Mar 10 2018

Peter McRae – R.I.P.

The Uechi Ryu Karate Do family lost one of its most significant members on February 26, 2018 with the passing of Master Peter McRae. Peter was eloquently eulogized privately and publicly throughout the course of his wake and funeral. Rather than eulogize, I would like to pay tribute to a life truly well lived.

Peter joined my dojo 47 years ago as a teenager and progressed through the ranks ultimately acheiving his 9th Dan rank in 2013. He founded his dojo in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1972 and provided a positive example for all he touched, in and outside of his dojo.

As Uechi Ryu practitioners, we pause at the threshold of our dojo signifying for the duration of that class our minds will be focused solely upon our practice. At the conclusion, our teacher says “Go Kuro Sama” sometimes translated as “Thank you for doing what was expected of you”. As we exit the dojo we pause again, reclaiming the distractions abandoned on the way in and hoping to have more success in dealing with them.

There is “karate” and there is “karatedo”. Karate is just physical training, “do” means “way” as in way of living. Peter’s way of living extended the principles of his dojo into every facet of his life. In all that he was, husband, father, student, teacher, friend, skier and sailor, Peter did what was expected of him. Truly, he made the world his dojo. 

One of my favorite quotes is, “The reflection of the moon is not the moon” Peter McRae was the real deal, he was the moon.

Go Kuro Sama Peter, rest in peace.

Walter Mattson


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Feb 20 2018

Harry Skeffington – Winterfest Presenter


Notice to Winterfest Participants
Friday’s party will be held at the Copacabana (Between Donnelly & Alexander st. 6PM.
Saturday’s party will be at the 1884 Restaurant in Eustis. 6PM.
Thanks. BTW golf begins at 11am on Thursday. The old course at Mount Dora.

Presenter: Harry Skeffington

Seminar Name:  hojo undō is not a mindless drill 

Description: Last Winterfest, we examined hojo undo as a two-person drill.  We examined using inside blocks as well as the traditional outside blocks.  In this examination, we observed timing and distance variations while training.  This seminar we will add trapping from both inside and outside positions.  This knowledge will enhance both beginner and experienced practitioner of Uechi-Ryu.

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Feb 17 2018

Summerfest Masters’ Celebration – Aug 3rd and 4th

I am very pleased and honored to report that Summerfest is now the official venue for master ranks (6-10 dan) in Uechi-ryu Karate for the Butokukai and IUKF. Summerfest has always been the favorite place to highlight the promotions of senior Uechi-ryu practitioners and now, with the new facilities, the master ranks can be recognized and honored in the manner the recipients deserve.

If you are a 2018 candidate for master ranking and would like to be part of this ceremony, please contact the administrator below:

NOTE: To be included in the 2018 Masters’ Class, being celebrated at Summerfest, you must be registered by May 1, 2018.

George Mattson’s Uechi SummerFest Master’s Testing

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Feb 08 2018

WinterFest 2018 Update


Notice to Winterfest Participants
Friday’s party will be held at the Copacabana (Between Donnelly & Alexander st. 6PM.
Saturday’s party will be at the 1884 Restaurant in Eustis. 6PM.
BTW golf begins at 11am on Thursday. The old course at Mount Dora.

WinterFest – 2018

 2018 Uechi-ryu WinterFest
March 9, 10, 11th, 2018

Note: Canadians will receive a discount! (because of their dollar devaluation)

The on-line application w/payment now available

Print-out application HERE           

(Click Here for Directions)





Friday and Saturday Facility: We have outgrown the indoor space used in previous WinterFests so we have reserved the MLK Hall in Mount Dora for Friday and Saturday.



Friday, , 9AM: – 3PM Uechi-ryu Seminars by Master Instructors. Sensei Mattson will be conducting speed, reflex and power competition utilizing Herman Trainer, throughout the day.

Lunch from 12 – 1PM Served at the facility.

1PM – 3:00PM Uechi kata and drills for adults

3:00PM – 6:00PM – Free time – sightseeing.

6:00PM – 9:00PM – Dinner and music : 1884 Restaurant: (Click Here for directions)


Saturday – WinterFest Seminars 9AM-3PM

Saturday: 9AM-3PM: All day workout. . . Traditional Uechi-ryu, Okinawa traditional weapon training, Grappling, Sport competition, Standup-Jujutsu, Realist “mindset” training and much more. 

Sensei Mattson will be conducting speed, reflex and power competition utilizing Herman Trainer, throughout the day. Lunch from 12 – 1PM Served at the facility.

