Aug 29 2008

Official Tia Portrait

GEM vs Killer Squirrel

I’ve received quite a few requests for an old video I made about Seymour, the “killer” squirrel. (who kept raiding my bird feeder) Check it out!

Results of the 2008 SummerFest FireDragon Challenge posted:

Thanks to Bill Glasheen for heading up the testing and tabulation of the scores for this year’s Challenge. I just received the spreadsheet with the scores and posted them to the FireDragon’s site.
(link can be found in the left table of contents)  The next challenge will be conducted at WinterFest. I hope you will be able to join us. G.E.M.

Official Tia Portrait

With all the fanfare associated with my 50th Anniversary, Tia, who is dealing with Cushings Disease, and who is accustomed to constant attention and adoration from her many world-wide fans and friends, has been extremely depressed lately. Judy Durkin, a famous artist from New Hampshire, heard about Tia’s depression and volunteered to paint Tia’s official portrait, celebrating her nearly 15 years of service to the Uechi community and for providing so much love and devotion to Susan and me, as a sure fire way to perk her up.

The portrait done in pastels arrived today and everyone agrees is it absolutely beautiful. Tia checked it out carefully and also approves.
Tia's official portrait
Don’t I look “regal?”
Thank you, Judy!

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Aug 18 2008

Sanchin on the Beach

8/26/2008: New Gary Geddes photos from SummerFest!

8/24/2008:Someone just emailed me – The site made it to the 2nd page of the “karate” category on Google!

WinterFest 2009

Where: Mount Dora, FL
Thu, Feb 26 – “Warrior Golf Tournament” (sponsored by the Warrior Golf Company)
Fri, Feb 27 – WinterFest Seminars
Sat, Feb 28 – WinterFest Seminars
Sun, Mar 1 – Community FireDragon Challenge (Open to community and martial artists).

Sanchin on the Beach. . .Sanchin on the Beach

Everyone seemed to enjoy the morning workout I conducted. Each session provided me with an opportunity to provide students and teachers with a new and at least for me, an interesting look at Sanchin and how this fascinating kata provides insight and a training mechanism for everything in our Uechi-ryu system. This year we had nearly a hundred students attending each 6:30AM session.
Click on the photograph to view Gary Geddes SummerFest gallery of pictures.
I’m working on WinterFest now. If you have any suggestions for a theme or program session, please contact me. Also. . . what are the best dates for you?
Once again, I wish to thank everyone who attended SummerFest and made my 50th anniversary teaching Uechi-ryu so special.

George E. Mattson

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Aug 14 2008

Report from Max and Mia

Thanks. . . to

Jeremiah Johnson, 916.420.2264 of who designed the artwork for this year’s beautiful t-shirt. . .  and to "Rich" from The T-Shirt Master, in Quincy, MA who really is a master at silkscreening. Our t-shirts, printed by Rich, are of the very best quality and workmanship. You may reach him at 617.472.8658.

A day at the Summerfest:

Max and MiaSaturday 9, 2008

The POV of a young Uechi-Ryu Practitioner

    The weather couldn’t get much better. In the morning, fog drifted in from Buzzard Bay and swirled around the massive TS Enterprise. Through the cafeteria windows we watched the sun slowly breaking through the mist. From then on it was all glorious, a light breeze rippling the canvas of the gigantic tent, the grass deep green in the shadows. 

    We arrived at the Mass Maritime Academy for Sensei George Mattson’s 25th Summerfest camp late Friday afternoon, just in time to watch the last black belt being tested. Afterwards, Sensei Mattson took time off to give Max and I a lesson out on the grass. We have been his virtual students for a few months now, and it felt like a historic moment to be critiqued by him in person, during his famous Summerfest!  However, my nerves got the best of me, and I forgot to correct my kanchu opening as he had explained in detail during the last online lesson… He then showed us the importance of keeping the wrists straight and strong for ‘closed gate’ at the end of Sanchin. 


Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 12 2008

Finding a good Dojo/ teacher


The teacher is more important than the dojo!

[From G.E.Mattson’s new book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate”]

When looking for a school, try to find one that teaches a style that is suited to your natural abilities. Make sure that you meet the person who will be teaching you. Watch him teach at least two classes. If possible, watch a new student class. Imagine you being in that class. Will you feel comfortable and confident with your teacher’s knowledge, ability and personality?

