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I do appreciate seeing Uechi practitioner Shinjo Kiyohide in aciton.

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Here are a few snapshots of last Thursday evening’s class at the TKRIVA dojo. Doug Bleecker sensei of the Roanoke Okinawan Karate School and several of his students made the trek to join us for an evening of looking at Chinte kata and selected applications. It was very interesting to watch Uechi Ryu practitioners performing a Shorin kata with some rather Goju-esque applications…and the ROKS students can hit HARD- even the younger ones! After getting so much out of my visits to their school, I’m glad that we were able to return the favor. Bleecker sensei’s students are to be commended for their enthusiasm, politeness and hard effort in training.  It was a great evening and we look forward to the next exchange.

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A look at opening passage: shiko dachi/hands in a triangle sequence…

imgp23753Continuation to the next sequence: takedown following a smash to the mastoid process and a healthy cranking of the attacker’s neck.

I came across this article from Bugeisha magazine while looking for a good photographic depiction of Kotekitae, specifically as practiced by Uechi folks.   In this article, Uechi Ryu practitioner George Mattson provides a clear walk through of basic “arm rubbing,” the circular tanren-style arm pounding, a Chinese influenced version, and a composite “sparring” version.

Kotekitae article

As a follow-up to the very thoughtful post on conditioning from the Ikagi blog, below is a link to a very sensible discussion on body conditioning by Uechi Ryu practitioner George Chaplin.

Read it Here

I’d like to extend a very big thank you to the folks at the Roanoke Okinawan Karate School.  I’ve been able to visit  Doug Bleecker sensei and his students from Roanoke and VA Tech a few times this fall/winter to pick their brains about the Uechi Sanchin and Sesan kata, and Uechi Ryu in general. Each time they have welcomed me into their dojo with a friendly attitude and spirited training. Bleecker sensei and a couple of his students attended our November seminar with Robert Miller at Ferrum College  and helped to make it a big success. The open  sharing of ideas and technique has been very valuable to me, and I look forward to more such exchanges.

I feel fortunate to have made a connection with yet another group of  down-to-earth folks who just happen to enjoy whacking on each other- and who don’t let a style blindfold them to the rest of the karate world.

If you’re in the Roanoke Virginia area and you’re interested in authentic Uechi Ryu, or just a good group of people to train with, look them up.

Visit their website here

Some excellent vintage footage of a Uechi Ryu demonstration is up on YouTube, courtesy of Mario McKenna. The film is from a commemorative demonstration on the 25th anniversary of Uechi Kanbun’s death. Uechi Kanei and students show kata, kitae, knife defenses (that are refreshingly rugged) and sparring. Lots of good stuff to be seen. Enjoy!

Start here.

An article about Uechi Kanei was translated and posted by Mario McKenna on his blog:

Uechi Kanei

There are several interesting intersections of historical karate figures in this article. Enjoy!


"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin

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