3PM – 6PM: Free time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Mount Dora

Saturday evening party: 6 PM- 11PM: Party at 1884 Restaurant. Click Link for directions


Sunday facility: Mount Dora Donnelly  Building. (Click Here for Directions)

Sunday: Dan tests, Adult weapons and Uechi seminars. 9AM-11 Noon.
Sunday: 9am– 12 Noon. Junior Class on the patio

Inside, open practice from 1:30PM – 3PM 

Tuition, $150 per person for the 3 days,
children under 14 years old, $35 per day.
Day Pass $75 per day for a Friday or Saturday.
$35 for Sunday.


Presenters: Posted as they are confirmed: George Mattson, Darin Yee, Tim Dando, Patty Dando,  David Berndt, Roy Bedard, John Spencer, George Schriefer, Joe Guidry, Harry Skeffington, Tom Bentley, Dan Del Sonno and Greg Postal.


Kata Bunkai – Most Uechika understand applications of kata only on the most rudimentary level (e.g. ‘turn, block, counterpunch’), practicing kata and self-defense techniques in isolation from one another as if they were completely separate entities. Learning to interpret kata movements in more advanced/sophisticated ways and then drilling those applications with a partner facilitates significantly greater progress in self-defense techniques inherent in the Uechi-Ryu curriculum. After learning and drilling some applications in the seminar, we will move to some general principles of kata bunkai; tools which should allow students to utilize this learning process in future training.

Yakusoku Kumite – Every drill has inherent limitations, often deliberately built in to allow fairly realistic training without serious injury to practitioners. Mistaking these representations for reality, rather than training method can lead to complacency and overconfidence however dispensing with these drills in favor of only jiyu kumite results in an equally flawed practice. Instead, by training kyu or dan kumite while varying distance, timing, speed, etc. one can develop significant improvements in real world self-defense application that static, stilted versions of these drills cannot achieve.

Discussion, training and application of the Bo staff (six foot stick), the Jiffa (hair pin/fastener) which is also known as a Tinaka (small inside hand weapon) and the Jo, as they relate to martial arts training and more specifically to Uechi Ryu training and development. The focus will be on body movement and the development and application of power.

The weapons training complements and supplements good Uechi training by the utilization of the whole body – arms, shoulders, hips, legs, etc.,. Applications of the techniques will demonstrate the interrelationship of weapons and empty hand movements as they relate to the effective execution of Uechi movements. Hopefully, all attendees will leave with a better understanding of the Uechi system and an improved ability to execute their Uechi techniques.

George Schriefer, Joe Guidry and Tom Bentley will be working with the Bo, Jiffa and Jo on Friday and Saturday. I will be teaching a traditional Uechi-ryu class on Friday and Saturday morning from 9-10AM.

This is going to be a fantastic year. Make your plans early to be part of the action. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.


George E. Mattson

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Dec 05 2017

Holiday Wishes

It’s that time of year again where we remember all the good people we have in our common training interest.  I’ve heard many say how elementary our system is when in truth, it is the most diverse system I know and I’ve studied a few.

Straight and hard simplifies it’s intent where the target is determined and your attack is established and directed.  Our system is mostly circular and half soft where your targets and usage can be infinite.  That’s why there are so many differences in opinion regarding how our movements are used.  Circular has so many different points of contact in it’s path.  Hard and soft with a full understanding will allow all participants the usage of every movement in our system.  This is regardless if you are the strongest and the biggest who’ll blast through everything in your path or the smallest where you rely more on skill and technique to achieve your goal. 

The most important thing for us to remember is to respect each other and our ideas.  We are all knowledgeable martial artist who dedicated many years to our study of Uechi-Ryu.  We must be tolerant to the difference we see and hear form our esteem brothers and sisters.  No one person knows everything. 

During this season of peace and good will, let us recognize the enormous effort we’ve all invested in our art and respect the fact that the next person is no less invested.

With that said, I hope you’ve had a bountiful Thanksgiving and wish you the merriest holiday season this year and every year to come.  I wish you good health and prosperity.  Stay healthy and workout to your fullest.  Knowledge is never ending.

Love and Peace to All,

Darin Yee      

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Nov 30 2017

Teaching Tips

Some of my students are looking in my Black Belt Test Guide by Sensei George Mattson and questioning some of the content.  Our discussions were mainly on the section of “time in grade”.  Seems every student and their mothers think their little ninja is an exceptional student.  If not, it’s the sensei’s fault and they will leave and find a sensei who’ll believe their child is exceptional.  Please be informed this applies for adult rank more so then children as according to the guide, real black belts are awarded only to students 16 years of age and over. 

