How I found Uechi-ryu
I started studying Uechi-ryu in 2006 when my son, not me, enrolled in a kids class. In my school, the children’s curriculum is more about focusing, listening, coordination and confidence. All of which are taken in small steps and kicks, and are measurable. Not everyone can teach children this and keep their interest going – we were lucky. This is not a “belt factory”
They must really demonstrate knowledge, some history and of course, skill.
I researched many different types of MA styles and schools and made sure to avoid McDojos. I found Uechi-ryu and for the reasons above, chose it. The school is currently run mostly through the Fairfax County Park system with classes at multiple RECenter locations. This helped reassure me that it was respectable.
Parents are encouraged to be in the dojo while the kids are training and actively participate in certain aspects of class and to help ensure their children practice some at home, including performing some of the katas with them.
I began by trying to perform the Sanchin kata with my son. After a few weeks I was hooked. Four years on (minus eight months due to an unrelated back
injury) I have reached the level of 2 Kyu. This is two ranks from a black belt. It is not easy and you just don’t breeze through the rank promotion tests. I have skipped ranks at lower levels but also failed my first 2 Kyu test. Failing it made me re-focus on the “Mind” part of Sanchin and I set a goal of attaining the rank of 1 Kyu in December.
It’s no guarantee, but you have to set a goal, no matter how small, if you want to reach it. Arigato.