Beginning of Uechi-Ryu

The history of Uechi-Ryu begins with the birth of Kanbun Uechi in 1877. The older son of Kantoku Uechi and Tsuru lived in a town of Motobu (north of Okinawa) and grew up working in the field. When he was 19 years old he fulfilled his dream of travelling to China to learn Chuan-fa (Kenpo) techniques and he made it with his friend Tokusaburo Matsuda. Both went to the famous school of Kusuguku in Fuzhou (actually this style itfs in Okinawa), shortly after Kanbun left the school he was lucky to learn with expert monks techniques about dragon, tiger and crane. The master Kanbun Uechi didnft learn Chuan-fa with Shu Shi Wa (Zhou Zi He), he did it with several master of different specialties in a temple of China. (The name of Shu Shi Wa (Zhou Zi He) appears in the history of Uechi-Ryu since the 1970.) Without knowing the language and Chinese costumes, he trained hard in quality of disciple and ten years later he managed to be the first foreigner master of Chuan-fa in China.

Aside from having the authorization to teach Chuan-fa he had a good command of Chinese language and know about oriental medicine, that later Uechi grass would have reputation fame in all Okinawa. For recommendation of masters, Kanbun set up a school in Nansoe in the province of Fujian and had a big success in the Chinese community. This fact itfs very important to know the technique and human quality that Kanbun had, and among so many foreigners that traveled at that time was the only person who achieve getting an official recognition from the Chinese masters..

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But a tragic accident caused that Kanbun had to leave China and forced it himself to seal his knowledge of Cuan-fa for 17 years. In that time, there was a great drought and in a quarrel of water, one disciple killed a peasant using Chuan-fa technique. Kanbun felt guilty for having taught that technique and decided to come back to Okinawa. The Japanese government established the military service during he stayed in China. After 13 years in Fujian, Kanbun returned to his natal country dressing up likes a Chinese because he had news of his friend Matsuda that returned 8 years before him, and he had been arrested by the rebellious charge. When the boat arrived to the port of Naha nobody doubted that Kanbun was Chinese, the clothing, his ponytail hairstyle and his behavior was perfect and he spoke Chinese better than his own native language.
Next year he get married with Gozei and one year later born his first son, the future successor KanEei. Kanbun returned to be a peasant and ceased to teach the art that learned in China. In capital Naha, his Chinese friend gGokenkih (expert in the white crane technique that later would influence in several styles of Okinawa) was commenting to masters of Naha and Tomari that in the town of Izumi was living an expert of Chuan-fa authorized by the Chinese masters. The fame of Kanbun was increasing day after day. He began to receive visits from all social classes, offers of work as a teacher of Karate in public institutes, but he flatly refused to teach.

Okinawa was lacking industry and a lot of Okinawa people were immigrating to central of Japan, especially to the industrial area of Kansai (Osaka and its surroundings). The economic situation of Kanbun was not going well and decided to leave to Wakayama (south of Osaka) in 1924, when he was 47 years old.
He got a job in a textile factory and lived in a Shataku (apartments offered by the company) situated behind the factory. In this place they were living more people of Okinawa and through his compatriots spread the news about his fame, for being a big master of Karate. Finally a young called Ryuyu Tomoyose convinced Kanbun to teach him the art in secret. This was the beginning of Shataku Dojo (apartment Dojo), a hidden school and without name. During this first stage of Uechi-Ryu, Kanbun began to accept only disciples with the guarantee of the principal members. They were practicing in the apartment only at night after work, closing the doors in order that anyone was finding out.