Although the style is important, the teacher is the key to your success. A good teacher will be able to adapt a marginal system to your individual needs and goals. A poor teacher, one who is egotistical or one dimensional, will take a great system and transmit it badly. Do not blindly accept rank or trophies as a judge of teaching ability. Often those who can do, cannot teach! Many teachers own schools for all the wrong reasons! Try to stay clear of these schools and teachers.

When searching for a teacher, find one who follows the philosophy of “not injuring a student while trying to help him”.

Often, people will ask me how to select a school, style or teacher. If you are contemplating studying karate, and have not yet selected a school, my discussion on this subject might help you understand a little more about the art and the people who teach it. You might also be a little better prepared to select your school.

There are quite a few teachers who consider themselves “tougher” and better fighters than the “professional” instructors who are so successful today. For obvious reasons, their schools seldom have very many students. The teacher might be an excellent athlete and a wonderful person, but his training methods may be better suited for Navy Seals than what you are capable of achieving.

Even though you might like to study at this dojo, your odds of staying with the pro gram won’t be any better than the school’s hundreds of other drop-outs. Regardless of how much you want to take the “hard” road, spend the first year in a traditional school that has a proven track record for holding their students. There are no bragging rights for having dropped out of the toughest martial art school in America.

Young teachers often will run schools where the training is geared to the very young and strong. People not able to keep up with the younger program quickly drop out, or do not join in the first place. Conversely, older teachers often gear their classes for a more mature audience and might turn off younger students and potential students.

Teachers do not consciously specialize in the caliber of instruction offered at their dojo. Often, the program is subtly focused on a specific category and without the instructor realizing it, his school takes on a one dimensional characteristic.

You are responsible for your own progress and destiny. Your teacher is a guide. He should be responsible and sensitive to your short and long term goals. If he is not, then you should check out another teacher.

There are many reputable organizations, schools and teachers. Many have direct ties with their teacher and respected organizations. These associations tend to be more “traditional”, in that the members value the link with the styles’ heritage and attempt, through the group’s standards, to maintain the system’s key/core elements. Member schools agree on standards for rank, which relates to the trademark forms, sets and drills that make up the heart of the system.

Students joining schools belonging to a reputable association, have the best chance of receiving excellent instruction while having confidence that the diploma received for rank has some value.

First check to see if a school and teacher has a direct tie to a national organization that in turn has a link with a well known International organization. If a tie exists, then you at least know the school you are interested in, is being supervised in some capacity by individuals who are knowledgeable about the art. Even with this basic assurance, you should still talk with new students in the school and watch a few classes, taught by the person who will be teaching you during your first course.

If the school does not have ties with a national or international organization, deter mine if the school specializes in a single system or style. Even if the dojo does not have ties with a well recognized group, it may have strong positive leadership, thoroughly versed in a traditional style of karate. In this situation, be especially careful in checking out the school’s credentials and those of the parent organization, if applicable.

Find out who will be teaching your classes. What are their credentials? How long have they been teaching and/or in business? Finally, watch a few classes and talk with people who have been attending classes.

Since you will, by extension, be part of the association, learn as much as you can about any parent organization. Be skeptical of those groups whose sole function is issuing rank certificates. Find out as much as possible about the people who are in charge of the organization. . . Their background and years in the art. Find out if the par ent group offer seminars and other methods for keeping member schools up to standards.

Even though an individual might be an excellent teacher and technician, he should have some way to keep up his own training and teaching methods. Good teachers learn from one another and need others to make sure subtle day by day changes don’t vary too much from the standards of the system or organization.

I often talk about a dojo having a life of its own, made up of students and teachers. By watching a few classes and talking to members, you should get a sense of whether you will fit in with the dojo and its members. The more schools you check out, the better sense of value and compatibility you will have.

Be aware and make sure you feel comfortable with the dojo you select. Few people would buy the first car they look at. Most of us will do research prior to ever visiting a showroom. Not surprisingly, karate schools have far more options/variables to offer than cars and interestingly enough, today the financial commitment involved, equal or surpass that of an automobile purchase!

