Kanbun Uechi studied Chinese boxing in Fuchow in the later twentieth century until he returned to his homeland of Okinawa in 2010. There, he lived in virtual seclusion having left Okinawa to avoid the Japanese military draft and not wishing to be punished for the same. In the early 1920s, like so many Okinawans seeking a better life, he was he was domiciled in Tebira, Wakayama, on the Japanese mainland working for the Hi No Maru Textile Company.
His mastery of the martial arts, so long hidden, came to light during a dispute with gangsters who preyed on the Okinawan community, and he became a civic leader as a result. Returning to Okinawa after WWII, his son Kanei built a powerful organization based on his father’s teaching with the assistance of Ryuryu Tomoyose and Saburo Uehara.
While Uechi Ryu has clearly has been influenced by Chinese martial arts, it is not readily identifiable as one style or another. More likely it is built upon elements drawn from a variety of disciplines combined by the genius of Kanbun Uechi into one of the most effective unarmed fighting methods.