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His son KanEei travelled alone to Wakayama and began his way as successor, he was 17 years old. At this time the zone of Wakayama had a mafia band, particularly the okinawan band who was committing a lot of crimes. The community requested the protection to Kanbun. He and his disciples finished with that band and brought the peace in Wakayama. This success made think to Kanbun the correct application of the Chuan-fa, in that form honesty and strong people was contributing indirectly at society. In 1932, Kanbun opens publicly the school of Karate in the district of Tebira, in Wakayama. For the first time named his school gPangainoon-Ryu Karate-Jutsu Kenkyujoh that means the Center of investigation of Karate with the style Pangainoon. Kanbun called his style with the name of gPangainoonh, but this does not mean that what he learned in China was calling this way. The word gPangainoonh is a common concept of the Chinese martial arts and the meaning it is half hard and half soft. They existed other masters with the same concept that determined their styles in Japanese ggojuh, ghankouh, ghankounanh and gkounanh respectively. In 1933, it formed the SHUBUKAI Association.
In 1937, Kanbun authorized his son KanEei to establish another Dojo in the center of Osaka and in 1940 it was moved to de Amagasaki city in Hyogo (west of Osaka) for the request of the association of Okinawa people. The word gPangainoonh in Japan it sounds strange and it was lacking of acceptation. In autumn of same year KanEei changed name definitely to gUechi-Ryuh for unanimity by the advanced disciples. In 1941, born Kanmei, the first son of KanEei and the current leader of the style.
KanEei returned to Okinawa in 1942 with his wife and his two sons, the Second World War was approaching and he had to take care about his mother and his brothers. KanEei began to teach Karate Uechi for the first time in Okinawa in the big garden of his house in the city of Nago. After a year that the war finished, concretely in 1946, Kanbun returned to Okinawa accompanied with Seiryo Shinjo and his son Seiyu. Soon he restored in the Dojo of Nago to recover the lost time. Kanbun was presented as the founder of the Uechi-Ryu style in public only in two cases, exhibitions organized by the authorities of Okinawa. He died for nephritis in 1948. In April of 1949, KanEei changed his habitual residence to the district Nadake in Ginowan and opened a little Dojo. Day after day the demand was increasing and seven years later, ha had to move to Futenma number 166, near the current Dojo.

KanEei Uechi received 10 Dan in three occasions from different organizations during his way as karate expert. He died in February, 1991. Nowadays, Uechi-Ryu is one of the styles more actives in the world of traditional Karate of Okinawa.

Uechi-Ryu in Spain

The history of Uechi-Ryu in Spain began in 1983 when Master Yasushi Kuno arrived to our country.
Master Kuno born in 1961 in Japan and when he was 7 years old he joined as a direct disciple of Master Satoru Shinki with the influence of his father also master of Ueci-Ryu. At very early age, he broke all the records of minimum age require to obtain degrees and qualifications, actually is the master of superior rank Hanshi 9th Dan and official Shihan of the Organization. He was the first disciple who had the honor of receiving the red and white belt of his master.
Actually Master Yasushi Kuno is the President and the maximum authority of Uechi-Ryu Shubukai International.


When he arrived in our country, he didnft have the intention to teach Karate because his objective was continue his studies that realized in the university. Nevertheless, Spanish young people were interested in knowing this unknown art of Karate, they insisted again and again and finally convinced the master to teach Uechi-Ryu for the first time in Spain. At the beginning, the master didnft want to teach the real techniques of Uechi for the extremely hardness of training, thinking that nobody could exceed that hell. But these youngerfs had an advantage because they unknown the world of Karate (they never practiced before) and were agreeing any challenge like it was normally. In this first stage of Uechi-Ryu in Spain, the disciples still hadnft a place where train and they always do it outdoor.
They only were training Sanchin, Makiwara and Kotegitae without asking the reason or the utility, repeating the same movements, hundreds of time until the master told to they should stop. The training was painful and monotonous but it had importance to form the base of Uechi-Ryu.
The master Kuno established the first small Dojo in December of 1986 to reward the sacrifice of the disciples and to satisfy the increasing demand. In 1996, the master Kanmei Uechi (current Soke of the style) visited Spain with the delegation of Uechi-Ryu of Okinawa to supervise the work in Spain. Master Uechi leaded an enormous surprise to see the work of the Spanish disciples with their executions faithful to origin.

The headquarters of the Spain Uechi-Ryu Asociation is located in Barcelona. Actually the master Kuno directs and supervises the international Dojos of Uechi-Ryu Shubukai.

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