Nov 09 2012

December Seminar Update

Hello Brother and Sisters,
The December 1 date is closing in fast and Sensei Pat Saunders is trying to get a head count on the participants in our invitational work outs.  Sensei Pat’s dojo can accommodate approximately 30 people.  With the head count we have now we will possibly need another venue as our count has exceeded 30.  What Sensei Pat will seek is a venue large enough to handle what we will need.  Only way to do that is for us to commit and inform either Pat Sensei (, Christian Sensei ( or myself (
This will be a great workout with a bunch of great people.  After our workout, Sensei Pat will recommend a good place for use to sit in a comfortable setting eat and engage in good conversation.  Lets dress comfortable because I must admit I am a little bit of a slob.
I remember how we use to visit other dojos in the “70s”.  We always had a great time meeting and working out with our brother dojos.  We’ve even worked out in dojos of other systems.  What a great way to understand our fellow martial artists.  That is how friendship and respect is formed.  Please reply as soon as you can so we can help Sensei Pat move ahead in her plans for our glorious workout.

Darin Yee

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Oct 27 2012

Hard/Soft Systems – Part two!

Thank you everyone for your response to my last posting regarding my understanding of our hard and soft system (pong gai noon).  I especially appreciate the practitioners who come to realize if we are to continue enjoying and training in this wonderful art from China and redirected in Okinawa, our bodies can not maintain this brutal abuse as we age.  That is the reasons so many of our dojos lose loyal members as we age.

Due to the many responses I’ve received and the many questions, I was compelled to write this follow up.  If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to write me direct at  I am always willing to share knowledge and experiences with respectful practitioners.

Let’s first inject the aspect of body, mind, and spirit.  We all understand to a degree the body aspect.  We train hard to develop muscles strength and soft to develop speed and balance (some of us).  Some of us lift weights for more upper body strength.  We do our road work for leg strength and endurance.  We stretch for flexibility and greater range of mobility.

The mind aspect relates mainly to our kata.  Along with some physical work, our katas are a teaching tool to align our physical with the understanding of fighting techniques in our system.  The people who claim kata is not fighting don’t really understand kata.  We are Uechi students because we study and train Uechi katas and all the techniques within these katas. There are no other reasons for kata.

Because we are Uechi students, we should be using Uechi techniques while we fight.  How many of us actually fight with Uechi techniques?  Who has ever used the combinations within our katas?  Who had successfully used the shuto-rikon combination?  How about the elbow-backhand?  What about the double nukitei while lifting and throwing your opponent?  Think and be honest before you answer yourself.

If we don’t use these techniques; the question would be why?  What are the reasons we do not use Uechi kata techniques which represent our system.  As I’ve always said to people explaining techniques to me.  If a technique doesn’t work, there are 2 reasons why it didn’t work.  The student either doesn’t have the knowledge or the skills to perform that technique or that technique doesn’t work the way you’ve learned it.  Either way, it didn’t work.  I will say without hesitation everything in every kata works perfectly for me.  I would also add I fight Uechi techniques.  Those who know me or have worked out with me or have competed against me will verify I can hold my own fighting and my katas does not look like the “Tin man” before oil.

Thirdly there is the spiritual.  This comes with the peace of mind regarding who and what we are.  I know very few who are on the right path.  Those who need to compare with others are on the wrong path.  Those who see nothing but negativity in others are on the wrong path.  Most important of all, those who will not recognize that which is right in front of them are totally lost.

Many of the reader wrote to me and informed me they are learning about the soft aspect of Uechi through Tai Chi.  Too many Tai Chi people for me to answer individually so this is one of the reasons I am writing this follow up to my first letter.  If this includes you, please do not take offense.

There is a huge difference between Tai Chi and Uechi-Ryu.  One can not learn the soft aspect of Uechi-Ryu by learning about the softness of Tai Chi.  They are 2 entirely different systems with 2 completely different mind sets.  Some of the ideas are similar but most are not the same.  It’s good to look outside the box but you need to learn what you have inside your box first.  A good example is trying to dance the ballet by learning the Cha-cha.  Maybe buying a a dress to use as a suit .

To learn the soft of Uechi-Ryu movements, you need to go directly to a Uechi-Ryu instructor who understands the soft uses of Uechi-Ryu.  How can you tell if these instructors truly understand?  Many talk about concepts and theories.  Some will tell you they’ve done this for years.  My fool proof way is to say “let’s try it out”.  If he is willing, go at him as fast and powerful as you can.  Strike him as you mean to hit him and not as a “dojo mate”.  If you punch lightly to the side or miss him on purpose, you are both fooling yourselves.  If the technique works, he should be able to block you.  If you hit him,try again.  If you hit him again,,,re-read above my 2 reasons listed above on why a technique doesn’t work.

