Master Kanbun Uechi

Master Kanei Uechi

I've taken the liberty to give an overview of Uechi-Ryu Karate in two brief parts; History & Practice

1. The History

Much has been written and there have been some in-depth studies and investigations into
the origins of Uechi-Ryu Karate and because of Master Kanbun Uechi, this can be divided 
into two periods; before and after 1897 (the start of Kanbun's training).  

Before 1897
Towards the end of the last century, China was in political turmoil with the Manchurian government 
challenged by the citizens, often lead by people with martial arts training.  The government replied and 
many temples (thought to be the centres for the martial arts) were destroyed.  

An Okinawan Koho Kojo taught at the Kugusku School in China where Kanbun Uechi is thought 
to have trained initially before studying a Chuan fa style.  It seems that there were two names 
used to describe the martial arts at that time, Kung fu and Chuan fa.  Kanbun Uechi later 
trained with the master Chou-tzu-ho in the Fukien province of China from 1897 to 1910.  
The style was described as Pwangainoon (meaning half hard-half soft)

After 1897
Kanbun Uechi opened a dojo in Nansoue (China) where he taught for three years before returning
 to Okinawa.  Kanbun did not initially teach karate but had it 'teased' out of him by friends 
who came to know of his expertise.  He was eventually coaxed into teaching in the 
late twenties and did so until 1947.

Further Reading

You will find web pages for the authors on our Uechi home page - other web sites 
  1. Uechiryu Karate Do - George E.Mattson, Peabody Press.
  2. Secrets of Uechi Ryu Karate, Alan Dollar, Cherokee Publishing isbn 0-9651671-1-9
  3. Allen Moulton has written five books which contain history and other details of Uechi-ryu.

2. The Practice

We have eight kata : Sanchin, Kanshiwa, Konshu, Seichin, Seisan, Seirui, Konchin and Sanseirui.


Karate is a serious pastime and it is therefore extremely important to 
understand how to behave before you start training and to observe some basic rules whilst training.  

Remember the following :
  1. Shoes are removed before entering the training area.
  2. Talking is kept to a minimum and instructions are followed quickly.
  3. Ensure that you, your finger and toe nails and clothes are clean.
  4. In the dojo, the instructor is called SENSEI.
  5. We bow before and after exercising with each other.
  6. Be aware of others capabilities.

Training in a class

In the UK, classes start with a ceremonial bow, hands and head to the floor followed by two claps and a 
further similar bow.

We have a set of warm-up exercises which are performed formally at the start every class, 
they start at the feet and work up the body to the head.
  1. heel pivots - knee straight.
  2. heel lifts - twisting the hip out.
  3. knee bend, rotation and push back - changing direction of rotation.
  4. ankle and knee rotation - 4 clockwise and 4 anticlockwise.
  5. knee lift, extend leg, point toes and turn-out, return - alternate legs.
  6. leg lifts - front and at 45* across the body.
  7. scoops and twists - change direction of rotation each time.
  8. spread legs, from 1 leg, across to the other, back again and continue around the back to the other leg, bend three times and repeat in other direction.
  9. arm thrusts shoulder height, to the side and waist height.
  10. neck exercises - head back, forward and circle head, changing direction.

First Kata is SANCHIN

3 concepts which are not clearly defined, but may be thought of as spirit, strength, and 
fluidity (until you know better ?).  It is an exercise to develop stance (footwork), posture 
(body positioning), turns, blocks, strikes, speed and ease of movement.  This simplest of the 
kata in terms of number and variety of moves, is the essence of the style and is performed at 
least three times during a class, softly and slowly for perfection, then medium pace as a 
step towards the last one which is as strong and as fast as the instructor asks for. 

The photgraph on this page shows Master Kanei Uechi in a stance delivering double boshiken 
(one of three) strikes at the end of the Sanchin kata.