Uechi Ryu Karate Do Australia
www.uechi-ryu.com.au - members of Okinawa Uechi Ryu Karate Do Kyokai
History of Uechi Ryu Karate Do
Kanbun Uechi studied Pangai-noon (half-hard, half-soft) Kung Fu under Shushiwa in the Fujian (a.k.a. Fukien) province of mainland China in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After 10 years of study under Shushiwa, Kanbun Uechi opened his own school in Nanjing province. Two years later, Kanbun Uechi returned to Okinawa, resolved never to teach again because one of his Chinese students had killed a neighbour with an open-hand technique in a dispute over land irrigation. It was while working as a janitor that he was persuaded by a co-worker, Ryuyu Tomoyose, to teach again after Uechi was first convinced to show Tomoyose ways of defending against different attacks. His confidence as a teacher restored, Uechi, with the help of Ryuyu Tomoyose, moved to Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture, where in 1925 he established the Institute of Pangainun-ryū (half-hard and soft) Todi-jutsu, and opened a dojo to the public. His Okinawan students eventually renamed the system in 1940 to “Uechi Ryū.” Kanbun Uechi’s son, Kanei Uechi, taught the style at the Futenma City Dojo, Okinawa, and was considered the first Okinawan to sanction the teaching to foreigners. One of Kanei’s senior students, Ryuko Tomoyose, taught a young American serviceman named George Mattson, formerly of Boston and now residing in Florida, who authored several books on the subject and is largely responsible for popularizing the style in America. Uechi Ryū emphasizes toughness of the body with quick hand and foot strikes. Several of the more distinctive weapons of Uechi practitioners are the one-knuckle punch (shoken), spearhand (nukite), and the toe kick (shomen geri). Because of this emphasis on simplicity, stability, and a combination of linear and circular motions, proponents claim that the style is more practical for self-defense than most other martial arts. In contrast to the more linear styles of karate based on Okinawan Shuri-te or Tomari-te, Uechi Ryū’s connection to Chinese Nanpa Shorin-ken means it shares a similar foundation to Naha-Te (and thus Goju-ryu) despite their separate development. Thus, Uechi Ryū is also heavily influenced by the circular movements inherent in kung fu from Fujian province. Uechi Ryū is principally based on the movements of 3 animals: the Tiger, Dragon, and Crane.
A Brief History of Okinawa
On the world stage, the three major things which Okinawa points to with pride are karate, nature and longevity. Flrst appearing in the 14th century, karate has been part of Okinawa’s distinct cultural heritage of martial arts for more than six hundred years. The expansive crystal clear ocean and deep blue skies provide the backdrop for Okinawa’s incredibly lush natural environment. Amidst these exquisite natural surroundings reside people with the world’s longest life spans. Okinawa prospered in the past as the center of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus. The 13th century witnessed the rise of more than one hundred local lords known as aji . The aji constructed small castles called gusuku , and fought each other for local supremacy during what is now called the Gusuku era. By the 14th century these local chiefdoms were consolidated into three kingdoms: Chuzan in the central part of the island, Hokuzan in the north and Nanzan in the south. The suffix -zan is written with the character for mountain but in Chinese the meaning ls actually closer to ”island” or ”country.” In the 15th century (1416), the Ryukyus were unified under King Sho Hashi of Chuzan ending the era of the three warring kingdoms. In 1372, thirty-eight years prior to unification, King Satto of the Chuzan Kingdom was granted official recognition by the Chinese Ming Emperor, initiating an era of prosperous trade relations with China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. However, ln 1606 the Ryukyus were invaded and defeated by soldiers from the Satsuma Clan in Kyushu, marking the beginning of the period of dual tributary relationships with China and Satsuma. In 1871, four years after the Meiji Restoration the Japanese government decided to annex the Ryukyus, and eight years later, in 1879, the Kingdom of the Ryukyus be- came Okinawa Prefecture. Over the subsequent sixty-six years, the Japanese government became increasingly militaristic, culminating in 1945 in the unprecedented destruction of the island in the tragic Battle of Okinawa Throughout the various eras of its history, Okinawa has been buffeted by more powerful foreign neighbors, but it has always maintained its own distinct identity. In the more than sixty years which have now passed since the end of World War II , Okinawa has been blessed with an era of peace and increasing prosperity.
Members of NSWKF and AKF
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