Darin Yee

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Oct 23 2012

IUKF Titles Application Due!!!

Hi IUKF Members:

I would like to get a reminder up on your site that all applications for titles need to be submitted to us before May 1. There was just too much running around at the last minute this past year.

We also wanted to remind people that most know when they are approaching consideration for a title and they should not wait until they have been nominated or wait until the last minute to start working on their presentation. Most after 20 plus years of study have an idea of something they would like to write about or something they would like to share with the Uechi community. If not then it is even more of a reason to get an early start on finding a subject to present. We the committee would even be willing to interview the candidate to find where their interests lie and help them choose a subject.

Paul and I in a recent conversation discussed the possibility of people running out of subjects to choose, and proceeded  to come up with half a dozen ourselves. We also want it to be know that we the committee are here to encourage people to pursue titles not discourage. We will help walk you through the process. You can use either of our e-mail to apply for titles, and we will then bring it to the committee for consideration.

Bruce Witherell  –

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Oct 21 2012

“Force” is Velocity Times Mass!

Taiwan 1965 demonstration

The origin of Uechi-Ryu is named Pong-Gai Noon which translated from Chinese means half hard and half soft.  A true understanding of this style commits the practitioner to learn and understand its’ movement in a hard path and with little to no effort use this same movement in a soft path.  Both paths should produce the same results.

Soft does not mean weak.  Those who believe that do not understand soft.  Most instances soft is stronger then hard.  Remember “force” is velocity times mass.  If your fist is your mass, how fast can you thrust your fist if you are rock hard?  On the other hand, if you relax your arm a little while keeping your fist hard, how fast can you thrust it now?  Try tightening your arms as hard as you can when you punch.  How fast is that?

While your body is as hard as a rock you won’t be able to move.  How many rocks have you seen change its form without being smashed and broken apart?  You would have to loosen up in order to even throw a punch.  I suppose it is the degree you want to loosen up.  Question is how fast do you want to be able to punch?

While we are young and at our physical peak, we employ our strength and smash flesh to flesh, bone to bone.  As we mature, we develop more skills, timing and finesse.  By understanding how our bodies work with each movement, we are now true matured, martial artists and not mindless brutes.

If hard is our only path, we learn only half a system called “half hard, half soft”.  Are we truly masters if we only understand half a system?  As we mature, are we  advancing when we become much less effective because we can not withstand the forces of youth.  Training in finesse, we can overcome the simplicity of hard strength.  We no longer have to abuse our thinning bone density, brushing that last for months and fear of not having the strength to block an attack from a younger, stronger opponent.  We should enjoy our maturity in a beautiful, flowing and effective art which will last us a life time.  How many of us no longer train because we can no longer withstand the pains of a hard, pounding workout?  At the infancy of my training, I trained diligently to be able to take a hard smash.  Now that I’ve trained for over 53 years, I’ve gain enough skills to avoid getting punched.

Darin Yee

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Oct 18 2012

Quarterly Workout Schedule

      Just a short note to inform you we have arranged for quarterly workouts for our Uechi-Ryu Family.  These workouts will be 3 hours and hosted by dojo owners graciously willing to take on the task for their fellow Uechi-Ryu practitioners. The dojo owner will lead with warm ups and the rest is up to him/her.  Sometimes a 3 hour workout is a little much for 1 session; each dojo owner will be responsible to invite another sensei to teach the next hour and a half.  He/She will also be in charge of inviting the guest instructor.  That way they are in control of what is taught and who is teaching it.  Afterwards, maybe the host dojo can recommend a good restaurant nearby for all to gather for a drink or some food.

Saturday, December 1st would be the first and final workout of 2012.  Only one workout this year but it’s a good beginning.  As the Jungleplex is usually very busy in December, I am asking if Pat Saunders is willing to be our gracious hostess for this year.  Pat is a very good facilitator and I’m certain her workout is destined for success.

The first Uechi-Ryu workout in 2013 will be on March 9th.  I will be asking Vinny C. and Paul J. if the Hut would host this one because there are so many great martial artist there and I’ve always respected both of them for their knowledge, skills and ethics for hard work.

Our second Uechi-Ryu workout will be in May 18th at the Jungleplex by Darin Yee.  I can’t expect to ask other to do their part if I don’t own up to my end.  My guest instructor will be Gary Wong.  As I will be demonstrating the connection between our Uechi-Ryu and the different systems of Chinese Kung-fu, Gary Wong is as knowledgeable as anyone.

