Jan 08 2009

Good Advice. . .

A “Keeper” for 2009

I get lots of newsletters from all kinds of individuals selling all kinds of products and services. The one newsletter that I read very carefully is from Terry Bryan. Although Terry is a very successful and famous martial art teacher, most of his advice pertains to martial art qualities that have nothing at all to do with fighting or self-defense. Hope you find his latest offering as helpful and timely as I did. G.E.M.


With all the negativity in the market place, I thought it was important to discuss the mindset of prosperity for the New Year. With all the negativity it is important that we stick together and focus on making 2009 a good and prosperous year. Each and every one of us is going to have challenges but remember the past is the past and all we have control over is the future.

The other day I spent a hour on the phone with Lee Milteer and we were discussing what is working and what people are having problems with in the Dan Kennedy inner circle and surprisingly the main issue was some of them had lost focus. She sent me an article that I have modified to help you focus on your goals.

We get what we think about, like the red car scenario, where when you buy a new red car they seem to appear everywhere but before you owned one you never saw one. If you focus your mental energy on prosperity with laser beam focus you will see opportunities everywhere, however if you focus on the doom and gloom that the media is pushing then that is what you will see.


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Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/good-advice/

Jan 06 2009

Uechi-ryu & “Real” Fighting

Illustration by Keith Seidel

So You Wanna be a “Real” fighter!

OK. . . in my last editorial, I shocked many by stating “if you really want to learn how to fight, I don’t recommend that you try to accomplish it at a Uechi dojo or any other martial art dojo!”

So, if you want to be a fighter and you are willing to put the time into this effort, what is my recommendation?

1. First I believe you should get into superb physical condition. You may as well begin to accomplish your goal of becoming a fighter at the same time. . . my recommendation is that you empty your bank account and say goodby to your family for a couple years. . . then sign-on in one of the many legitimate training camps where UFC champions train.

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Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/uechi-ryu-a-qrealq-fighting/

Jan 04 2009

50th Anniversary SummerFest Masters’ Celebration

Here is a segment of the “Masters’ Celebration ceremony, conduted during the 2008 Martial Art SummerFest:

Low image resolution clip (last half of celebration ceremony):

Higher resolution clip of Mattson performing Sanseiryu


Thanks to the Board of Directors for helping organize and coordinate the 2008 Masters Celebration and to John Page for doing his usual great job as MC.


Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/50th-anniversary-summerfest-masters-celebration/

Jan 01 2009

“Reality” check from George Mattson’s “Swamp” dojo!

“Reality” check from George Mattson’s “Swamp” dojo!

I’m going to tackle a subject that I’ve covered many times in the past.  Although most of my students and many of my associates clearly understand my position on the subject, others continue to hammer away blissfully, shadowboxing with words and rallying enthusiastically against a foe that only exists in their minds.

What exactly is the problem that eats away at them so that at every opportunity they must spend so much time ranting on and on and on how the traditional Uechi dojo are corrupting the minds and bodies of their students with excessive, obsolete and harmful drills, exercises, kata (that they don’t like) and how dojo that actually have students are endangering these students’ lives by teaching Uechi-ryu in a manner that these “guardians” of the “correct” system dislike!

Uechi-ryu, like most sports has evolved since the early 1900s. What sport hasn’t? Unlike other sports, Uechi-ryu was a very effective system of self defense instead of a competitive activity. It was also based on ancient Chinese folk-art that purported to pass on to the student other benefits:

1.        Was a healthful activity

2.       Came with a moral code of ethics and conduct

3.       Was not something to be taught to bullies or criminals.

4.       Was to be used only in self-defense

5.       Was to be transmitted in a careful manner as to not hurt students

6.       Was not to be misused in a boastful manner (Don’t “showoff”)

When Kanei Uechi agreed to let Tomoyose Sensei teach me Uechi-ryu, he made me promise to introduce Uechi-ryu to people outside of Okinawa and to teach it as I learned it.

I interpreted this promise to mean teaching the system’s core values, since Uechi Sensei added material to the basic system and in subsequent visits to Okinawa, I came to realized that the system was quite adaptable to fit the needs of changing times, environments and individuals. Unlike my early attempts to make every student a carbon copy of me, I realized that teaching Uechi-ryu was itself an art. . . being able to adapt a physical art to fulfill the requirements of as many people as possible. . . not just those who had my stamina, build, abilities and motivation. With the new tools of the art that I picked up on subsequent trips, I was able to create a program that worked for nearly everyone who shared a commonality of incentive for seeking out my dojo and wanting to learn karate.

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Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/new-year-rant-from-gem/

Dec 30 2008

Breathing & Cooperative Drills


Worth repeating!

