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Apr 19 2013

May 11 Workout Big Success

1960s Boston Workout

1960s Boston Workout

Our May 11th “regional workout” like the previous 2 was a huge success.  Our number of attendees were 50 plus.  They came from all of the surrounding states and traveled as far as 3 to 4 hours to honor us with their participation.

Sensei Gary Wong 8th dan and I were both part of the competition team from the Boston Mattson Academy back in the early “70s” who had much success in national and international tournaments.  Our workout this time around was some of the simple Uechi techniques which we’ve trained and used in our winning fighting style.  I added some of the effective take downs from our Uechi-Ryu movements.

Looking back, that was over 40 years ago.  Sensei Gary Wong and I are just overjoyed to have the opportunity to pass on some of the experience and knowledge we’ve accumulated these 40 plus years in diligent, open minded martial arts training.

Our next regional workout will be in Plymouth, NH hosted by sensei Christian Maine.  Christian sensei is one of the new, up and coming stars in Uechi-Ryu.  He is open minded and has worked out with numerous Uechi organizations while developing a friendship with all that he’s come in contact with.  To me, Christian Maine leads by example the true road of Bushido.

Please keep in touch with me and I will announce Christian’s workout plans as soon as I receive them.  This workout will be held in New Hampshire which is beautiful during the summer season.  Plan to spend a little time there before or after the workout as I’m sure you will love the scenic area.  My students and I are going to plan this as a min vacation/road trip and get a great workout also. Hope to see all of you soon.

A special thanks goes to Barry Chu, John Hwee, Harry Skeffington and friends from Boston Chinatown whom I have not seen or worked out with in a long time since I’ve open my Plymouth dojo.  It was wonderful to have this opportunity to work out with them again.

 

Darin Yee


 

 

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Apr 16 2013

Boston Chinatown Celebration

china-banquet-2913

This is just a quick note to thank you for joining me for the annual kung fu dinner in Boston.  This was always a great reason for Uechi people to get together for festivities outside of a workout.  We get to join the largest martial arts organizations in Boston’s Chinatown and their associates from the entire eastern seaboard.

There were approximately 500 in attendance.  Over 70 of the attendee were Uechi-Ryu people from the New England area.  The Uechi-Ryu people came from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  I apologize if I did not contact you in regards to this event.  I will truly try to include you next year.  Please do not hesitate to remind me if you are interested for next year.  This event will only get bigger as years go by.

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Mar 21 2013

GEM Library Archives

vans-comp-team-members-80s

Van Cann’s 80′s Competition Team Members

Amazing how many videos, pictures and memories one can accumulate in a lifetime. I have a storage locker filled with memorabilia that I’m trying to catalog and digitize for the future Martial Art Library my friends are creating. Hope you enjoy some of the memories that didn’t make it into my last book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate”.

 

 

 

moto-and-tanaka

Two of the best tourney fighters of the time – “Moto” & “Tanaka”

nev-kimbrell-70s

Probably the best fighter of the era, Nev Kimbrell

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/gem-library-archives/

Mar 19 2013

First Mattson Academy group picture

Wow! Either 1959 or 1960 group picture of my advanced class at the first outdoor workout in a park in Newton, MA. I can still identify a couple of individuals. . . Me, Tom Bruno, Charles Couflin. . . Can you identify any of the others???

Untitled-46

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/first-mattson-academy-group-picture/

Mar 17 2013

“Family of Uechi Organizations”

From my Newsletter Archives – 2003

NAUKA board meets with kanei uechi

North American seniors meets with kanei uechi circa 1984

Uechi-ryu Family of Organizations!
by Steve Goss

As many of you know, the late 1980′s heralded a major shift in organizations practicing Uechi-ryu. Prior to that time, most of us were members of the Uechi-ryu Karate-do Association. Now there are many more associations. During my last trip to Okinawa I was told there are currently as many as 15 different associations practicing the system we all know as Uechi-ryu. In my opinion, it was inevitable that this kind of change should occur. There is a “maturing” of the practice of martial arts internationally, and with the passing of Kanei Uechi, arguably the tie that kept the Uechi-ryu Karate-do Association together, there were individuals and groups of vast experience and skill who would form associations and groups of dojo with the purpose of practicing the system as they understand it.

In order to accommodate these changes, I have heard more than once of the intent coming out of Okinawa to maintain a “family of organizations”-a loose affiliation of support and maintenance of the system. Different organizations include kobudo in their training and practice different yakusoku kumites, but the agreed upon exercises that are to remain constant are Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiru. At this point I would argue that the other five kata should be a part of the core system, but that is a discussion for another time.