The third workout will be on July 20th and could be held in Plymouth, NH as Christian Maine and his brother Brett studied a lot of judo and jujitsu and has incorporated much of their training in their teaching.  NH is not a bad ride.  I drive up there fromPlymouth,MA to work out with Christian about 4 to 5 times a year.  Christian reciprocates by driving to my dojo about the same amount of times each year.  As this will be the summer, NH is beautiful that time of the year.

The last and final workout for 2013 may be in Rhode Islandon November 23rd hosted by Henry Tow and his student James Nuzzo.  Henry Tow has been studying Uechi-Ryu since 1967.  After all these years, Henry has not only seen a lot but done a lot of very interesting things.  Jim Nuzzo is very active in the martial arts.  He recently opened a dojo inRhode Island and I hear it is beautiful and going great.

As there are many Uechi-Ryu people in all our neighboring states, I would like to be fair and ask anyone wishing to host a workout, please send me an email stating who you are and where you would like to host this event.  Please be informed host rank is of no consequence.  We respect everyone and all that they practice.  Sharing knowledge will give each of us a better understanding of on another.

I would also like to state organizational affiliations are again of no consequence.  All Uechi-Ryu people who live by a code of honor are considered family.  The more we workout with each other, the more we realize there are no boundaries between us.


Lastly I want to mention there will be a mat fee of $15 per person as some of the dojo owners may need or want to rent a larger space to house all the participants.  I will send out simple forms for anyone interested in working out or hosting a workout through email.  If anyone by chance hears about these workouts and interested in participating or hosting a workout, please send me an email and I will certainly keep you in the loop.

Brotherhood is what will keep our Uechi-Ryu family strong.  Please feel free to invite any and all Uechi-Ryu people you know to attend with you.  All respectable and honorable Uechi-Ryu practitioners are welcome.  If you do not belong to any organization, you are still welcome.  These will be political free workouts where the emphasis is on getting a good sweat and meeting great people.

Also be informed the listing could change due to unforeseen detours.  If that be any changes, I believe Christian Maine will be contacting you to keep you informed.  I want to thank Christian Maine as he has volunteered to be the point person and manager for these quarterly workouts.

Darin Yee

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Oct 16 2012

Why IUKF???

Why belong to IUKF?

GEMattson at Super Summer Semminars 2012

Students and teachers join because they wish to support IUKF’s efforts to provide a members orientated website, conference rooms, activities, workouts and timely communicated newsletters that keep them up-to-date in happenings related to the Uechi-ryu world.

Lets explore another benefit. . . .

What few people realize, is that the Mattson Academy, back in the 1960s,70s, 80s and 90s, was a successful and thriving Dojo that was in the forefront of teaching the very finest martial arts while being an innovator in marketing and administration of a successful Dojo. At one time I had over 500 active students training at the Boston Dojo.

My teaching programs and business management experiments were copied and improved upon by many of today’s very successful Dojo. Those of you who read my new book learned about my ups and downs during this period of time and how “burnout” can even be a problem for martial art teachers.

Since then, I’ve been teaching mostly as a hobby and for my own personal enjoyment. I’ve been following the growth of the martial arts business world and am not surprised that many of my early marketing concepts have been validated and successfully implemented during the last 20 years.

Click Here to read the rest of this article

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Oct 10 2012

1st regional workout scheduled for December 1st, 2012:

1st regional workout scheduled for December 1st, 2012:

Pat Saunders performing Sanchin

In the spirit of what the IUKF is trying to accomplish with these regional workouts I would like to do the following:

  • Intense warm-up
  • Kata
  • Create a bunkai by taking one set of techniques (or combos) at a time and splitting people out in groups to work together to create an interpretation of the moves while thinking out-side-of-the-box.  Then do a ‘show-N-tell’ and let the entire group vote on the best one which will then be taught to everyone.  Keep doing this for the entire kata.  Video tape and create a CD giving everyone at the regional workout credit for it’s creations (in the spirit of uniting this group).

It can be done.  I would need to have everyone sign a model release form though.  I would also like everyone to sign a release form.


Pat Saunders

Karate Do, LLC – formerly the Stow Martial Arts Center
117 Great Road
Stow Shopping Center
Stow, MA 01775

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Sep 28 2012

Dues are Due!


David Berndt, Membership Director

It’s that time of the year when I sit down for hours and hand write invoices for membership dues for IUKF/SCMAA. Not being very computer literate, in spite of Sensei Mattson’s guidance and throwing his hands up, I do this ritual a couple times a year.
I try to cycle the due dates for every few months for my hands and eyes to recover.

Over the course of the year I come into contact with members for various reasons, who ask, “why do we pay dues?” What do we get?

While that’s a good question, even more surprising is the fact, that many don’t even look at the IUKF section on the web site to see what they do get.