In the May, 2005 I described an experiment that I hoped would validate what I had learned from Kanei Uechi and Ryuko Tomoyose involving Sanchin breathing and Uechi-ryu breathing. Although I felt comfortable with what I was doing and teaching, there was a part of me that questioned the validity and effectiveness of the training, based on what some of my colleagues and associates were saying on the forums.

On the second “thread” in Van Canna’s Self Defense Realities Forum, after eleven pages of posts, all the posters agreed that what I was teaching was OK or had merit and although new and different, warranted further evaluation and testing.

Needless to say, this consensus of opinion on such a volatile subject has been a huge breakthrough for a subject that up until now, saw few Uechi practitioners agreeing on anything. Conceding that there is something called “Sanchin Breathing” which teaches a  repeating breathing method and when used during “stressed” effort, enables the student to draw on and use in a “natural” manner (Uechi breathing) a variation of the Sanchin Breathing. (Which often is very similar to more recognized and recommended breathing methods. WHEW. . .)

Ok, one Uechi target eliminated. Now. . . If we could only find someone to defend the old and venerable “cooperative drills”!!! 🙂

And as though Dr Greg Postal read my mind, in the mail today I received the today’s featured article,  

Uechi-Ryu Yakusoku Kumite As A Self Defense Training Progression

I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did. If you wish to communicate with Greg and continue the discussion of the “cooperative” drills, please visit Bill Glasheen’s Forum and “get involved”!

George E. Mattson





Why “Cooperative” Drills!!! 


Uechi-Ryu Yakusoku Kumite As A Self Defense Training Progression



The yakusoku kumite of Uechi-Ryu, Kyu Kumite and Dan Kumite, were developed with the goal of training students in such essential skills as ma’ai, tai sabaki, hyoshi and uke waza (distancing, body movement, timing and reception techniques respectively).

In recent years, these drills have been increasingly criticized by some proponents of “realistic training” as being stilted and worthless for developing an efficacious skill set for self defense. This point is well taken, especially in regard to those uechika who continue to practice these sets in precisely the way they initially learned them: as halting, staccato movements with a uniform pacing throughout. This error is compounded by those yudansha who practice both kumite at what they feel to be black-belt level by simply increasing the speed and/or force of the movements while retaining the same training methodology they used as white belts. The problem with this approach is the possibility that these individuals are fooling themselves (and in some cases their students) into believing that by practicing this way they are coming closer to reality and therefore better preparing themselves for “street self- defense.”

This raises the question: if there are so many dojo utilizing these training methods in arguably backward and counterproductive ways, why not eliminate these drills entirely? In fact, many dojo have done just that, most frequently advocating substitution by jiyu kumite as a method of teaching the same skills that Dan Kumite and Kyu Kumite claim to teach. The benefits and drawbacks of jiyu kumite have been much debated elsewhere and I will not discuss them here, except to point out that it is often extraordinarily difficult to address specific training goals utilizing jiyu kumite. Many dojo recognize this and will add short drills designed to teach techniques or inculcate principles which later can be employed in sparring, or in self defense situations. Though they may differ markedly from Kyu Kumite as practiced in that same dojo, these mini-drills are frequently not much different in composition  from sequences in the yakusoku kumite. In short, I would argue that the reasons for continuing to practice yakusoku kumite are twofold: first, if properly utilized, they can in fact serve as valuable training tools; second, they are familiar in some form to Uechi students everywhere, and can thus form a common “language” which allows students from different dojo to train together.

Some of the best models of alternative training methodology for yakusoku kumite can be found in the Filipino martial arts. Due to a variety of cultural and economic factors, these martial arts are, on the whole, generations closer to the reality of fighting than are the Chinese/Japanese arts on which Uechi-Ryu is based. In the traditional Filipino arts, one needs only to look back a generation or so to find an instructor who was involved in challenge matches where victory and defeat were demonstrably clear. Leaving aside any moral implications of these practices, the pragmatic result was a culling of those techniques and training that left an escrimador the loser. It is therefore instructive to look at these training methodologies when reality-focused training is a primary goal. Like yakusoku kumite, the attacks and defenses are prearranged and well known to both students. A common example of this is sumbrada sometimes termed a “rolling pattern,” some version of which is utilized in many Filipino styles, notably Cabales’s Serrada Escrima. The Filipino model yields good results because the pattern is utilized as part of a training progression rather than remaining a static exercise. Any successful training progression must help develop the necessary basic tools in a beginner and then allow the more advanced student to bridge the gap between drill and reality. In contrast to the “traditional” advanced way of practicing Dan Kumite and Kyu Kumite – moving faster and more forcefully without changing anything else – the advantage of the Filipino model is the development of considerable fluidity (readily apparent to anyone who has seen skilled escrimadors “playing”) while training within a set pattern. Nevertheless, there are also students of the Filipino arts who are tremendously fast and strong when they “roll,” but who will be hit consistently when faced with an opponent who departs from the pattern. If a student skips too many steps in his/her mad dash on the road to reality in any martial arts practice, the building blocks are weak and will not hold up under the barrage of even a moderately skilled opponent determined to inflict damage. At the same time, if one keeps hammering away at the same basic drills ad infinitumwithout adapting them to meet more advanced training needs, one merely becomes an accomplished beginner regardless of what rank one holds.

