Uechi Ryu Karate Do.
In the early 1920s, like so many Okinawans seeking a better life, Kanbun Uechi had moved to mainland Japan and was domiciled in Tebira Township, in Wakayama Prefecture, where he worked 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 upon the Okinawan community, and he became a civic leader as a result. Returning with his family to Okinawa after WWII, with his son Kanei assisted by senior students Saburo Uehara and Ryuryu Tomoyose, they built a powerful organization based on his father’s style of karate at that time called Pangai Noon, with the assistance of Ryuryu Tomoyose and Saburo Uehara. One of Uehara Sensei’s most famous students was Shinyu Gushi Sensei who appears in the photos on this page.
Following the death of Kanbun Uechi, it became the practice of his students to refer to their style as ‘Uchi Ryu” in memory of their founder.
While Uechi Ryu Karate Do has clearly has been influenced by Chinese martial arts, it is not readily identifiable as one style or another. While many people believe that his training in Tiger Boxing under Shu Shi Wa was the foundation of the art, 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 efficacious of Okinawan unarmed fighting methods that is as effective for competition as it is for self defense.
Uechi Ryu Karate Do enthusiasts are well-known for the severe body condition they undergo and the ability to break hard objects as a result. The ability to take heavy blows without apparent effect, makes them formidable opponents. Their striking techniques with the single knuckle fist and kicking techniques in which a well condition big toe is used to violently strike the opponent’s groin, demand respect!
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