St. Charles Dojo Info
Karate-Do is named after the founder, Kanbun Uechi. Mr. Uechi
was born on May 5, 1877 in Izumi, Motobu-cho, a small village in
northern Okinawa. At the age of 19, Mr. Uechi left Okinawa in March of
1897 to avoid conscription into the Japanese military and began his
study of the martial arts at the central temple of the Fukien Province
in southern China. He studied under Maser Zhou Tzu Ho (pronounced Jo su
ho) who is known in Okinawa by his Japanese name Shushiwa. Mr. Uechi
studied a system of martial arts based on the movements of the tiger,
dragon, and crane with Shushiwa for approximately 10 years. After which
time he opened his own school in the village of Nanching(Nansei) in the
Fukien Province of China. Master Uechi referred to the art which he
taught as Pangainoon, which means half hard/half soft. He taught there
until 1909 when he returned to Okinawa
in Okinawa, Master Uechi married and began farming. He did not
formally teach for a number of reasons. In 1924 Master Uechi moved to
Wakayama, Japan where he resumed teaching in 1926.
first student in Wakayama was Ryuyu Tomoyose, who initially tried
to trick Master Uechi into teaching him by making up stories of fights
he had gotten into and asking him how to defend himself in these
situations. Master Uechi continued teaching in Wakayama until 1946 when
he returned to Okinawa (Ie Jima island near Okinawa). He did not teach
formally after his return to Okinawa, but continued to train a few
students. Two years later at the age of 71 Master Uechi died on Ie Jima.
the time of Kanbun Uechi's death, Kanei was not actively teaching.
However, Ryuko Tomoyose, a son of Ryuyu Tomoyose - Kanbun's first
student in Wakayama, convinced him to start teaching. Ryuko Tomoyose
and other students build a dojo in Futenma, Okinawa for Master Kanei
Uechi. He continued teaching at that same location until his retirement
in 1988. After a bout with a lingering illness, Master Kanei died at
the age of 80 in March of 1991.
early student of Kanbun Uechi was Seiryo Shinjo. Seiryo Shinjo was born
on Ie Jima on June 10, 1908. In 1923, he traveled to Wakayama to seek
employment where he coincidentally got a job at the same factory as
Kanbun Uechi. He trained with Uechi Sensei until a respiratory ailment
prevented it. Seiryo Shinjo had a son on July 10, 1929 who he named
Shinjo was taught by his father and Kanbun Uechi and later
trained with Kanei Uechi. Seiyu Shinjo eventually became well known in
Okinawa as an outstanding karate man as well as a great teacher of
November 3, 1951, Seiyu Shinjo's first son was born, Kiyohide Shinjo.
Seiyu Shinjo began the training of his son Kiyohide when he reached the
age of 10. Kiyohide was required to learn Uechi-Ryu and did so
reluctantly at first. He continued training under his father's watchful
eyes eventually becoming of the best (if not the best) martial
artist on Okinawa. Starting in 1970, he became the unprecedented, nine
time, undefeated kumite and kata champion. Shinjo Kiyohide Sensei took
over as the chief instructor of the family dojo located in the "circle"
in the town of Kadena after the death of his father Seiyu in 1981.
Shinjo Sensei continues the family tradition to this day and is Sensei Foley's Sensei. Shinjo Sensei was
promoted to Hachidan on November 24, 1996 by Seiko Toyama Sensei.
Toyama Sensei is the last surviving student of Kanbun Uechi and still
teaches in his dojo located in Zakimi, Okinawa. In honor of his father,
Shinjo Sensei has named the organization of Uechiryu practitioners
associated with the Kadena dojo as the Kenyukai. The "Ken" in Kenyukai
represents "strong fist". The "yu" comes from the second character in
Seiyu. Kai means association or group. Put together the translation is
Seiyu Shinjo's Strong Fist Group.
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