The History of Uechi Ryu Karate
The history of Uechiryu (pronounced way-chee-roo) starts in Okinawa with the birth of its founder: Kanbun Uechi. Starting in 1897, Kanbun studied Pan Gai Noon in China under the guidance of a monk we know as Shushiwa.
In 1907, Shushiwa encouraged Kanbun to open his own school. Kanbun may have been the first Okinawan to operate a martial arts school in China.
Years later, while living in Japan, Kanbun began training his eldest son, Kanei Uechi: the co-founder of the Uechi style.
Kanei returned to Okinawa where he trained a man named Ryuko Tomoyose. Tomoyose has since become one of the highest ranking living martial artists in Okinawa, and was awarded the title of National Living Treasure of Japan.
In 1956, with the permission of Kanei Uechi, Ryuko began teaching the first non-Okinawans Uechiryu Karate. Two highly known non-Okinawan students were Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond) and George Mattson: the first American to be promoted to Shodan (first degree Black Belt). In 1958, Ryuko Tomoyose gave George Mattson two instructions for returning to the United States: write a book about Karate, and teach Uechiryu.
George Mattson began teaching at the YMCA in Boston, leading to the creation of the "Mattson Academy of Karate". In 1963, George published his first book, "The Way of Karate", which was the first hardcover publication of martial arts ever to be written in English.
In 1966, Buzz Durkin began his practice under the tutelage of George Mattson. In 1974, he opened his dojo in Salem, NH.
In 2002, Bruce Randall began training with his two sons at the Buzz Durkin Karate School in Atkinson, NH. Bruce was promoted to Shodan in 2005, and to Yondan (4th degree Black Belt) in 2014.
Currently, Kancho Uechi, the great-grandson of Kanbun Uechi, is the headmaster of the Uechiryu Karate-do.