The Father of American Uechi-ryu Karate Reflects on the Old Way

Article written by Roy Bedard Ph.D. for Bugeisha Magazine

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2022 Uechi-ryu WinterFest

Winterfest History:

When Susan and I moved to Florida, we missed many of our former students and thought it would be a great idea to offer a “mini” WinterFest here in Florida.

Before moving to Florida,  I held a WinterFest at a Judo dojo in Orlando where 15 people showed up.  After a few years, we tried one in West Palm Beach, which provided great fishing opportunities, but little else. After moving to Florida,  we started having WinterFest in Mount Dora. Fantastic warm weather, great restaurants, galleries, many lakes and a beautiful building that hosted our small but growing group.

During the next few events, we experimented with different size halls and a number of great restaurants for our Friday and Saturday dinners. WinterFest kept growing and in 2021 we committed to a huge hall in a neighboring town which we believed  would become a permanent home for WinterFest. Of course the Covid pandemic had other plans and we ended up cancelling the event.

Here in Florida, we have been fortunate, during this last quarter,  with very low infection rates and with reasonable government interference and. . . with a record number of inquiries relating to the fate of WinterFest.

Susan and I talked it over and decided to conduct a 2022 event, which has been scheduled for March 25 and26 and a special weapons class for Sunday, (27th). I’ve also promised all my Mattson Academy Uechi-ryu Virtual Dojo members a special Sunday morning class  as well.

I will be creating a special WinterFest Newsletter this week, for all who have signed up for the event. Also, Susan has established a sizable discount for those who register before March 1st.

As usual, there will be a golf tournament on Thursday, at a new course to be determined. Also, be sure to let us know if you plan on participating.

Friday and Saturday evening we plan on continuing the evening gathering at local restaurants. Please let us know on you reservation application if you will be attending and if you will have any guests with you.

Last WinterFest Patty Dando and Susan looked up the best lodging opportunities and will be posting them in my newsletters. 

Don’t forget to make your travel arrangements early and remember. . . What a fantastic opportunity and location for a Winter vacation. We hope to see many of our N.E. friends take advantage of an opportunity to get out of the cold and enjoy a visit to sunny, warm Florida.

Our Winterfest philosophy remains that we provide a place where a diverse group of Uechi-ryu practitioners are able to meet and share their training experiences and understanding of the art, with likeminded students of all levels. At WinterFest we are all teachers and all students – Egos are left at home during our pursuit of understanding and  exploring new applications of our beloved art.

Rules are simple.  Enjoy the weather and comradery, while maintaining an open mind while learning new understandings and methods relating to the core exercises, kata, bunkai, kumite and applications of Uechi-ryu.

WinterFest – A time to recharge our interest, motivations and goals, while meeting new friends and “catching up” with old friends.

Plan to “Train Often – Train Smart” at 2022 WinterFest in Florida!

Train Often, Train Smart

George Mattson

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My Journey – to Shodan to Nidan

My Journey from Shodan to Nidan


Stacy Smith

On Monday I was awarded my Nidan. This was not something I had set my sights on when I returned to karate after a long absence. What I value most about this promotion is that it has served to more deeply validate and honor my commitment to Uechi-Ryu Karate. 

I first earned my Shodan in Sitka, Alaska when I was 17 years old. I then headed to college and, over the next few years, continued to practice on my own and dabble in other forms of martial arts. But I was unable to sustain this over time and eventually stopped. As the years went by, I often thought about getting back into Uechi-Ryu Karate, but I had no idea how to do this without the support of a community in Anchorage, Alaska where I lived.

A year ago, my sensei from Sitka, Duane Swanson, contacted me out of the blue. He encouraged me to attend Darin Yee’s online workouts, and offered to be my sensei again. I enthusiastically agreed and began participating in all of Sensei Darin’s online sessions, as well as meeting with him and Sensei Duane via Zoom on weekends. After such a long absence from Uechi-Ryu, I struggled to remember and perfect the moves, and to learn new approaches and variations. But I persisted and practiced daily.

It is difficult to express the immense gratitude and admiration I have for Sensei Duane and Sensei Darin–their generosity, kindness, encouragement, guidance, and passion and expertise in the martial arts. I am proud to be a member of the Sitka Alaska Uechi-Ryu Club and the IUKF. If there is one shining light I located in the pandemic, it is my journey back into karate and the Uechi-Ryu community. 

Stacy Smith


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Okinawan Uechi-ryu Karate – At Home!

Join the Mattson Academy and train with Grandmaster George E. Mattson on a regular basis. How much you train is up to you and will be based on the goals you set.