As long as the concepts discussed above remain paramount, any prearranged drill (e.g. Dan Kumite, or the various Yakusoku Kumite of other Uechi organizations) can become the foundation for a successful training progression. The following example using Kyu Kumite is representative of the program I use with my students. The steps below are arranged in roughly the order in which I introduce them, but can also be mixed and matched to work on the development and/or sharpening of specific skills. In each step, changes introduced in previous iterations can be retained while incorporating new aspects into the drill, or students can return to the more traditional version with only the newest variable added. Initially, of course, students start off simply learning the basic sequences and performing them in typical “white belt” Kyu Kumite fashion: attacks aimed at non vital targets (e.g. sternum) for safety; one move per count; slow unfocused attacks. As students demonstrate basic competence, speed and focus of attacks should be increased, though attacks are still delivered singly with a count for each attack. Students should be encouraged even at this level to practice in a fairly realistic fashion within the confines of the basic sequences and strikes should land if the defense  (i.e., ma’ai, tai sabaki and uke waza) is not sound. After students have achieved this basic level of competence in the drill, any of the variations enumerated below can begin to be added:


  • Uke (attacker) should now direct attacks at more vital targets such as face, solar plexus, and groin. Returning to non-vital targets for a brief time as each new segment of the training progression is added may be advisable for safety.


  • Same as A, but now uke launches attacks at variable times after the count. Attention should be paid to ensure tori isn’t anticipating the attack by moving or blocking early. Uke should be discouraged from making a game of this segment by “faking” the attack.
  • An entire sequence (e.g. the first half of #1) is performed in one direction after each count; uke performs all attacks, and then becomes tori on the next count.
  • Same as C, but uke should attempt to attack fluidly with no breaks in the attack other than those forced by tori (e.g. when tori has trapped uke’s side kick in #4). At this point, it will be necessary for tori to adapt traditional uke waza and tai sabaki toward “what works.” Also by this stage uke’s punches should be launched from sanchin kamae with no chambering, and should return to sanchin immediately after full extension.
  • Tori adds a takedown or restraining technique at the end of each sequence.
  • No count. It may be advisable to reintroduce a count  as new aspects are introduced to the drill to allow controlled learning.
  • No count and should be performed with one partner as uke all the way through (i.e. #1 through #5), with the goal of “chaining” together all the attacks in one direction. Some sequences may need to be altered slightly to accomplish this.
  • Tori may try to interrupt uke and counterattack before what is traditionally the last attack in that sequence.
  • As in H, but after tori successfully interrupts the attack, s/he immediately begins attacking with another one of the sequences (thus becoming uke).
  • Sequences performed singly but uke may attack with any sequence s/he chooses.
  • Tori starts in sanchin kamae, uke starts the attack from a neutral stance with hands at his/her sides.
  • Both uke and tori start in a neutral stance with hands at sides.
  • Uke may “break the pattern” for one move at a time, adding one attack drawn from elsewhere in the drill but should then complete the sequence that s/he initially began.
  • Uke can begin with one sequence and end with another.
  • Uke may attack with a random mix of 2-3 techniques – all of which should be from Kyu Kumite.
  • Uke may change the attacks in the kumite to more “realistic” ones. Examples could include hook punches instead of straight punches in #1, varying the angle of attack for the club attack in #4, substituting a low round kick in #5, etc. This will necessitate tori changing some of the uke waza, some of which will not work for specific attack variations.
  • Two or more attackers (as in kanshiwa bunkai), each of whom attacks with a different sequence. Of primary importance is that tori remain aware of all of the attackers. To that end, s/he may need to alter the tai sabaki or ma’ai, and should ideally try to use the uke against one another.



Although the various aspects of the drills above can be introduced in a different order depending on the needs of particular students, the direction of the training progression should proceed in a way that takes into consideration both safety and skill development. To this end it is useful to balance the concepts of risk and predictability as aspects of the progression are introduced. As students progress in their training, either risk can be increased or predictability can be reduced, but care should be taken not to change both parameters at once.

The concept of maintaining correct structure when in the role of tori is crucial to this entire process. One should not make the mistake of interpreting this as an injunction to perform these drills as if they were kata, but rather to ensure that the techniques within the drill are being performed correctly regardless of which thematic aspect of the drill is being emphasized at the moment. Although the execution of the technique may not appear smooth or pretty, especially when uke is throwing multiple attacks in quick succession, the true test is one of efficacy. For example, assuming that the attacks are being performed honestly – i.e. with the intent of landing the strike – it should be rapidly apparent whether or not the uke waza has been performed correctly.

