Uechi Ryu Karate

What is Uechi Ryu Karate

Uechi Ryu is a traditional Okinawan style of karate developed by Kanbun Uechi in the early 1900’s, following Kanbun’s training for a number of years in China.

During the 1960s, Uechi-Ryu Karate-do grew tremendously around the world due to the efforts of Kanei Uechi, who was awarded judan (tenth degree) in 1967 by both the Zen Nihon Karate-do Renmei (All Japan Karate Federation) and the Zen Okinawa Karate-do Renmei (All Okinawa Karate Federation). It was during the 1950s and 60s that many of the supplemental exercises were added to the style: the warm up exercises, “hojo undo”, the technical drills, five intermediate katas, and the kumite sparring drills.

Kanei Uechi developed a set of pre-arranged sparring exercises for the pre-black colored belt ranks. These exercises are referred to as yakusoku kumite. They involve two partners exchanging a formal sequence of blocks and strikes. There are five to eleven of these exercises, and each one involves three to six exchanges of single blocks and strikes. The kumite exercises involve blocks and strikes that are, for the most part, also found in Uechi-Ryū kata. Thus, like kata no bunkai, these exercises help students become familiar with the application of Uechi-Ryū techniques. Typically, the highest kyu ranks are expected to be able to move through these exercises with great strength and fluidity. Dan level students practice additional pre-arranged sparring exercises.

Special forms of strength training and body conditioning are generally practiced in Uechi-Ryū drilling. A formal Uechi-Ryū forearm conditioning exercise, called kote kitae, involves the ritualized pounding of one’s fists and forearms against the forearms of a partner. Kanbun Uechi learned this conditioning exercise in China. A similar Uechi-Ryū exercise involves exchanging leg kicks with a partner (ashi kotae).

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