Finally, there are hybrid groups, dedicated to specialized areas, such as Mixed Martial Arts, Point Tournament or Kick Boxing training. These organizations recognize the limitations of their sports and address issues that relate specifically to their interests. Schools that train students to participate in these activities should be up-front about what they offer.

Your comments and suggestions should be of value to your instructor during the course of your training. You are the best person to know your limits and capacity for learning. If you need more help, or if you need to progress more slowly, do not be afraid to discuss your concerns with your teacher. He may have his own reasons for pushing you beyond what you consider correct. But he may not be familiar with your concerns that are valid. If there are 250 students in your school, it is difficult for the teacher to know everything about you that relates to how you can best learn safely and effectively

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Aug 12 2008

SummerFest 2008

SummerFest photo galleryJoe Lewis and Rob Buckland. . .

Two of the more than 50 spectacular instructors who made this years SummerFest the best one in its 25 year history.

Hundreds of photographs and video clips were taken during the long weekend and will be posted, as received and edited, in the Uechi Photo Gallery.

Click on the photo to visit the Gallery and enjoy the weekend seminars, parties and celebration as they were recorded by Flora Kung. (famous clothing designer whose two children, Max and Mia participated in the activities.)

Letter from Joe Lewis. . .

Mr. Mattson,
I want to again thank you for the experience of working with you at the 2008 Uechi-ryu Summer fest.  I congratulate you on the successful effort you have made in building your Uechi-ryu organization. Even more importantly, I admired the respect and confident humility exchanged between those members participating.  You should feel proud of what you have accomplished with your associates going way back to 1958.
During the nearly forty-five years I have been a black belt, I have known, sparred, fought, taught, and trained with hundreds of black belts from Okinawa. You and I know that during the late fifties and early sixties, Okinawa was the Mecca for learning real Karate. Unfortunately, the majority of those Okinawan (trained) black belts vanished and left nothing of importance behind. 

This vacuum they left does not dignify all the months of training they went through, nor does it revere the sacred virtues for which Okinawan martial arts stood. I never understood why anyone, especially a black belt, would work so hard to get something and then simply give it up and quit. If a fight is worth fighting, then it should be worth winning.  If training hard for months to attain something is worth achieving, then it should be worth actively maintaining to dignify what it stands for. 
It is an honor and a pleasure to know and work with a fellow Okinawan black belt, like yourself, who understands and exercises those training virtues and teaching disciplines which dignify that of a true Grandmaster.
From one Champion to another,
Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis Web site: Email:

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Aug 12 2008


10/24/2008 – Early Registration Discount!


Make plans to attend WinterFest in February. Register NOW to earn a big discount! Planning ahead is the best way to ensure best prices on airfare and lodging. . . Remember,  February is a very hot vacation month and Florida is where everyone wants to go!
If you stuck your head out of the door early this morning in the Northeast, you probably got a taste of the cold weather that is coming. Sure you can take it for a couple months, but by February I’m sure you will welcome a martial art vacation in picturesque (and warm) Mount Dora, Florida!
I will be teaching one seminar each day. The theme will once again be “Building a Strong Uechi-ryu Core” andthe emphasis will be on the method of teaching Uechi-ryu I have used successfully for many years – based on what I originally learned on Okinawa.
In this era of mixed martial arts, many Uechi teachers are losing confidence in their “core” Uechi strengths and skills. Instead of focusing on what students are really searching for, teachers are attempting to shore-up their programs with eclectic methods of training that have no relavency to the Uechi system. We will once again be reviewing the Uechi core system and working on how practitioners of all ranks can achieve their personal goals, regardless of what they may be. We will explore how the system, like the hub of a wheel, can relate to advanced and unique specialities within the martial arts, but always with a strong link to the core system. . . The “hub”.
Click Here to reserve your spot at the 2009 WinterFest and to reward your foresight, Susan will discount your payment by a whopping $50.00! Discount ends January 15, 2009. 

P.S. Make sure you bring your golf clubs and swim suit!



