Certifications & Titles of Honor

Teaching Certifications

Shidoin and Jun Shihan Applications

These certifications can be considered “assistant instructor” and “instructor” certifications.  These individuals are deemed qualified by their Sensei/Shihan as having the requisite teaching skill to convey the art of Uechi-Ryu Karate.  It is understood that the Sensei/Shihan has provided the Shidoin/Jun Shihan applicant with an appropriate amount of time and instructing experience.  It is recommended that the Sensei/Shihan develop a program to ensure quality and standards.

Shidoin (Intermediate Instructor) Qualifications:

  • Rank at time of application:  Shodan (special consideration granted to Ikkyu if they have already been assisting/teaching at time of promotion.

Jun Shihan (Associate Instructor)

  • Rank at time of application:  Yondan (special consideration granted to Sandan if they have received Shidoin Certification at Shodan)

Shihan Application

tim and gem shihan awardSince Shihan is considered a master teacher of the art, emphasis is placed on the teaching skill of the candidate, not the physical ability to perform the movements.


  1. Candidate must be a Godan (5th ) Degree or higher.
  2. Candidate must be member of the IUKF or be a member of an IUKF dojo in good standing.
  3. Candidate must be an active teacher of adults, children or both, and has shown excellence in their teaching skills at the dojo, at regional workouts, or summer camp.
    • This means that the candidate teaches on a regular basis (“x” times per week), not simply once in a while. Teaching is a honed skill and must be constantly worked. Therefore Shihan candidates must either own or train at an active dojo.
    • Candidate must be either an instructor or assistant instructor at a dojo.

Submission Materials:  Please email your application materials with the following information:

  1. Name as it will appear on certificate
  2. Address of Sensei/Shihan (where certificate will be mailed to be presented to applicant)
  3. Sensei/Shihan Contact Phone Number
  4. Applicant’s Contact Phone Number
  5. Submit payment of $100 USD application fee / please email ian@eastbaykarate-do.com to request processing

Send Application Materials to:  Bruce.witherell@outlook.com

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Professional Titles in Uechi-ryu Karate



Renshi � Kyoshi � Hanshi � Hanshi Sei

What Candidates Need To Do

In order to qualify for a title you must send an electronic copy of all available and relevant documents to the head of the IUKF Titles Committee. After a review of your submitted documents, your documents will be forwarded to the other members of the Titles Committee for review. A recommendation from the IUKF Titles Committee will be then forward to the International Uechi-Ryu Karate Federation (IUKF) Board of Directors for approval.

NOTE: The Titles Committee will assist any candidate with the application process. Simply contact committee chairman, Bruce Witherell by email and request assistance.


Please provide the following documents.

The process for receiving a Title certificate includes the following items:

1) Nomination by a senior Uechi-Ryu Karateka

A candidate may be nominated for a Title by a senior Uechi-Ryu Karate practitioner.  This may be an email or letter sent to the Title Committee Administrator Bruce Witherell.

2) Letter(s) of recommendation

The candidate is responsible for providing full letter(s) of recommendation, (including one from the candidate’s instructor, if possible) which contain reasons why the candidate qualifies for a title.

Resume that includes the following materials:

Materials Are:

  1. Educational background: Provide a chronological time line of your study of Uechi-Ryu Karate. This would include length of study, instructor (s), promotional dates, etc.
  2. Teaching Experience: Show evidence of where you have taught Uechi-Ryu Karate and length of time.
  3. Seminars/workshop presentations: Include a listing of seminars, invitations as a guest instructor, or workshop presentations in Uechi-Ryu Karate.
  4. Publications, if any, that contributed to the art of Uechi-Ryu Karate.
  5. Professional recognition, if any, this can include a listing of awards or specia recognitions given to you from your peers in Uechi-Ryu Karate.
  6. Special Contributing Project

The IUKF Board encourages candidates seeking a senior title to share their knowledge and expertise with the Uechi-Ryu Karate community. A designated space on the IUKF website has been provided in order for all seniors to share their expertise with the Uechi-Ryu Karate community at large. A member of the Titles Committee will be assigned to the candidate for guidance and direction. Suggested areas of subject/work-life experiences that a candidate might want to submit are:

  • Written article
  • Film/DVD
  • Project
  • Reflection paper of candidate’s years in Uechi-Ryu Karate

Please submit all documentation to:

Bruce Witherell Award and Titles Chairman:

  • Bruce.witherell@outlook.com
  • 413-743-4246 cell 413-329-6030.

If you have any questions please contact me by email or phone. Thank you.

Title Requirements:

Renshi: Qualifications:

  • Must hold at least the rank of 6th dan.
  • Sound conduct having a sufficient knowledge of Uechi-Ryu karate.
  • Be at least 28 years old.
  • Be an IUKF member for at least one year
  • The candidate must be actively contributing to the art of Uechi-ryu,


  • Certificate signifying Renshi rank title

Kyoshi Qualifications:

  • Having Renshi title and at least 7th dan rank
  • Sound conduct and having knowledge of Uechi-Ryu karate.
  • Must be at least 45 years old.


  • Certificate signifying Kyoshi rank title.

Hanshi Qualifications:

  • Having Kyoshi title and still continuing study of karate after the age of 55.
  • High ethics with the perfection of his or her techniques and must be exemplary in his or her Uechi-Ryu karate.
  • Meritorius service must be recognized.
  • Must be at least 55 years old.


  • Certificate signifying Hanshi rank title

Award: Hanshi-sei:

Hanshi-sei Qualifications:

  • Having Hanshi title and still continuing his or her study of Uechi-Ryu karate after the age of 65.
  • High ethics with the perfection of his or her techniques and must be exemplary in his or her Uechi-Ryu karate.
  • Meritorious service must be recognized..


  • Certificate signifying Hanshi-Sei rank title.

Once the nomination period is closed (First Friday in May), recommendation of the award recipient will be made by the IUKF Titles Committee. In making their recommendation the Titles Committee will evaluate each nominee based upon age, years actively participating, contribution and service to the art of Uechi-Ryu Karate, and submitted recommendation.

Recommendation of candidate for title will be forwarded to the IUKF Board for approval.

Note from George E. Mattson:

(When asked about who should be honored by the titles and what sets a practitioner who trains hard and is an excellent example of what the physical ranks represent and what exactly, is the difference between rank and the titles, Mattson replied:)

“. . .That is the purpose of the titles board. . . to determine if an individual has met written and unwritten historical standards and qualifications. Titles do have an age requirement and the tradition of a long period between titles.The decision rests with the committee based on a strong recommendation from the teacher and other title recipients, based on the candidate’s long history of selfless and dedicated service to the IUKF, Uechi-ryu and martial arts in general.  Titles are not given based on physical performance of Uechi-ryu, or age and years practicing Uechi-ryu, but on extraordinary service to the IUKF and Uechi community.

The decision, in any event, rests with the Titles committee.. . .”