While Kanbun Uechi was in Wakayama,
Japan, his eldest son Kanei lived in Okinawa with his mother. After Kanei
reached thirteen years of age, he lived with his grandmother for three years.
In 1927, at
sixteen years old, Kanei traveled to Wakayama and joined his
father. Kanei joined the Shataku dojo and began chuan fa training
under his father.
realized he would be the successor of the martial arts legacy left
by his father. He took this responsibility seriously and trained
daily with great enthusiasm to become proficient in Pangainoon.
After ten years of rigorous study Kanei Uechi received a
certificate of instruction and full proficiency from his father in
1937. At age 26, he opened a branch dojo of his own, the Osaka
In 1941, Kanei
Uechi was promoted by his father to Master level. In 1942, Kanei,
with his wife and family, returned to his mother's new home in the
village of Miyazato, near Nago, Okinawa.
first Okinawa dojo
Kanei Uechi began
teaching his twenty-five year old brother Kansei and other young
men from the village in the yard of his home. This was the first
time Pangainoon (soon to become Uechi ryu) was taught in Okinawa.
Kanei closed his
dojo after only two years. He and his students responded to the
government call into the war effort to defend Okinawa.
then twenty years old, learned from his father, Ryuyu, that Kanei
was back in Okinawa. In April 1949, he helped Kanei Uechi
establish the Uechi ryu Karate jutsu Kenkyu-jo in Ginowan-son, Aza
Nodake, known as the Nodake dojo. The style name was then changed
from Pangainoon karate jutsu to Uechi ryu karate jutsu in honor of
In 1957, Kanei
Uechi combined the Futenma dojo and the Kanzatobaru dojo. The
resulting dojo was relocated a short distance to a new site.
Uechi ryu karate and the Futenma dojo were open to the public,
including American servicemen in 1958.
Kanei Uechi was
very ambitious about organizing and teaching his father's system.
He recognized the difficulty in teaching newer generations in the
rough manner of the past. His desire was to make Uechi ryu karate
available to the public at a level at which they could
participate, without compromising the integrity and authenticity
Toward this end
Kanei and other senior Uechi ryu practitioners created four new
kata between 1954 and 1958. These were to be used as
steppingstones between the three kata that Kanbun Uechi brought
In June 1958,
Kanei Uechi held the first dan test and awarded the first belt
ranks in Uechi ryu karate. Students of Kanbun Uechi such as Seiko
Toyama and Seiyu Shinjo were promoted to Godan (fifth degree)
while others received first through fourth degree promotions
depending on their seniority and ability.
In July 1959
Kanei Uechi was awarded the Master Instructor Certificate by Ryuyu
In February 1967,
Kanei, at age fifty-six, was promoted to Hanshi Judan (tenth
degree) by the Japanese Karate-do Federation, Zen Nihon Karate-do
In May 1975,
Kanei, sixty-four years old, was elected President of the All
Okinawa Karate-do Federation, Zen Okinawa Karate Renmei, which had
been founded in May 1956. In April 1977, Kanei was promoted to
Hanshi Judan by that association, ten years after his promotion
In 1987, Kanei
Uechi was hospitalized with a severe stomach ailment. He remained
in that frail condition until his death on February 21, 1991. He
was eighty years old.
Kanei was a kind,
gentle person like his father. His soft-spoken manner was in
direct conflict with the expressiveness of his karate. He
dedicated his life to his father's style of karate and directed
his efforts to its propagation. Kanei Uechi's vision and years of
tenacious work have created a karate system that is practiced in
many countries throughout the world.
Okinawan Uechi Ryu Karate Kenyukai