Wow you were out grave digging to raise this old zombie from the long dead threads.
Took me some considering if I should respond to this or not.
Often I can offend folk when I express certain opinions and that’s where people think I am dropping bombs on them perhaps.
Not really my intent I guess I just often call it as I see it and that can be too blunt.
SO I thought about this response and I think NEB, you have made an honest heartfelt post and it deserves not to be ignored.
Ignoring your thoughts and comment would be far ruder than any comment I could post. (I hope.
I posted this thread a long time ago but my opinions haven’t changed much.
I don’t know if you would consider your comments applying to me with the boundaries you placed on them at the end. I stopped testing years ago at Yondan when I made my big change, but it had been coming on for some time by then. I have been running my school now for fourteen years.
The big question here might be what is Uechi Ryu and are you (the general populous you not you NEB) doing it now?
Uechi Kanbun is the founder of Uechi Ryu. He changed the name from Pwangainuun (Pwangainoon, Pangainoon) in 1941 to Uechi Ryu.
Uechi Kanbun performed three Kata: Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseirui (Sandairyu).
He worked on applications to the Kata moves individually.
He worked on body and limb conditioning.
And he fought.
He did not do Junbi Undo.
He did not do Hojo Undo.
He did not do the prearranged Kumite.
He did not do the prearranged Bunkai.
He did not line people up and count them through Kata.
His dojo was only 8 tatami (1 tatami = 1 x 2 metres) so no room to line people up.
His Kata were quick.
If you look at my post on what has changed in Kata on the recent “Sanchin” thread his Kata looked absolutely nothing like the stiff robotic step, block, and then strike performance of Kata we see so often today.
Uechi Kanei was faced with the momentous task of bringing Uechi Ryu to the great big outside training world.
He and those around him had to try and transform the style and the training to fit a different world.
The dojos became large enough to line a whole bunch of folk up (there is an old clip of all kinds of people lined up as Uechi Kanei takes them through Hojo Undo).
So what changed?
Lining people up then meant finding a uniform way of warming them up so they borrowed the Okinawan Elementary School Calisthenics program and called it Junbi Undo.
I don’t find it a particularly good warm up so I don’t do it. I prefer Scott Sonnon’s Intu-Flow.
There is one “Master” telling people that if you do not do Junbi Undo you are not doing Uechi Ryu.
So to this “Master’s” the foundation of Uechi Ryu is in the little kiddie school warm up program that they borrowed.
Oh and by this “Master’s” definition, Uechi Kanbun never did Uechi Ryu.
Yeah pretty ludicrous but then if you define Uechi Ryu by the “drills” of the 1950/60’s then Junbi Undo is one of them.
Hojo Undo was also created as a way to give a large crowd a work out. They used Kata moves to create the drill. I don’t line a bunch of people up to strike air so I don’t do that either.
The problem with Hojo Undo as it is practiced is the same one that doing Kata in a crowd created.
Having an 8 tatami dojo meant no lines of people doing Kata.
With lines of people doing Kata you cannot just say – GO.
A large group requires a count to keep everyone in line and not shokening the guy in front of them.
It also made it easy to break the moves down into pieces to teach a whole bunch of beginners. Bill posted on that Sanchin thread that this is a common approach to teaching but eventually you have to put it all back together.
So the Kata and Hojo Undo share the same “new approach” flaw of being too broken down and no performance of moves in the transitions.
The prearranged Kumite were introduced to try and bring the sport sparring that was going on into the CQC system that was Uechi Ryu. I think they failed terribly and could easily go into more detail and depth than anyone on this forum would care to listen to yet again as to why I don’t do them.
The prearranged Bunkai came in when students testing didn't know how to apply the Kata so they handed it to them pre-packaged to present on tests. I see the Wauke use as far too basic and the lack of application in transition troubling and I prefer to teach a broader approach to understanding what you can do with the Kata so I don’t teach them either.
The five new Kata have an interesting story that is getting lost.
Many styles prefer to whitewash their history a little. I was told that Uechi Kanbun started teaching because Tomoyose Senior made up stories about having fights and Uechi Kanbun advised him on them. I mean a Uechi Senior could never have been going out and fighting? We couldn’t have that now could we?
The truth is that Tomoyose Junior said his dad was a bad egg and liked to beat up the Japanese boys, so the fights he described were real. (As a side note they were also probably not uncalled for as I read once how bands of young Japanese men liked to roam Wakayama precinct terrorizing the Okinawan residents.)
The same might be true of the story of the additional five Kata.
The big blue book says they were added to enhance and expand the practice of Uechi Ryu. A very nice good reason.
However, older Uechika have said that they were added because at the demonstrations Uechi only had three short Kata to perform so they were too quick. They added more to flesh out the demonstrations. Now this comment is being refuted by the big book comment but a practical look gives us a more unbiased answer. (Also note they were still created from Uechi Ryu regardless of the why.)
I don’t do demos so I focus on five of the Kata: Sanchin. Kanshiwa, Seisan, Seichin and Sanseirui. I will teach the others later on well after black belt if the student is interested.
The historical tape of the Wakayama precinct dojo also shows a very different Kotakitia (arm rubbing and pounding). It shows the emphasis on shearing in the rubbing and on striking (pounding) AS you deflect and control the incoming strike. Very different from the step punch block Wauke pound we have today.
So NEB what is Uechi Ryu?
Is it the fighting style of Uechi Kanbun?
Is it the drills that Uechi Kanei brought in so it could be taught to large groups?
Is it the quick Kata of Uechi Kanbun where moves are done in the transitions?
Is it the arm pounding focused on hitting AS you deflect?
Is it the step by step separated pounding of the drill today?
Is it the slow robotic Kata of today?
Is Uechi Kanbun turning in his grave?
I throw all of this out there because if you are going to say someone can’t call something Uechi then let’s define what it is?
You see while there is absolutely no way to know how Uechi Kanbun did his Uechi we have enough hints to know it is not the drills of the 1950/60s.
It was following those hints and that lead me away from what is done today.
If I see a Kata that is not quick, instead it is robotic and slow, should I say that is not Uechi Ryu?
When I see people doing drills that Uechi Kanbun never did should I say that isn’t Uechi?
So before we declare that if you don’t do the kiddie school drill of Junbi Undo you are not doing Uechi can we even define Uechi Ryu?
Some completely ignore it is a Chinese style saying it is now strictly Okinawan and that may just be very very true now.
I look to the Kata, body and limb conditioning and what is effective and efficient in application for MY Uechi.
I believe that as long as it is based out of the three main Uechi Kata I am still doing Uechi Ryu.
Perhaps some day I will change so much I may say I am no longer doing Uechi Ryu but until then: Are you all out there doing Uechi Ryu?
Sometimes it is best not to raise the dead.
I truly have no intent to insult anyone here or drop bombs but the question of what Uechi was, what Uechi is and what Uechi should be is very important to me.
Good training NEB and merry Christmas and Happy New Year.