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Uechi’s China Link

by George Mattson

Uechi-ryu practitioners are indeed very fortunate to have someone of Darin Yee’s ability willing to share his experiences in Chinese martial arts with us, helping us all understand the history and connection our Uechi-ryu has with China. . . the originators of the roots and core methods of our style. Darin has been reluctant to share this information, as many may feel he is attempting to take credit away from Okinawa and our teachers who learned our style from Kanbun Uechi. I’ve convinced Darin to present two seminars on this topic at WinterFest, which will be held in Mound Dora, Florida the last weekend in February. I hope you will all join us and benefit from what should be a very interesting and informative weekend. G.E.Mattson

For the past 25 years, I have been studying southern style kung fu in southern china especially around the Fujhou Providence.  The concentration was on styles which contain movements similar to those which we practice in our Uechi-Ryu.

As a result, I’ve found our movements in almost every major system practiced in southern china.  Most if not all our Uechi-Ryu movements are contained in the original, authentic hung gar style whose master form is the “Tiger – Crane double image”.  Although the movements are not performed with the same insight which we are taught, they are all done in the same motion and taught the exact way which they are to be used.  There is very little room for various, individual interpitations.

I know there are people who think my practice of Uechi-Ryu resemble kung fu and not the Uechi-Ryu karate everyone else has practiced their entire martial art life.  I do not disagree.  My practice of Uechi-Ryu does very much shout “kung-fu”.  After 50 years of kung fu and 40 years of Uechi-Ryu, my practice of the martial arts has to reflect my life’s studies.  After all, where did Kanbun Uechi study?  Was it not kung fu in southern China?


As to the knowledge to our movements, I’ve studied several systems which contained our movements and endorse each and every concept.  There is no incorrect usage of movements just how each fits us as individuals.  On the other hand, we must not dismiss movements which we do not use as an individual, they may be a better fit for our students.


Due to the lack of interest for debates, I refrain from teaching that which I’ve gathered in my life of studies.  Now that mortality became an issue due to my age, I feel I need to share that which I’ve accumulated these past 50 years.

God willing, I will be attending George’s “Winter Feast and Summer Camp”.  There is so much to transfer and these events are so short.  At this time, there are some whom has arranged to work out with me one day a week.  I am demonstrating our Uechi-Ryu movement and the matching kung fu movements with its purpose.  I will also incite you to think about these movements and further understand them as well as understanding yourself.  After all, we do not work to fit the art.  We work the art to fit us as individuals.

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