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The History Of Uechi-Ryu

Uechi-Ryu is a traditional Okinawan style of karate that originated by Kanbun Uechi in the early 1900s. By blending native Okinawa techniques with a style of Chinese Kung Fu, Kanbun Uechi devised a strong system that emphasizes strong body conditioning; quick, powerful open hand strikes; and pointed toe kicks.

Kanbun's son, Kanei Uechi, followed in his father's footsteps and not only opened the teaching of Uechi-Ryu to the military forces stationed on Okinawa—he also created new material that added to the system of Uechi-Ryu. Some of the signature movements of Uechi-Ryu are circular blocking and linear counter strikes. One prominent weapon is the use of the one-knuckle punch.

Kanbun passed along three katas to his students. These three are referred to as the main katas of the system. Kanei Uechi developed five bridging katas that allow the student to gain more understanding of the main katas. Today, Uechi-Ryu has spread throughout the world and has many different branches—in many different countries.

Kanei Uechi added material taught in this art. He devised a set of preliminary and supplementary exercises to warm up the student and to teach him basic karate skills. He also created five bridging katas, which serves as stepping stones between the three main katas that were taken from Pangai-noon. He also devised several prearranged sparring drills designed to teach the skills needed for freestyle sparring. Kanei Uechi kept teaching in Futenma until he passed away on February 2, 1991.


Uechi-Ryu's Worldwide Influence

The growth of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do can be attributed to Kanei Uechi (1911 - 1991). The worldwide expansion of Uechi-Ryu is seen as a direct result of Kanei Uechi's teaching philosophy. He not only accepted American students, but encouraged them to study other styles as well, so as to increase their understanding of Uechi-Ryu and also Budo in general.

The growth of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do has led to dojos starting in many countries of the world. There are dojos in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the United States. All of this comes from the students that have been taught by Kanei Uechi.