Originally your dues were a way for you to receive a discount on your Dan certificate fee. Saving you $50 on this alone, more than made up for the $35 yearly fee. Sensei Mattson also provided a discount to IUKF members for the Summer and Winter Fest camps. Again, a savings equal to or better than your dues payment.

And, if you purchased books or training videos, he also passed a savings to Members.

But now, IUKF is taking even more responsibility on the monthly maintenance and updates on the Uechi-ryu site itself. You may not even think about it, but all the Forums and the people who host them or write in to them, are able to do it free. While it is free to use, it isn’t free for its mere existence. Your Uechi-ryu site has an average of over 700,000 hits per month, one of the most visited martial arts web sites in the world, and to keep it that way, people work on its image constantly. It’s not free.

Your membership also provides a data base of Dojos around the world, who subscribe, regardless of affiliations, and a Black Belt Registry to list members and non –members certifications. A data base that adds legitimacy to your Rank. This data base is maintained, voluntarily, by David Kahn. He is always available to post your current promotions and titles, without fail. Where else can you go to see someone’s heritage and their years of experience? Of course now, you must be a member in good standing for a year, in order to receive the Honorarium Titles, such as Shihan, Renshi, etc.

And of course, with your Membership, you receive the IUKF embroidered patch and membership certificates, for Kyu and Dan ranks. The IUKF Passport is also a popular item to keep as a diary of promotions, seminars and visiting sensei’s from all the Arts. All of the materials you receive are individually processed personally, and many times with several hours a week, volunteered.

So the next time you get an invoice for dues, or you are asked to join, please remember what goes on behind the IUKF scenes.

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Sep 25 2012

Just What is Uechi-ryu?

Uechi Ryu Karate Do

John Felipe & West Alexander

Uechi Ryu Karate is a family style that comes from Okinawa but its roots are in Southern China in the Fuzhou region of Fujian province.  It was shortly before the turn of the 20th century that the system’s originator Kanbun Uechi spent approximately 13 years in Southern mainland China, where he apprenticed himself to Zhou Zi He who was a master herbalist and master of five martial art styles.  For 13 years Kanbun Uechi learned Tiger, Dragon and Crane styles.  After receiving his teaching certificate he taught in China for a few years, later making his way back to Japan, and Okinawa.  The heart of his teachings which remains to this day are three forms called Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiryu.  After his death, his son Kanei Uechi added five additional bridging kata leaving today’s style with a total of eight forms.

Uechi Ryu is a combat system, rather than a sports oriented style.  Virtually all hand and foot technique’s contained within the forms use pointed weapons and open hand techniques called Kaisho.  The reason for this is that the system evolved for self-preservation and militia-related purposes, with its goal self-preservation in adverse circumstances.  Its kicks are low, stances upright, stability a premium.  It’s a close-in style wherein the opponent’s defenses are breached to allow fighting from one arm to grappling distance.  For this reason it’s often called “telephone booth” karate.  Another attribute of the system is its emphasis on grabbing and striking, pulling the opponent inward while the strike is extended powerfully outward.  Emphasis is on knowledgeable striking, rather than striking for its own sake.  Targets of opportunity depend on openings given or created, but they are chosen by their chance to be “fight-enders”.

Within Uechi Ryu as well as other styles there are fight-interrupters and fight-enders. Interrupter’s can be used as part of an incremental or sequential sequence of techniques used to incapacitate and defeat the attacker.  However it’s critically important when facing multiple attackers or one with a weapon for the unarmed practitioner to be able to reliably defend themself.  This can be done only if you have hardened weapons, knowledge of striking points and the ability to access vulnerable points accurately, with sufficient force.  Uechi provides the curriculum and it’s up to the student to study with proper information, intention and intensity to make it a reality!

The eyes, the windpipe and the male external genitalia are common among other points that that are difficult for the attacker to condition, and include the carotid sinus and the brachial plexus in the neck, the femoral artery, vein and nerve as each enters the thigh, and exit above the knee.  The fascia lata of the thigh, the median and radial nerves of the upper extremity are also important for disabling the attacker, and for control.  Striking the medulla oblongata and midbrain is a fight-ender resulting in incapacitation and unconsciousness of the attacker.  It uses minimal concussive and rotational force and is easily applied, and without warning from within Sanchin arm position, at very close range without windup or chambering.  All techniques are shot from wherever the Uechika finds themself, and this is most often upright within Sanchin stance.  The expanding learning of the Uechi canon never ends, providing all students regardless of rank, with a never-ending course of fascinating material and unfolding awareness.

Paul Haydu
Jerry McDonald
San Diego Uechi Ryu

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Aug 26 2012

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