in 1973. Through this organization Hanshi Matayoshi and its senior members, such as Takashi Kinjo, traveled throughout the world to teach and introduce the Matayoshi style of Okinawa Kobu-Do. Matayoshi Sensei was well known for his use of the Kama (Sickle).
When the U.S.A. returned the control of Okinawa back to the Japanese in 1972 Matayoshi put on a demonstration of Okinawan Kobu-Do in Kagoshima Prefecture. By special invitation he put on a demonstration of his art at the National Athletic Festival in Anami Oshima. In 1974 Shihan Matayoshi demonstrated Okinawan Kobu-Do at the Okinawa International Marine Exhibition, a historical event.
Hanshi Shimpo Matayoshi passed away in Naha, Okinawa, Japan 7 September 1997. His organization, Dojo and legacy live on.