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Uechi-ryu karate is one of the three main styles of karate in Okinawa, which is the birthplace of karate.  Uechi-ryu is named after Kanbun Uechi, an Okinawan who traveled to southern China in the late nineteenth century.  It was there he learned a form of kung fu called pangainoon, loosely translated to mean “half hard, half soft.”

Kanbun retunred to Okinawa in 1909 but did not teach at first.  In 1924 a co-worker, Ryuyu Tomoyose, convinced Kanbun to teach him martial arts.  From that point Kanbun’s reputation grew and he opened a general store and dojo in 1932 to teach pangainoon to the general public.

In 1940, his system of martial arts was renamed Uechi-ryu karate jutsu by his students in honor of Kanbun.  Upon Kanbun’s passing in 1948 his son Kaneibecame the head of the organization and taught at a dojo in Futenma, Okinawa until his death in 1991.  The Futenma dojo still stands today and Uechi-ryu continues to be taught be members of the Uechi family there.

Uechi-ryu karate emphasizes a strong body and quick, efficient strikes.  Uechi-ryu’s three unique strikes are the one knuckle punch (shoken), spear hand strike (nukite) and front kick using the big toe (sokusen geri).

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