If you belong to a dojo and have a teacher, Mattson sensei will act in the capacity of a “coach”. He will help you create and achieve your martial art goals, supplementing your regular “in-dojo” experiences. If you do not have a teacher, he will be your sensei and will guide you through your martial art studies as he has with thousands of his current and past students. . . many who now run their own successful dojos.

Mattson sensei devotes most of his time now to members of the Mattson Academy. He is the pioneer of on-line training, not only for the martial arts, but for many other industries and educational organizations.

Members of the academy who qualify for advanced rank, will be tested on-line through an innovative system created by Mattson and successfully used to test many senior black belts and senior teachers within the system.

The International Uechi-ryu Karate Federation (IUKF) has implemented with Mattson, an effective “pre testing” method of working with prospective black belt candidates that is considered to be one of the best and fairest testing methods for determining whether a candidate is ready to be tested for advanced ranking.


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Lee Adams Appointed Chairman BAA

From October 2020 I will be assuming the role of Chairman of the British Aikido Association, The BAA was established in 1966, one year before the Japan Aikido Association so is recognised as the oldest official Aikido association in the world, although primarily supporting Tomiki Aikido the BAA today is the Association of choice for many Non Tomiki Aikido Clubs and has recently opened its affiliate membership to other Aikido Styles and other Martial Arts.

Professor Kenjo Tomiki  skills and dedication to training were such that, after being the captain of the Judo Team at Waseda University in Tokyo, he became an uchi-deshi (live-in student) of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. It was through his association with Kano that Tomiki Sensei came to be acquainted with Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. Already holding an 8th Dan in Judo, O’ Sensei awarded Kenji Tomiki  a Menkyo ( roughly equivalent to 8th Dan) and as such is recorded and Aikido’s first ever 8th Dan.

Kenji Tomiki’s style of Aikido is a style that strives to combine the competitive excitement of Judo with the spiritual serenity of traditional Aikido.

I am honoured to be asked to represent Tomiki Aikido on the world stage as I am to represent the IUKF and Uechi Ryu here in the UK, I believe that the two have much commonality and will continue to dissect, analyse and experiment with both for self-improvement and enlightenment.



Lee Adams  IUKF GB and the BAA


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President Darin Yee of IUKF 2019 Visit to Honolulu Uechi-ryu Karate-do Club

November 14, 2019

Darin Yee works with kid’s class

In the Hawaiian Language, the word “ALOHA” mostly functions as a salutation and a greeting. But the word actually conveys a deeper sense of meaning, which the locals expound upon, by breaking the individual letters down into other Hawaiian terms:

A – Akahai: Kindness, expressed with tenderness

L – Lokahi: Unity, expressed with harmony

Darin Yee with Al

O – Olu’olu: Agreeable, expressed with pleasantness

H – Ha’aha’a: Humility, expressed with modesty

A – Ahonui: Patience, expressed with perseverance

Aloha is more than just a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable….

On November 9, 2019, Darin Yee-Sensei travelled 5,046 miles from Boston to Hawaii to share his extensive knowledge of Uechi-ryu, to offer his continued support of our Dojo, and to spend his valuable time with us. From the multiple meetings and training sessions throughout the week, we gained much insight into the Tiger, Dragon, Crane roots of our art. We are so grateful to have been shown a new perspective from which to dissect, analyze, and maximize our effectiveness in Kata performance and applications. I’m particularly impressed with the humble manner in which Darin-Sensei interacted with our group. From the youngest member, to the oldest member, he showed patience, kindness, and understanding in freely sharing his knowledge.

Sensei Yee, thank you for your on-going efforts in building a highly supportive International Uechi-ryu Karate Federation, and especially for travelling so far across the globe to help us become better Karateka! Mahalo nui loa for embodying the Spirit of Aloha! We are proud to be an IUKF affiliated Dojo and look forward to your next visit on January 11th and 12th 2020 for our Honolulu Uechi-ryu Gasshuku Regional Workout.


Albert Cloutier

Honolulu Uechi-Ryu Karate-do Club

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IUKF President visits Knoxville

Recently 9th degree and newly appointed president of the IUKF, Darin Yee, paid a visit to our school in Knoxville, TN. It is a privilege to be able to learn from Master Yee’s vast knowledge from not only Uechi-ryu but also his many other martial arts styles.

These influences are easily seen, especially Wushu and Wing Chun, when exploring the soft side of Uechi-ryu. Even though most original styles of karate advocate being both a hard and soft style, through the years of evolution of karate, many styles have the lost the soft side. Master Yee’s seminar focused on the soft side of Uechi-ryu. Continue reading

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