I was asked to post this article by Darin Yee. . . A senior Uechi-ryu practitioner/teacher and Board member of IUKF.
By now, most of you know my position regarding “reality” vs “art” as it relates to running a dojo, but in case you haven’t read any of my books or articles, I believe that the best way to approach teaching Uechi-ryu is to honestly inform your students that we teach the “art” of Uechi-ryu that happens to consist of self-defense techniques, mindset and practice! This statement makes no claims or promises of future ability to defend yourself or guarentees that a student’s training will transfer into competent action when needed.
I teach Uechi-ryu as an art that can be practiced in whatever manner the student desires. What is practiced in the dojo is the development of tools and the reinforcement of those tools use through practice. 100/% of where this training evolves and where it can go is up to the student.
Darin eloquently addresses those teachers who lie to their students about their training and criticize anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their methods. I’ve certainly heard these argument many times in the past and even now listen to pompous Uechi teachers who brag about how tough they are and how their “special” brand of Uechi is so far superior over anyone elses! In the past we simply had to listen to the “talkers” but today there exists ways in which these “talk warriors” can demonstrate their skills and the value of their dojo “real” training.
So. . . all you word warriors who wish to validate your specific brand of Uechi. . . please take Darin up on his offer to place you in a cage where all your warrior skills can be demonstrated to the rest of us. But if you elect not to do this, please don’t spend any more time telling the rest of us how to train or teach.
It has been brought to my attention there are those who feel their Uechi-ryu is the one and only proper and usable Uechi-ryu training in existence. Not only are these improper teachings to your students but a detriment and an insult to all who train or teach.
We who are dedicated martial artist should approach all who train with respect and an open mind. No two persons are exactly the same and their perceptions of their training are in some way different. We are in many circumstances smaller, taller, stronger or faster then the next person. In absolutely no case are we in any way superior to the other because of our strengths or differences.
Any instructor who preaches this to his or her students either lacks self confidence or is beating his own drums too loudly out of sync. Someday their students will learn the truth in a very disappointing manner. Sadly enough, these will be the same instructors who will blame their students rather then themselves.
As I’ve always taught my student we are all connected to the tree of Uechi-ryu rooted in its humble beginnings as Pon Gai Noon. We as sensei are the branches all reaching in a slightly different direction. The many leaves are our students whom we nourish, feed and direct. Together, our tree grows larger and stronger. If we choose to break off and try to root individually, we may perish or if faith should have it, begin a slow growth.
If we are void the virtues of loyalty, respect, honesty and integrity, what are we really teaching our students? Can we truly tell them this is bushido? What happens when our followers learn their leader violated every aspect of virtue they preach? They propagate rules yet they implement them only when certain rules enhance their purpose. They plagiarize and take credit for its origins. They take heroic stories and place themselves as the main characters. They spin situations and tell half truths to create unnecessary drama. Not much difference in the situations at Jonestown and Waco.
In conclusion I would add I will be hosting 5 signed contracts for MMA events at my facility with several thousand spectators. Those who believe their training is far superior through the persuasion of their instructor could make a fair dollar from your unmatched training by contacting me to sign for a fight. I have a few students who will be willing to enter a cage but without that pompous attitude. I’m sure as the owner of the venue I can persuade the promoter to add a couple of fight to his card.