This style was founded by Uechi Kanbun (1877-1948). Uechi Kanbun was born in Motobu Village Izumi. At 20, he moved to Fujian China and trained for 13 years under Nanpa Shorin-ken master Shushiwa. In 1909, he returned to Okinawa and although becoming friend with White-crane Kempo expert and tea business owner Go Genki, he didn’t teach his martial art.

In 1924, he moved to Wakayama in mainland Japan and from 1926, under the request from the local Okinawa people association started teaching his version of kempo. In 1932, he established the “Pangainon-ryu Todi-jutsu Kenkyujo” and started to seriously transmit his art. He changed the name of his style for Uechi-ryu in 1940. After the end of the Pacific War, Uechi-ryu became a standard and fighting-oriented martial art highly reputed which counts many disciples.

The original kata of Chinese transmission are Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseiryu. With these 3 as axles, Kanshiwa, Kanshu, Seichin, Seiryu and Kanchin were devised after the war to raise the number to 8 kata. It was done so during the time of the 2nd head of the style Uechi Kanei who succeed to his father. From 1960, the organization became quiet active establishing many overseas branches.

Actively pursuing the search for true martial art like karate together with a contest side, Uechi-ryu organized the 1st Uechi ryu Karatedo Tournament on September 15, 1968. It was the first time that an Okinawan style organized a Kata and Kumite contest carried out in public.

Today, Uechi-ryu counts various branches and also has many branches in Japan and overseas.


Sources: Okinawa Karate Standard Text (Written by Tsuha Kiyoshi as per request from the NPO Okinawa Karatedo Kobudo Support Center)