Uechi Ryu or Uechi school was created by okinawan Kanbun Uechi (1877-1948) from Motobu (north of Okinawa islands).
Kanbun was the first son of a samurai family who decided to become farmers.
In 1897, in his early twenties Kanbun left his family and Okinawa to avoid japanese army conscription .
He studied Chinese Pangai-Noon (半硬軟) in the region of Fujian. shu Shiwa moine taoiste et spécialiste de la boxe chinoise .
Pangai noon which means “half-hard, half-soft” .
It was a Kung Fu school based on three animals (Tiger, Dragon & White Crane) leading to the complementarity of Shaolin Kempo strength and Eishun Ken flexibility .
Kanbun stayed 13 years in China and taught Pangai Noon during his last three years in China (Huge privilege for a foreigner).
In 1910, Kanbun went back to Okinawa and espite lot of demands he refused to teach his art. Indeed, on of his former students killed a man during a fight. Kanbun fekt very affected by this story and lived it as a personal drama.
In 1924, for economical reasons, Kanbun moved to Wakayama (Japan). Two years later he was finally convinced by close friends to teach his martial art. He named his art Pangainoon Karate Jutsu.
In 1927, his sixteen years old son Kanei started to study Pangai Noon Karate Jutsu with his father and then become a teacher.
Kanei changed Pangai-Noon Karate Jutsu name to Uechi Ryu Karate Jutsu (Empty Hand Technic Uechi School) to pay tribute to his father.
In 1942, Kanei went back to Okinawa and started to teach his family style in Nago (northern island).
In 1957, Uechi Ryu Karate Jutsu became Uechi Ryu Karate-Do (Empty Hand Way, Uechi School).
Kanei Uechi dedicated his life to develop his style by creating basic technics (Hojo-Undo) , Katas, Kata applications (Bunkai)
His father Kanbun became president of Okinawan Karate-Do Federation and worked to the growth of his art.
Uechi family nowaday continues to work for the growth of their style.
Kanei had a son Kanmei who died in 2015.
Current Soke is Kansho Uechi (born in 1971).
Uechi Ryu in the World
In 1947 a young American serviceman (G.Mattson) was taught Karate by Ryuko Tomoyose.
He was the first foreigner to be balck bet graduated by Okinawan Federation in May 1958.
Before his return to USA, George promised to populate Uechi Style.
In 1958, a first Uechi-Ryu Dojo was open in Boston.
George published the first book about Karate (the way of Karate -1963) and dedicated his life to Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do.
In the 80s, he founded the IUKF (International Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do) and built strong links with Okinawa.
George Sensei is now 80 years old and still very fit and active.
He now teachs in Mount Dora (near Miami www.mountdorakarate.com) and developped an on line training program (www.athomekarate.com)
In Europe , Uechi-Ryu style has been introduced in 1986 by Yukinobu Shimabukuro.
This former student of de Seiko Toyama is teaching in France (Paris area) and is travelling to visit European Uechi Dojos . He is now 9th dan and he is the Soke representant in Europe .
Yukinobu Shimabukuro is orgainising in June the yearly Uechi Ryu French Cup (kumite & kata).
In 2010, he wrote the only book in French about Uechi-Ryu « Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do – Histoire et Kata » . This book is very complete and a reference for all French students (katas are very well explained & described.
Shimabukuro Sensei is the technical referent of European Uechi Ryu Federation (www.uechiryu-europe.org)