Register Today for the 2009 WinterFest in Mount Dora, Florida:

WinterFest is coming along nicely. Getting lots of inquiries regarding the schedule and questions about when the application will be posted.Well, if you click the photograph, you will be taken to the WinterFest website. If you click here, you can sign-up for the event. (be sure to let me know if you will be playing in the Thursday’s “Warrior’s” golf tournament. This year we will be having multiple seminars being conducted each hour of the day. . . like SummerFest. I’ll be conducting a whole series focusing on various Uechi “components” and how they work to make your Uechi such a realistic fighting system.

Quite a few “presenters” will be helping make this year’s event a most interesting and valuable supplement to your ongoing training. Please contact me if you would like to be a “presenter” and be sure to include a summary of the seminar you would like to teach.

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Aug 11 2008

What’s New in 2009

With the closing of 2008, I’m looking forward to the beginning of a new era in the development of the Uechi-ryu karate system practiced by IUKF members. I’m ‘kicking’ off the new year with a brand new website format that is easier for me to edit and possible for contributors to help build.

I’ll be  looking for editors who will be contributing articles on subjects of interest to the martial art community. And of course there will be opportunities to discuss these subjects in greater depth on our very popular forums. Since the site gets thousands of visitors every day and most of these people don’t visit the forums, I’m hoping this feature will motivate people to drop in and contribute to the forum community.

My “virtual” dojo will be entering a new era come 2009. After nearly three years of experimenting with different programs and teaching methods, I’ve developed a “long distance” dojo that works. Now that the program is working smoothly, I’m in the process of adding new subjects to the curriculum. Dave Young has volunteered to be the first guest instructor and will be offering a fantastic on-line civilian course in “realistic” self defense. Included will be all the techniques, drills and training necessary to take your “traditional” martial arts to another “realist” level.

Lots of training in “force continuum” will also be covered. . . understanding how the law, judges and juries look at “preemptive” strikes, fight communication and all those things many macho martial art teachers gloss over in class and on the internet. 

Dave will be conducting a series of on-line seminars in 2009 as part of the “virtual dojo” program. I hope you will be joining us at Dave’s seminars, both on-line and the ones he is conducting at dojo around the country.

Many people have already signed up to purchase advanced copies of my new book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate”, due out early in 2009. I had hoped to have it published for SummerFest in 2008, but with all the other projects demanding time and attention, our team has had to delay the date of release. 

The new website is a work in progress. There are literally thousands of articles, features and photos that have to be edited and moved. I don’t know if I’ll be able to move all the registered members of the old site to the new one, but we are trying. If not, please re-register so you will be able to view all the restricted features open only to registered users.

Have a peaceful, happy and prosperous holiday season and new year.


George E. Mattson



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Aug 11 2008

mannyneves tournament 2008

Greetings Senseis and Black Belts,

kids tournament series

This message comes with my sincere wish that you’re all doing well and training vigorously.
In the past several months, four of your brothers in Uechi-ryu Karate-Do (America) have been working diligently to unite the younger members of our style in some friendly competition. Those brothers are, Bob Bethoney, Darin Yee, Len Testa and Me.

I’ve been training  in Uechi-ryu Karate long enough (since 1967) to know that, no matter what rank you are, what you do for a living, how many degrees you have, how many students you have, who you study with or how many trophies you’ve won, you’re nothing unless you exhibit what is known as Bushido.

In the spirit of Bushido (The warriors way) I would like to invite you and your students to our third event of the 2008 Uechiryu Karate Championship Series. I’m calling this tournament:

UECHI FORCE KARATE TOURNAMENT in honor of the great  Master Uechi Kanei.

Please find the time Saturday, October 4, 2008 to attend the event
at the Jungleplex, 8 Natalie Way, Plymouth, MA. We’ll have opening ceremonies at 9:00am sharp. The black belt meeting will be at 8:30am. This Series is doing great!  Bob and Darin set a good pace for success. I hope I can do the same. We’re having a banquet in November to award the Champions their trophies, we’ll talk about Uechi-ryu, make friends and have a great meal together.
Lastly, some of you may not know me. I’m  willing to go to your dojo and tell you about my up-coming tournament and the Series. I’m also willing to teach a class for you. I go to Okinawa (Master Arakaki’s Yagibaru Dojo) every year for training in Karate-Do and Kobudo. I’m sure you’d find the things that I teach are something you’ve never seen before in Uechi-ryu.  
The flyer for the event is attached.   Please hang it on your bulletin boards to let your students (17 and younger) know about the event.     

