Uechi-Ryu is a traditional Okinawan style of karate originated by Kanbun Uechi in the early 1900ís. 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. Kanbunís son, Kanei Uechi, followed in his fatherís footsteps and not only opened the teaching of Uechi-Ryu to the military forces stationed on Okinawa, but 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 to 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.
THE KATA'S OF UECHI RYU
A kata is a set of pre-arranged karate movements which are designed to develop certain abilities in the karate student. It is from kata that all karate techniques and principles come. There are eight kata in Uechi-Ryu. Sanchin, the most basic kata, develops the mental principles necessary to truly understand Karate. At first glance, Sanchin may appear to be a simple exercise, consisting of basic movements; however it is a form of moving meditation which teaches the student to blend the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. The name Sanchin translates to Three Conflicts or Three Steps. The emphasis of Sanchin is the mental principles, but basic physical principles are taught too. The remaining seven kata's are sometimes called the fighting kata, because they show the self-defense aspects of Uechi-Ryu more clearly than Sanchin. All these advanced movements are derived from the seemingly simple moves of Sanchin.
The learning of these fighting kata means much more than just memorizing the movements and doing them in the same sequence that you were taught, the student must be able to actually use each technique effectively. This learning process cannot be rushed! The student must take the time to study each movement and see how it can be applied not only by itself, but in conjunction with the preceding movement and the following movement. This is quite important simply for the reason that there may not be just one application for each movement. While doing kata, one must try and visualize each technique in an actual circumstance.NAMES OF THE EIGHT KATAS:
The two person routines were introduced in order to teach the student timing, distancing, control, and harmony between you and your partner. It is up to each student to push his partner to improve, but yet at the same time, not to overwhelm a person physically and/or mentally. It is important to force your partner to block and punch strongly, in order to make the pre-arranged exercise as realistic as possible.NAMES AND TYPES OF PRE-ARRANGED EXCERCISES:
|Pre-arranged # 1||Pre-arranged # 2|
|Kicking exercise||Kyu Kumite|
|Dan Kumite||Kata Bunkai|
|Kote Kitai||Jyu Kumite|
The purpose of bunkai is to teach the student the application of kata (Bunkai means application). There are three different kata that have formalized bunkai's, Kanshiwa, Seisan, and Sanseiru.THE PURPOSE OF JUMBI UNDO
(Preliminary Stretching Exercises)
The main purpose of these exercises is to loosen up the muscles before doing the more complex movements. Therefore, the body should be relaxed while performing these exercises. The stretching exercises aid greatly in the development of physical coordination and balance as well as improving posture and agility.
|Ashi saki o gueru undo||Toe raise and turn|
|Kakato o ageru undo||Heel raise|
|Ashi kubi o mawasu undo||Foot & ankle rotation|
|Hiza o mawasu undo||Knee rotation|
|Ashi o mae yoko shita ni nobasu undo||Leg lift & turn|
|Ashi o mae uchi nanameni ageru undo||Straight leg kick|
|Tai o mae ni taosu undo||Waist scoop|
|Koshi no nenten||Trunk rotation|
|Ude o mae yoko shita ni nobasu undo||Double arm thrusts|
|Kubi o mawasu undo||Neck rotations|
THE PURPOSE OF HOJO UNDO
These exercises come from the movements of the katas and serve as a stepping stone for future training. They aid in the development of stamina, physical and mental concentration and coordination, endurance and technical and tactical proficiency.
|Sokuto geri||Side snap kick|
|Shomen geri||Front kick|
|Mawashi tsuki||Hook punch|
|Hajuke uke hiraken tsuki||Rising block, half fist strike|
|Seiken tsuki||Straight punch|
|Shuto, urachi, chudan shoken||Knife hand strike, backfist, one-knuckle strike|
|Hiji tsuki||Elbow strikes|
|Tenshin zen soku geri||Moving kicks, front leg|
|Tenshin kosuko geri||Moving kicks, rear leg|
|Shomen hajiki||Eye strikes|
|Koi no shippo uchi tate uchi||Wrist blocks|
|Koi no shippo uchi yoko uchi||Fishtail blocks|
|Shin kyo kyu||Deep breathing exercises|
(Both Jumbi Undo and Hojo Undo are typically done at the beginning of every training session.)
Uechi Kanei 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 kata taken from Pangai-noon. He also devised several pre-arranged sparring drills designed to teach the skills needed for free style sparring. Uechi Kanei kept teaching in Futenma until he passed away on February 2, 1991.
The growth of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do can be attributed to Uechi Kanei (1911-1991). The world wide expansion of Uechi Ryu is seen as a direct result of Uechi Kanei'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 from the students that have been taught by Uechi Kanei.