Sep 04 2017

Teaching Tips

This article is about the difference between teaching children and adults.  In most dojo children are the primary source of your income.  I realize teaching a children’s class takes a different path than teaching an adult class.  We need to be mindful of who is in front of you and how things can be said and explained. 

While teaching adults, we usually start their journey by teaching balance, foundation, increased flexibility and speed.    Strength will come automatically because the more we work out, the stronger we become.  I sometime encourage some of my students to begin a regimen of weight training where repetition of light weights for body toning takes president over the heavier weight for enhancement of strength.

 An adult usually wants to understand what they are doing, the purpose of their movements and the result to expect from their workout.  Some of the answers I hear from other dojo makes me laugh (to myself of course).  The silliest is “you have not been studying long enough to understand” or “you’ll learn later as you advance.”  If they will not understand, then they should not do whatever it is they don’t understand.  It’s a waste of time and energy.  It’s like telling someone to jump off a 6-story building telling them they’ll know why after they hit the ground.

It is much more beneficial for a student to perform movements knowing why they are doing it and doing it the way you’ve taught them.  Just going through motions does nothing for an intelligent student.  They now have an idea of what they are doing and why.  Every time that movement is performed, your student will see in their mind the expected result.  You will produce a better more proficient practitioner.  Knowing and understanding is the key to everything we teach.

When you have children in your classes, they are there for a few simple reasons.  They want to learn how to beat up people.  Their parent made them go to karate classes.  They have friends in your classes or about to sign up for your classes.  Whatever the case may be, they’re there to have fun.  If a student is frowning without getting accidentally hit, you need to find out what happened.

If a child comes to you for karate classes, you would hope to be able to keep that student until he/she completes high school.  If they stay beyond high school, consider yourself very fortunate.  There are always other sports and activities to consume their time.  Many of them are less expensive than karate classes. 

If you are trying to teach them all the katas, bunkais and kumites before they get to high school, you are doing yourself a colossal injustice.  Most children do not view the black belt as a new beginning.  Space out their promotions and make sure they have not only the knowledge but also the skills before each belt or even a stripe is awarded.  Have your students earn their rank and they will have more pride in their accomplishments. 

I use to have all my students test for their next belt.  This was to prepare them for their black belt test when they will have to perform in front of guest instructors.  I no longer do that now because of the disappointment factor.  In order for my students to advance to their next belt, they need to demonstrate the knowledge and proficiency for the belt that are wearing or the belt they wish to wear.  On the day each student is going to be awarded a new belt, I will post a notice naming the students who will be getting their next belt, there will be special attention on them to verify their dedication and ability.  Even though they have already proved to be deserving, they work out harder at the very least.  

Keep your students engaged and make sure they are having fun. 

Darin Yee

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Jul 27 2017

IUKF Teaching Suggestions


I have noticed a lot of Uechi-Ryu dojo declines these past 10 years.  I do admit I have not been to every dojo to assess the causes of our dojos shrinking but what I can do is write suggestions every few weeks or when I get a chance.  I have since 1970, gone to many different dojos to learn from other instructors of almost every style.  As they teach, I watch and analyze the dos and don’ts in teaching methods.

My first observation is Uechi-Ryu is a very complicated system if taught to its full extent.  Most systems are linear and have only one objective and one end point.  Uechi-Ryu is mostly circular which enables multiple purposes and destinations for our movements.

Please follow my periodic suggestions and observations and hopefully I can be of some help.

When teaching, always keep in mind we put on our gis for a workout.  Children and adults.  No one takes the time to change into a workout uniform to hear you talk.  Keep them in motion as long and as often as you can.  When explaining an exercise or drill, just direct your students on what to do and how to do it.  The “why” can be explained as they are in motion.  If a few do not understand or are doing the exercise incorrectly, bring just those few together to reteach while the rest of the class continue to work out.

When students learns, its 15% learning through explanation and direction.  10% watching someone else and 75% doing the drills and feeling the motions do its job.  Your students will get more out of their workout and enjoy doing whatever they are doing instead of standing around doing nothing.  Out of 30 students maybe only 5 or 6 may need more help.  If we stop the entire class to explain to the 5 or 6, there’ll be another 25 standing around rolling their eyes and can’t wait for class to end.

If you are a new instructor and like these type of articles, please continue to follow my suggestions on teaching.  I realize a lot of teachers already know the things I will be bringing up.  It is still good to see that there are other teachers that thinks like you.     


Darin Yee

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Jul 01 2017

Tim Dando Renshi Thesis – Seiryu bunkai

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Jun 26 2017

Hope to see you at this year’s SummerFest!