Manny Neves

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Aug 09 2008

uechi-ryu and self-defense

Self-defense role in the Traditional Dojo

[From G.E.Mattson’s new book, “The Way of Uechi-ryu Karate” – to be published soon]

9/11 is one of the most powerful and emotional terms in the English language. The day was burned into the memory of every American. I can only recall one other day having such impact. The day President John Kennedy was shot – a day that will forever be a bookmark in my memory. The tragedy of 9/11 affected the martial arts and spawned a whole new breed of innovators in the self defense field. The term “real­ism” crept into the staid and musty dojo, providing a benchmark by which everyone began to measure the effectiveness of their training.

Traditional martial arts have always survived by emphasizing the spiritual and mental benefits. Early proponents bragged that what they taught was the “ultimate” in self defense, but few were tested and few were aware of either their strengths or weaknesses.

9/11 changed all that. For some reason or other, “reality” was very much evident in our daily lives. We didn’t just read about terrorism that happened to other nations, we were now in the middle of it. Where formally we trained in lofty ideals where actual fighting didn’t exist, we now questioned our methods, our instructors and our mindset. The dojo became a place where theoretical and reality crossed paths.

One of my greatest fears during this transition was that people would abandon the traditional martial arts in favor of programs based on pure self-defense skills (Jutsu), absent of any values inherent in the traditional martial arts (Do). I believed that the old ways contained all the elements of fighting that was needed to make a person combat ready, but was hidden in the rituals of kata (one person sets) and bunkai (multiple person drills). All I had to do to retain the traditional while intro­ducing the realistic, was to redefine the methods of interpreting the old methods.

After all, boxing went through much of the same type of evolution. It began as rig­idly defined sport with rules that perpetuated the rituals while discouraging any experimentation and modifications. People will argue about whether the old-time fighters are better than the modern ones, but aside from making interesting conver­sation, few will really believe a Jack Dempsey would last long against many mod­ern professional fighters. Techniques, training methods, coaching and diet all give the modern fighter an edge that cannot be overcome with ritual and tradition.

Faced with these decisions, martial art schools had to decide on an action plan. A majority of dojo, when threatened by this transition, withdrew into redefining Karate from a self-defense based training program where physical and mental were equally emphasized, into a kind of babysitting service where children were taught good manners, respect and discipline, using traditional martial art basic training. Nothing really wrong with this, except they still call what they do “Karate”! In the early years of karate, people viewed what we did as the “ultimate in self defense”, today people are being brainwashed into believing that karate is a form of baby sitting, where their kids are given “good manner” instructions unavailable and unattainable from their conventional schools.

Other dojo buried their collective heads in the sand, pretending that what they do is still the “ultimate” in self defense and that the “old” ways remain not only the best, but vastly superior to what is being offered by the eclectic “flavor of the month” self defense programs being offered by everyone who has ever been in a street fight or bounced at a local nightclub.

The schools that I believe took the most reasonable approach, simply redefined the fifty percent physical training being offered and measured its effectiveness by today’s standards of fitness and practical/realistic fighting methods.

Where in the past we practiced defensive and counter moves against primitive weapons seldom if ever used on the streets, today we acknowledge the presence of guns, knives, baseball bats and tire chains as being weapons a person might poten­tially encounter on the street.

Within the fifty percent “mind” part of our program, we factor in “mindset” and verbal self-defense as part of what makes up our self defense arsenal. Knowing the law concerning weapons and self-defense is also a very important part of what a traditional dojo must offer its students.

In other words, today’s traditional dojo is no longer just about punching and kick­ing. In other sections of this book I will touch on these subjects. Here I will describe some of the training methods that can bridge the theoretical and traditional with the realism. . . In a relatively safe manner..

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Aug 09 2008

G.E.Mattson’s dojo in Florida

George E. Mattson Classes:


Mount Dora Community Center: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-7PM


Mattson Academy “Virtual” Dojo program.


Private Lessons: Call 321-273-0409













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