We have witnessed the changes occurring in other systems and the results of those changes. In some cases the changes were drastic and included personal agenda (to put it gently) and the end result is that, often, one does not even recognize a system as being the same from one dojo to the next. I would encourage all who practice Uechi-ryu, by whatever name, to work together to see that this does not happen to us.

There are a number of things of which we can be proud in the practice of Uechi-ryu, not the least of which is the fact that we can walk into any dojo in the world and know what to expect and what is expected of us. With the exception of minor technical differences, we all do kata the same way. We all need to work to keep it that way.

I encourage all, especially the young people training and coming up in the system, to support the concept of a family of organizations and to actively work to maintain that ideal. One does not become a better practitioner by saying anything negative about the “other guys”-one’s skill and understanding of Uechi-ryu should be demonstrated on the dojo floor. Accommodate differences in training. Practice the different yakusoku kumites developed by the different associations. Keep an open mind. And work to keep us all together.

We have the rare privilege of practicing a pure system. We can trace our history straight to Southern China with no “forks in the road”. Let’s keep it that way.

Steve Goss
California

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/family-of-uechi-organizations/

Mar 13 2013

March 9th 2013 Seminar

Hut-2013-workout

Note: May workout changed to Saturday, May 11th!

March 9th, the “HUT” hosted a regional workout lead by Sensei Paul Giella and Sensei Vinny Christiano.  This was a classical workout conducted by 2 “down to earth old time instructors” with a lot of skills and teaching experience.

The workout was invigorating and intense.  We covered everything from exercises, kata and techniques.  Paul Sensei introduced and worked on a 3 part San-Chin.  This 3 part San-Chin went from a posing kata to a blocking kata and finished with a striking/attacking kata.  These drills were both interesting and challenging.  They worked our coordination and forced us to focus as each step incorporates a different mindset and a different process in movements.  Sensei Paul was constant in his insistence on stances and a good base.

Vinny Sensei, as always, introduced his innovative ideas and variations on kata and dan kumite.  A lot of what Vinny Sensei emphasized was our softer aspect within our system.  We explored the strength within our core and the generation of power from rotation.  We are always in search of the hidden power within ourselves.  Vinny Sensei worked diligently throughout this seminar to help us realize how to find our strengths.

It is needless to say I respect and admire both of them as martial artists and teachers.  My only wish is to have more chances to work out with them and the many talented people who work out at the Hut.

The next regional workout will be hosted by me, Darin Yee, on Saturday, May 11.  The location is 8 Natalie Way, Plymouth, MA 02360.  The start time will be 12 noon.  After our workout we will go next door to a well-known Hibachi restaurant named New Tokyo for Japanese food.  There is both hot and cold food.  They have also agreed to give us a discount.

The presenters will be Sensei Gary Wong and I.  We have both studied Uechi-Ryu since 1969.  Gary and I have also spent as many years studying Chinese Kung-Fu.  Our seminar on May 18th will introduce many movements we’ve studied in Kung-Fu and relate them to our movements in Uechi-Ryu.  As we have been taught since the beginning of everyone’s training, our Uechi-Ryu from Okinawa was derived from “Pong Gai Noon” the system taught to our Grandmaster Kunbun Uechi.

Sensei Gary Wong and I, through our 50 plus years of studies and training in both avenues of martial arts, will demonstrate and teach different uses and understanding for our similar moves.  We will also drill on some of the fighting techniques which help us become the  successful competitors we were in the early “70s”.  Hope to see you here on May 181at 12 noon.

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/march-9th-2013-seminar/

Mar 06 2013

Web Site Update. . .

gempiI receive quite a few e-mail from friends who discover broken links in the “Uechi-ryu.com” website.

About three years ago IUKF hired a web administrator who took on the project of “modernizing” the site, which has been evolving from a primitive “FrontPage” format back in the early 90s, to the state-of-the-art “WordPress” which we are now using.

The site has been hosted on a number of servers and after a number of disasters, including companies that mysteriously disappeared, along with our website, the site found a permanent home where it has resided for over 15 years.

Besides reconstructing the site, our web administer was charged with organizing the massive amount of articles, pictures and features stored on the server but not included on the website.