 I see many children wearing black belts and I must admit are very good.  The huge difference is they do not have the strength of an adult and regardless, they do not have the mentality of an adult.  A real black belt is someone with not only the knowledge and the physical abilities but one who has the proper mind set, attitude and control. 

Sensei Mattson listed in the kyu rank section the suggested workout hours required along with the time expected.  However, this was not so clear in the dan (black belt) section.  Therefore, it’s become an issue of discussion and there are many who’ll spin the wording to circumvent the spirit and intention of the guide and rules for self gratification and unwarranted gains.      

My explanation on this subject of “time in grade” is meant for a student to mature in their present rank.  That “time in grade” give that student time to workout and become more familiar with the movements in our system, gain greater strength and acquire an understanding of oneself.  We need to know what our strengths are and understand our personal limitations.  And that changes with age.  

We lose speed but we gain in knowledge.  This can only be realized if we have time spent on a dojo floor working out.  If we past our precious time watching television, playing on our computers or just staying home, we gain nothing.  Yet I see people coming back for promotions simply because they have the “required” time in grade and no evidence of working out.

A dojo must insist on dojo workouts along with that time passed (time in grade) to insure this student has really improved and obtained enough improvements to earn a promotion.

An average student works out twice a week which adds up to 104 workouts a year.  Taking holidays into consideration, I suppose we could accept workouts in the mid 80s plus their “time in grade” to be considered “average”. 

An exceptional student has little to do with their physical abilities but is a student who dedicates more of their time to working out and the understanding of the arts.  Those who commits an “exceptional” time to their study of karate are “exceptional” students.  A student is described as someone who studies not someone who is most physically fit.  You need to study in order to be a student.  The more you study, the more exceptional you are as a student.

I hope all senseis take my suggestions to heart and consider all factors before we promote.  We should not offer promotions to keep a student in our registry.  If we do not control some of the run-a-way promotions, we will hurt ourselves and weaken our entire system.  We must maintain respect by honoring the spirit of our regulations and suggested guides from pioneers and visionaries such as Sensei George Mattson.

These suggestions are already in place.  I am simply adding to the explanation to keep poorer, less honorable students from exploiting our organization.  I want people to view IUKF black belts as respected, quality students.  What would the world think of organizations who passes out promotion once a year regardless of the dedication, commitment, knowledge and maturity that only working out in that “time in grade” can provide us?  There is a lack of Bushido when you try to fool others.  It’s even worst when you fool yourself.  You are the one who’ll always know who you are regardless of the paperwork you’ve convinced other to issue you.

Darin Yee                 

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Nov 19 2017

Hole in 1 today! Can take off my bucket list!

Good day at golf today. . .

  1. Hole in one (160 yards)
  2. #1 in “B” division
  3. Closest to the pin #3 hold
  4. #1 Team competition





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Nov 11 2017

Darin Yee Visits Cuba

Dear Sensei Darin Yee:
I hope that you arrive home well and that everyone is well.
Thank you so much for everything. All my students and I are very grateful.
I can go to seminary with any teacher and I can receive advice from any teacher, but you can sleep peacefully and confidently that MY teacher is you and I will always be waiting for you for your teachings.
I do not consider it just my sensei since it has passed the knowledge barrier. You are my father to me, here you have a son who does not have his blood. Be aware that we are always waiting for you.
God bless you.

Dear Sensei Darin Yee:
Espero que allá llegando bien y que encuentre a todos bien.
Muchas gracias por todo. Todos mis alumnos y yo le estamos muy agradecidos.
Yo puedo pasar seminario con cualquier maestro y puedo recibir consejos de cualquier maestro, pero puede dormir tranquilo y seguro que MI maestro es usted y siempre estaré esperando por usted para sus enseñanzas.
No lo considero mi Sensei ya que ha pasado la barrera del conocimiento. Usted para mi es mi padre, aquí tiene un hijo que no tiene sus sangre. Cuídese que siempre lo estamos esperando.
Dios lo bendiga.


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Oct 03 2017

Teaching tips-Sanchin stepping

While we are teaching this system, our sanchin stepping is our first hurtle.  I feel my students are very well balanced and extremely stable within their fighting positions because of their understanding and usage of the sanchin stance.

First, I explain why our back foot is expected to be straight regardless of how awkward it feels at the moment and why most great fighters (if truth be known) do not fight with their back foot straight.  Those of you who believe you are a great fighter, please have someone take their cell phone with a video camera and ask them to record you sparring.  If you can honestly say you maintained a straight back foot while fighting effectively, you are indeed special. 