I have attempted to outline above what I consider to be the  essential elements of any yakusoku drill which has self defense skill optimization as its goal. Given the limitations of the print medium, some of this may not be as clear as I would like. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/breathing-a-cooperative-drills/

Dec 28 2008

Happy New Year

              Happy New Year to all. . .

2008 was both an exciting and enjoyable year for the Mattson family.

SummerFest was a huge success, with friends and associates taking the opportunity to work out together while helping me celebrate 50 years of teaching Uechi-ryu karate.

2008 WinterFest was also a big success. A surprising number of friends showed up for the Friday golf tournament and the seminars held the following day went really well.

My students here in Florida are working hard to make sure the 2009 WinterFest will provide an enjoyable as well as interesting experience for participants. Since the karate program has become part of the Mount Dora Recreation Department, the city will be handling all the administrative chores associated with the event.. All I have to do is show up and participate! This WinterFest, I’ll be teaching one seminar each day, continuing with the subject matter of 2008 where I described and taught what I considered to be a useful and workable course curriculum which begins with ‘core’ Uechi. Then showing how compatible martial art skills branching out from the ‘core’ system can be taught.

Aside from my seminars, we will be honored with the presence and teaching skills of many senior martial art instructors who will be attending. Of course, WinterFest would not be complete without our golf tournament. . . this year sponsored by the Warrior Golf Company, who will be donating free custom wedges to all participants.

Sunday should be interesting. This year the Mount Dora Recreation Department and my students will be hosting an open ‘FireDragon Challenge’  which will be taken by WinterFest participants and local residents. A local Kungfu school will kick-off the Challenge with a Dragon dance. Should be fun and interesting. Hope you can join us. . .

George E. Mattson

Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/happy-new-year-message/

Dec 27 2008

GEM websites

Website created and maintained by Patty Dando: 


Website created for people interested in the “Virtual” Dojo experimental Program:



Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/gem-websites/

Dec 26 2008

Dave Young 2009 Seminars

Important seminar that you and your martial art family and friends should attend. July 11 & 12, 2009

Click here for TalkShoe interview with Dave

The telephone interview explains his program and how it fits in to our traditional martial art training.


Defensive Tactics, Corrections

NTC RedMan Training
Dave Young, Director of Training
1.888.NTC.7144, Ext. 1632.

RedMan Training at Northcentral Technical College (NTC) offers a series of specialized law enforcement training programs that provide hands-on, realistic scenarios to prepare participants for critical decision-making when real-life confrontations arise. Instructors provide knowledge and skills in courses such as Immediate Use of Force, Edged Weapons Defense, Water Safety Survival, Force Management Protection, Cell
Extraction and more.


  • RedMan Instructor Certification Training
  • Crowd Management for Law Enforcement & Corrections (CERT and SORT Training)
  • Non Lethal Weapons Certification and Training
  • Ground Combat Survival Certifications
  • Specialized Programs for Officer Survival
  • Founder of Water Combat Survival Training for Law Enforcement

Instructor/Program Director: Dave Young

  • Former Law Enforcement and Corrections Officer in the state of Florida
  • U.S. Marine Veteran and SRT Commander
  • Internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and course developer
  • More than 25 years of combined experience in civilian and military law enforcement training
  • Chairman of PoliceOne.com Advisory Board
  • Member of Police Magazine and CorrectionsOne.com Advisory Board
  • Technical Advisory Board for Force Science Research Center
  • Host for National Geographic Channel for Crash Test Human and Police Tech Series
  • Published authority and expert on training in the fields of officer survival, non lethal weapons, crowd management, ground combat survival, defensive tactics and founder of water combat survival training for marine and law enforcement officers

Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/dave-young-seminars/

Dec 21 2008

Happy holidays

Happy Holidays to all

from George and Susan. . .

Sterling Glasheen (2000) With Santa

Permanent link to this article: https://uechi-ryu.com/happy-holidays/

Dec 18 2008


Tia: May 10, 1994 – Dec 17, 2008

Tia1Yesterday, Sue and I maintained our regular daily routine with Tia. We both knew our beloved Tia was failing, yet neither one of us wanted to talk about what we needed to do. Tia was suffering from Cushing disease, which she had for more than five years, but wasn’t officially diagnosed until 7 months ago. Medication slowed down the disease and other than a steady weakening of her rear legs and loss of some hair, you couldn’t really tell she was sick. Bullies are a hearty breed and Tia was no exception. Yesterday was the first time her tail wasn’t wagging when a guest came to our house. We took her to her Vet who confirmed what both Sue and I knew. . . It was time to say goodbye.

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