As most know by now, there have been many exciting changes to George Mattson’s SummerFest this year. These changes have been brought about after many talks with senior presenters and SummerFest participants. We know that these changes are going to make this year’s training historic on many levels.

The biggest change is location. This year’s SummerFest will take place at the beautiful
DoubleTree by Hilton in Danvers, MA. This clean, air conditioned facility will provide participants with a safe and comfortable area to train. By moving to this facility, we are providing extra changing rooms, separate training rooms, on site food & lodging, as well as an on-site water park for those who wish to bring young family members.

Friday’s training schedule can only be described as an experience like no other. For the first time, all North American Uechiryu 10th Degree Black Belts will be together in the same room. This list includes George Mattson, Van Canna, Walter Mattson, Art Rabesa, James Thompson, Jim Maloney, and – succeeding his test – Buzz Durkin. All Grandmasters are prepared and eager to share their incredible knowledge of Uechiryu.

Saturday’s training is going to be fulfilling on every level. We have six main presenters: Bob Bethoney, Leyn Burrows, Tracy Rose, Dan Dovidio, David Kelley, and Roy Bedard. Each have prepared exciting and informative seminars. Like last year’s SummerFest, trainees will be separated by rank while the presenters rotate among the groups throughout the day – ensuring that every participant is able to work with each presenter.

Both Friday and Saturday include an exclusive group of bonus presenters who will be teaching either before or after the main training. These presenters will all provide a unique approach to their Uechiryu practice. Training participants are encouraged to choose who they would like to train with during the bonus seminars.

We also have a specially designed lesson plan for Saturday’s one hour Junior Seminar for trainees 14 years and below. During this special break-out, junior karate students will have the opportunity to work with master instructors including James Cameron, Steve Dionne, Matt Saindon, Nathan Harker, and Brandon Stickney – along with many other professional karate instructors. This training will separate participants by age and rank. Any participant 13 & 14 years old may train with the Saturday Adult Main Presenters with their sensei’s permission.

Lastly, we will be celebrating this historic gathering of Uechiryu students from all around the world with Friday night’s Master’s Banquet. This exclusive dinner will feature many special guests from around the martial arts world, live entertainment, and memories that will last a life time. If you love the martial arts, this will be an event you cannot miss.

Bill Leith
Buzz Durkin’s Karate School
Uechiryu Butokukai

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Jun 06 2017

Buzz Durkin 10th Dan Promotion

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Jun 06 2017

Summerfest 2017

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Jun 01 2017

Alan Dollar’s 2nd Edition Book!

Alan Dollar’s 2nd edition “Uechi-ryu Karate!



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Mar 27 2017

Art Rabesa’s New Book!

Go to Amazon and get this book today. 

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Dec 31 2016

2017 SummerFest

gem_03Very Important Note Regarding SummerFest!

I wish to thank Buzz Durkin and the members of the Butokukai, for stepping up after I was diagnosed with cancer last August, offering to help organize and manage SummerFest until I recovered fully from my illness. 2017 SummerFest promises to be one of the best in the long history of this event.

Register early!

By the way. . . I am on the road to complete recovery and am looking forward to seeing you at SummerFest.

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Aug 28 2016

David Mott’s New Book!!

david-motts-book-picDavid sent me this wonderful book on the day Sue and I were leaving for Summerfest. I had time to open the package and scan the contents before heading for the airport. With all the lugage. . . nearly all Susan’s of course. . . I forgot to put the book into my backpack!

My bad!

I finally got an opportunity to read the entire book last week and must say that it was an enjoyable and exciting experience. No, it isn’t a picture book on how to perform kata, but the kata and everything else that makes Uechi-ryu important was explored and discussed.

In the Forward, Professor Greg Malszecki writes:

“Sensei David Mott appears to wear three sky-high hats in authoring this book: gifted teacher, reflective writer, advanced student in the art of feeling human. But like our very arbitrary categories of ‘body, mind, spirit’, he reveals his rare talent for story-telling with rippling circles of deeply-layered meaning. Like the Elder he is, he guides the reader to recognize why no significant progress beyond to the peaks aloft superior to all ranks and Dans and juried appraisals or titles or legends of performance within specific traditions those universal peaks of humane experience where martial arts becomes the arena of personal evolution through warrior-discipline integrating the obvious and hidden places, the suppressed or repressed traits, the apparently separate domains of effort as well as the wild places with no names in our real lives.”

This is a book that every martial artist will enjoy. Please contact David for information how to purchase a copy. David Mott (



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