I find my back foot straightens as I deliver a strike because that will allow my hips to rotate into position and along with my speed, I can access 100% of my force.  If my back foot is not straight, my body will be restricted full rotation and I will not be able to access 100% of my mass into the force of the punch.  My back foot angled will diminish my rotation and take away some of my mass and much of my speed.

As for the front foot being slightly angled, it is because in a karate match and your average street fight, we do not discuss regulations and ban kicking.  While our front foot is slightly angled, our leg has a tendency to rise center mass when we lift it up to block kicks.  If our front foot is straight, that is how our leg would come up leaving the center opened.  I would suggest angling your front foot if you plan to use it to block kicks.

There are a lot of people who teach the “old heel to toe” method.  I feel this is too technical for beginners and not very accurate.  I believe “heel to toe” is a little shallow and does not provide for enough stability front to back.  Side to side was always shoulder width.  Again, that is a little measured.  How many of us will take the time to look at our stances to insure we standing text book measurement and tolerance. 

I simply teach the fact that we’ve practiced sanchin stepping our entire life.  As we learned to walk since we were less than a year old, we’ve learn to step forward into balance.  I don’t mean those ridiculous giant steps while we are fooling around or speed step when we are in a hurry and stretch our distance out.  I mean just the normal walking steps at a normal pace.  Our body will find our best distance because we’ve been doing it our whole life.

As for side to side, what do we do with that?  Know it or not, as we walk, we are balanced on one leg while we are taking a step.  As we set our forward step, we need to widen to a minimum of shoulder width to maintain stability from side to side.  If we are too wide, our wide stance can hinder and slow down our movements.

So, take normal relaxed steps forward (or backwards) and anchor your front foot at a slight angle feeling full balance side to side as well as front to back without being too wide.

You will see that Uechi-Ryu is one of the best fighting systems you can learn because of the techniques and good habits taught in our katas. 

In future articles, I will discuss in depth the beauty of our training methods and how efficient our system is for attacking or defending.

Darin Yee                  

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Sep 04 2017

Teaching Tips

This article is about the difference between teaching children and adults.  In most dojo children are the primary source of your income.  I realize teaching a children’s class takes a different path than teaching an adult class.  We need to be mindful of who is in front of you and how things can be said and explained. 

While teaching adults, we usually start their journey by teaching balance, foundation, increased flexibility and speed.    Strength will come automatically because the more we work out, the stronger we become.  I sometime encourage some of my students to begin a regimen of weight training where repetition of light weights for body toning takes president over the heavier weight for enhancement of strength.

 An adult usually wants to understand what they are doing, the purpose of their movements and the result to expect from their workout.  Some of the answers I hear from other dojo makes me laugh (to myself of course).  The silliest is “you have not been studying long enough to understand” or “you’ll learn later as you advance.”  If they will not understand, then they should not do whatever it is they don’t understand.  It’s a waste of time and energy.  It’s like telling someone to jump off a 6-story building telling them they’ll know why after they hit the ground.

It is much more beneficial for a student to perform movements knowing why they are doing it and doing it the way you’ve taught them.  Just going through motions does nothing for an intelligent student.  They now have an idea of what they are doing and why.  Every time that movement is performed, your student will see in their mind the expected result.  You will produce a better more proficient practitioner.  Knowing and understanding is the key to everything we teach.

When you have children in your classes, they are there for a few simple reasons.  They want to learn how to beat up people.  Their parent made them go to karate classes.  They have friends in your classes or about to sign up for your classes.  Whatever the case may be, they’re there to have fun.  If a student is frowning without getting accidentally hit, you need to find out what happened.

If a child comes to you for karate classes, you would hope to be able to keep that student until he/she completes high school.  If they stay beyond high school, consider yourself very fortunate.  There are always other sports and activities to consume their time.  Many of them are less expensive than karate classes. 

If you are trying to teach them all the katas, bunkais and kumites before they get to high school, you are doing yourself a colossal injustice.  Most children do not view the black belt as a new beginning.  Space out their promotions and make sure they have not only the knowledge but also the skills before each belt or even a stripe is awarded.  Have your students earn their rank and they will have more pride in their accomplishments. 

I use to have all my students test for their next belt.  This was to prepare them for their black belt test when they will have to perform in front of guest instructors.  I no longer do that now because of the disappointment factor.  In order for my students to advance to their next belt, they need to demonstrate the knowledge and proficiency for the belt that are wearing or the belt they wish to wear.  On the day each student is going to be awarded a new belt, I will post a notice naming the students who will be getting their next belt, there will be special attention on them to verify their dedication and ability.  Even though they have already proved to be deserving, they work out harder at the very least.  

Keep your students engaged and make sure they are having fun. 

Darin Yee

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