A bit of background...
Many times after class, in the early 80's, I would ask Kuna sensei (who spoke perfect English, as he worked on base) to ask questions about Uechi history to Kanei sensei for me. Kanei seemed to enjoy this as he would slide to the edge of his seat, and appear very amused and enthused, that I would ask such questions! This went on for several years and over time many exciting items were covered, often laughed about!
The latest issue of Classical Fighting Arts
, has a story about Kanbun Uechi in it. However, based on what Kanei himself told me I say that parts of the article are not correct, here are the items that I found to be to be incorrect.
1. Kanbun was born May 5th, not May 1st.
2. Kanbun never wrote any book as the story states. Ryuko Tomoyose’s “notebook” is what they must be referring to. Remember, Ryuko wrote down what was told to him by his father and Kanbun, neither his Dad nor Kanbun could even write! (Kanei explained to me that his dad was not a literate man.) This note book
was Ryuko’s and he kept this “diary” of sorts. Kanmei asked once to see this book, years ago, but sadly after the “split” never gave it back to Ryuko. Ryuko, the time we spoke about this, was still very upset that he never got his book back.
3. Kanbun’s favorite technique was not a hiraken as the story says, it was the shoken, and Kanei told me this himself several times. Why do you think the 3 main kata use’s shokens, and not hiraken.
A bit of a side note….
I saw in Bill’s area a discussion on the sokuto geri and the use of the “blade of the foot”. Remember, as told and shown to me by Kanei, the true
Uechi side kick is not with the blade. It is a shomen geri to the side
. It is done by using a sokusen (toe kick) with the body slightly pivoted at the waist to the side, or pointing the body/kick at your target. Uechi has no blade of the foot strikes at all. Kanei went on to explain that the blade was used just to have a safety factor for kyu ranks and not damage their toes, as this kata is the starting kata and the toe is not yet even developed yet. It also conformed with the other Okinawa styles just to be able to say we used the blade also. Remember, back when the kata was created, new all Okinawan associations were also being formed. The adaptation into Uechi was sort of an olive branch and helped to keep things friendly among the new formed groups. The entire “side kick/blade of the foot was adapted for use from Shorin and Goju ryu. The idea that it came from the mystical forth kata
, is, shall I say... a bit of an inaccurate stretch...
Again, this info was given to me by Kanei himself, kind of hard to argue, considering the source...