I thought we were making good progress, but during a recent Board meeting last weekend, we discovered while reviewing the IUKF website, that sub-links would not work using touch-pad devises and a number of links pointed to wrong pages or error pages.

I often wondered why my classic Uechi-ryu Karate Do”  book, which was digitized and saved to CD last year has sold so few copies, when the actual book, long out of print was so popular and used copies continues to sell at high prices on e-Bay and Amazon. For only $39, the digital book on CD should be quite popular. Well. . . mystery solved! I clicked on the front page ad this morning and discovered that the CD book could not be found!!!! Turns out, the book’s store page had never been activated. . . and therefore unavailable. . .

So, if you ever clicked on that ad and was frustrated attempting to find the book, I apologize for the time you wasted searching for the book. Susan tells me we have 50 CD ready to be shipped. Click Here and I promise you will be taken right to the CD version of “Uechi-ryu Karate Do”! Our web administrator will have the ad link fixed within the next couple days.

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/web-site-update/

Jan 23 2013

You are Never too Old!

You Are Never Too Old To Learn Uechi-ryu Karate

         It was at the Summer fest 2010 I met George Mattson for the second time.  I had studied Uechi-ryu karate with George in 1965 and 66 in Boston, but stopped because, like many of us, work, travel and family took priority.  Surprisingly George remembered me (still has great memory) and encouraged me to look up Darin Yee as I live in Plymouth where Darin teaches.  I was 74 at the time and not to anxious to take the beating I remembered from years gone by.  In your 20’s it’s great fun, not later in life.  I lived in CT for many years and studied under John Spencer for a few months, again family and business took priority.  So I had good memories of the people I met and the unique “hard-soft” philosophy imbedded in Uechi-ryu.  So why not give it a try again (third time never fails, right?).

While I did not remember much of my kata from past years, some of the drills from instructors like Bob Fulton still resonated.  Yet I had been away from karate for so long Darin was dealing with a green kyu and not a “retread”.  This made it easier for both of us.  I was totally uninformed and he didn’t have to explain why his technique was different.  At this point I must emphasize that Darin teaches Uechi-ryu karate and not some variant.  So it was easy for me to get back in the groove.  Easy but painful because a 70 plus year old body doesn’t bend the way it did 50 years ago.

As I worked out and I have been going to the dojo an average of five to six times a week (one of the blessings of being retired); more of my past training in Boston started to surface.  I was able to see the different interpretation Darin has of Uechi-ryu versus what I remembered.  Not that it was different but Darin has many more variations to our understanding of movements.

Darin’s instruction places more emphasis on (1) be flexible, don’t take the opponent’s punch or kick, but deflect it or guild it and attack quickly (2) use the turning of your torso and shoulders to generate the power which is transferred to your arms and legs (more torque) and counter attack (3) every movement in kata is either an attack or defense and I should envision how to use each technique.  There are no wasted moves.  Uechi-ryu is a fighting style not a show style.

In class, Darin has us do three versions of each kata.  He uses the Chinese mythological characters or animals as metaphors.  First kata is like the dragon.  Slow and focus on footwork, balance and breathing.  We work on the perfection of each movement as only moving slow will allow.  Second (of the same) kata is like the crane and move at middle speed.  Focus on even and smooth movements not only within the move (block and punch) but transitioning to the next move.  For example in Kanshiwa, our first move is to our left but then moving at the same rhythm to what would have been the right.  The third kata is like the tiger.  It combines the first two but adds the power and speed characterized by this animal.

Another example is the way Darin does the wa-ucki.  In the 60’s, I first learned to move my arm in a circular manner with torso facing forward.  We now rotate our torso and raise our arm (as a block).  This combination is done simultaneously so it is still circular but the power is coming from the rotation of the torso and is transferred to the (blocking) arm.  Which is stronger your arm or your torso?  The block is actually easier, faster and takes a lot less effort.

Slowly over almost two years of constant practice and associated sore muscles, I could feel a big change in my physiology.  While I had been in good shape before starting, I now noticed that I moved quicker, had more pep in my movements and I believe it improved my reflexes.  So I guess I can keep cutting the grass for a few more years.

In retrospect, I have concluded there is a big market out there of people like me who have an affinity for karate, the time and money to pursue it.  But, given our late age, the hard pounding, board breaking, straight through attack is not going to work.  Darin’s process does not negate or alter the principals of Uechi-ryu but re-interprets them in such a way as to produce a more effective fighting technique suitable for all ages.

John R. Joseph

Plymouth, MA

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