Mar 21 2013

GEM Library Archives


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”.





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


Probably the best fighter of the era, Nev Kimbrell

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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???


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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

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Mar 13 2013

March 9th 2013 Seminar


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.

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Mar 06 2013

Web Site Update. . .

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

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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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Dec 25 2012

My Herman Digital Trainer!

The NEW wireless Herman Interactive Training System is now available! Click Here to access the new site.


My favorite training tool of all time is the Herman Trainer! I introduced it at the 2010 Summer Fest. Harry Skeffington set up the software and I set up the testing components and logistics.

Darin Yee had a punching device (Bob) that I attached the sensor to and Harry programmed his laptop to pick up the impact signals from “Bob” and translate them into power numbers. Each competitor hit “Bob” with two punches and two kicks within a 15 second time period.

Roy Bedard killed “Bob” with power that almost went off the chart. That was until Robb Buckland took his turn. Fortunately “Bob” held up to the punishment, but heavy as it was, Robb actually made “Bob” jump off the floor a few inches with every hit. No question as to who is the strongest puncher and kicker at that year’s SummerFest!

We will be setting up “Bob” again in August to see if anyone will be able to best Robb’s record.
If you would like to incorporate My Herman into your dojo or to use at home, check out our information site by clicking HERE. The manufacturer is extending a $50 discount to my friends who visit [Store Link]


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Dec 03 2012

1st N.E. Regional Workout. . .

1st New England Regional Workout-12-1-2012

I am very please due to the outcome of our regional workout which Sensei Pat Saunders hosted for December 1st 2012.  The turn out was exceptional and we were blessed with the attendance of some of the best Uechi-Ryu practitioners in our area.

There was a lot of sweat as a workout should be.  No one puts on a gi to hear another talk the entire seminar.  We also had a chance see and understand much of what other senseis teach as everyone was respectfully given the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity.  We will post some of the pictures and maybe a few of the recorded techniques.  Please feel free to use and teach any of the bunkis you enjoy from our workouts.

  We got the chance to workout with many whom we respect but have not seen for a long time.  We met many whom we did not know and now form a new relationship.  Most important of all, we had an opportunity to meet some of the young, up and coming superstars for our system.  I believe it is of the utmost importance to expose them to all the great minds of our Uechi-Ryu system.  I encourage all our senseis to promote our workouts to their young students.  This may help spark and promote your own dojo workouts.

Our next workout is March 9th at “The Hut” hosted by 2 of our old time greats.  Paul and Vinny has been around forever.  I will list their workout and their starting time as soon as I find out.

Again, congratulation to Sensei Pat for a great kick off.  I’ve receive nothing but positive feed back regarding every aspect of this workout.  Please be reminded if you are a supporter of our workouts, please do not hesitate to give us your feedback positive or constructive suggestions.  Every host dojo will decide on their own workouts and regardless of rank, we are there to workout.  If any participating dojo want to be a future host, please write to Darin Yee at, Pat Saunders at, or Christian Maine at



Darin Yee

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Nov 23 2012

Happy Holidays

GEMattson Seminar in RI at Ed Oakley’s dojo- 2001

This is just a note to wish everyone in our Uechi Family a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.  After I’ve ate with my family, I was sitting in my living room watching football and thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for.

Last night after I finished teaching for the night, I went to Boston Chinatown to attend some of the parties I’ve been invited to.  While I was there, I’ve met with a lot of people whom I haven’t seen in a long time.

After engaging in minor conversation with a few of them, I realized there are a lot of people who are facing financial difficulties.  Myself being one of them.  Yet because we were together and sharing good news and bad, I returned home (at about 3am) feeling a lot better then when I got in my car to drive toBoston.  Friends are irreplaceable.

We as Uechi-Ryu practitioners are family.  We are bounded by the common goal of training and perfecting our art.  None of us are that far apart.  As a student, we seek,, no,, we demand respect.  Which of us don’t?  Regardless of rank or time in grade, we dedicated and invested a large part of our lives learning, training and in many cases teaching this passion.

My letter here is to let you know, after 53 years of studying, training and teaching, I respect everyone who trains in the martial arts and look forward to the time when we can meet and train together.  A good student can always learn regardless if he/she is teaching at the head of a class or lined up to workout with others respectfully seeking more knowledge.

Please take care of yourself and your family and train diligently.  Respect, share and assist all who is within your reach.  Happy holidays to you and yours and may you obtain health, wealth and wisdom.


Darin Yee

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