Sep 29

Message from the Chairman



By Henry Thom, 9-Dan, Hanshi


As a brief introduction, IUKF is a federation of Uechi-Ryu practitioners who share a common lineage to Grandmaster Kanei Uechi.  A member of the South China Martial Arts Alliance [SCMAA] and the Okinawa Family of Uechi Organizations, the IUKF was founded in mid-1980 by George Mattson, Hanshi 10th Dan.  Sensei Mattson studied directly under Grandmaster Kanei Uechi and Master Ryuko Tomoyose and is acknowledged as one of the senior world leaders of Uechi-Ryu by various Okinawa Karate Systems and teachers.   In addition to George Mattson, IUKF senior leadership includes Van Canna and Arthur Rabesa, both 10th Dan, Darin Yee, 8th Dan / Vice President of IUKF, and Henry Thom, 9th Dan / Chairman of IUKF.

Individual Uechi-ryu practitioners and dojos, regardless of current affiliations, are welcome to join IUKF as Individual or Dojo Members.

IUKF believes that when a large group of Uechi-Ryu dojos work together in a synergistic fashion, it makes individual dojos stronger.

IUKF dojos are run by the dojo owners, not by IUKF.  The IUKF, by design, is there to support and help members grow their dojos and maximize their potential, rather than to restrict them with arbitrary rules and regulations.   As such, IUKF membership is not exclusive.  Rather, we encourage member Dojos to maintain existing links with other associations and teachers, with IUKF providing another source of knowledge, activities, friendship and extended senior access. IUKF dojo owners are charged with maintaining IUKF standards within their dojos, and have a single mission:  to nurture and grow within their own students the knowledge and confidence given to them by their teachers.  IUKF will help individual dojos become builders of strong and successful individuals.

IUKF is an internationally recognized source of promotion and certification for Uechi-Ryu Dan (black belt) rank.  IUKF is a strong believer in maintaining what Grandmaster UECHI Kanei termed the “Sacred Space” between students and their sensei. IUKF has determined that ultimately, the teacher should remain the final authority regarding when students are promoted. However, IUKF also recommends that the member Senseis take advantage of IUKF’s senior teachers and recommended procedures relating to promotions, as detailed in the (for members only) Black Belt Test Guide (BBTG). The BBTG provides valuable information on the study and practice of Uechi-Ryu and the testing and ranking requirements. The IUKF leadership will always be available to assist dojo owners and students upon request.  IUKF also conducts semi-annual events including regional black belt tests for those who would prefer to have their students test in front of a large board of very senior Uechi-ryu teachers rather than handle the details of testing on their own.  Automatic recording of ranks and title in the International Rank and Titles Registry website is a benefit of membership in the IUKF.

There are several additional benefits of IUKF membership.

SEMINARS: Many higher ranking IUKF black belts perform seminars in various locations around the world. For dojos which would like to invite Senior IUKF Teachers to lead formal seminars, daily rates for IUKF Seniors are standardized, so dojo owners can budget and plan easily. The website keeps our members in touch with each other and with developments in Uechi-Ryu.

FORUMS:  The IUKF Forums allow for a lively exchange of ideas.

FORUMS:  The IUKF Forums allow for a lively exchange of ideas.

VIDEO:  The IUKF video section is rich in content.  IUKF provides administrative and training webinars on dealing with social media and advertising tutorials, and provides programs relating to “Bullying” and other problems affecting both children and adults.  IUKF also provides helpful tutorials and live webinars on all areas of running a successful dojo.

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER:   Sensei Mattson also distributes his monthly Newsletter with special training tips to members.

If you have questions regarding IUKF, concerning membership, etc, please contact Henry Thom at henrythom(at)   Sensei George Mattson is available at gmattson(at)

You may also contact country-specific IUKF leadership as noted below.  Important:  All member countries are independent entities.

IUKF-USA: Please contact Brett Maine: bmainelmt(at)

IUKF-Canada: Please contact David Mott: david(at)

IUKF-UK: Please contact Lee Adams:  lee.adams(at) and Al Wharton: alwharton8(at)

IUKF-Germany: Please contact Bruce Hirabayashi: bruce.hirabayashi(at) and/or Paul Kronschnabl: paul.kronschanbl(at)

IUKF-Cuba: Please contact Noslem Torres M.: mtmiranda(at)




2015 Greetings,

IUKF-USA is entering another very successful year of operation. For the new visitors to this site, please allow me first present a very brief history of Uechi Ryu in the U.S. before proceeding further. In 1958 Grand Master Kanei Uechi (RIP) asked Sensei George Mattson, a soldier in Okinawa, to bring the art to the U.S. and prompted him to open the first Uechi Ryu dojo in the U.S. and expand the art in the country. A lot has occurred since then. Master George Mattson started his teaching in a humble little corner of a Boston YMCA some 58 years ago to subsequently opening up his huge and very successful Mattson Academy in Boston. He has trained literally more than a thousand students and hundreds of black belts. Many of his black belt students have since scattered worldwide and some have branched off and built their own Uechi Ryu organizations. Two of Master Mattson’s original students, Sensei Van Canna and Sensei Art Rabesa, are now 10-Dan in IUKF. I am also one of Master Mattson’s original student from 50 years ago.

For IUKF-USA to continue to grow, we must have members who pay dues in order to support the various IUKF activities. There are a lot of activities.

“What is the IUKF doing for me”, may be the question in your mind.

Well, the more we do for the IUKF, the more it will be able to offer its members. Currently, the IUKF is a promoting and certifying source for Uechi-Ryu black belt rankings. The members only Black Belt Test Guide provides valuable information on the study and practice of Uechi Ryu and the testing and ranking requirements. Many higher ranking black belts perform seminars in various locations.

The website operates on behalf of Uechi Ryu and the IUKF. This site alone keeps our members in touch with each other and with developments in Uechi Ryu. Its Forums allow for lively exchange of ideas. The video section is rich in content, and will be available exclusively for members. Master Mattson also distribute his monthly Newsletter with special training tips to members. The Eastern Arts store in has DVDs, books, Uechi insignia clothes, gym bags and jewelry, all discounted to IUKF members.

If you are a new or relatively new student, please join up and support IUKF. To those who have been around for a while and benefiting from IUKF one way or another but are not paying members, please start considering how to give back to IUKF in a meaningful manner, which means pay your membership due.

The members of the IUKF Advisory Board and its various committees are individuals who volunteer considerable amounts of their time with no cost to IUKF. Every bit of membership dues received by the IUKF goes to communications and projects on behalf of the members.

If you are a dojo owner and prefer joining as a dojo, please contact IUKF Chairman of the Board of Advisors, Henry Thom at
The general membership fee is $50 for adults ($30 for juniors), about a tank of gas. For general membership please contact IUKF’s Membership Administrator, Brett Maine, at Brett Maine (

Hope to see all of you at the next Summer and Winter Fest. Please check the website for details.        

The following was written by Dr. Paul Haydu in 2006:

What is an IUKF member?

The IUKF is a young organization and the Board of Directors was discussing the question of what makes an IUKF member.  Other Martial Arts organizations require membership dues in order to join.  If you’re an engineer, lawyer or doctor, you pay annual dues to belong to professional organizations.  The year you omit your dues, is the year you cease to be a member.

It was mentioned that some people think that because they’ve been affiliated with IUKF activities, that they’re a member.  Some feel that because they are seniors, they ought to be considered a member.  Others who volunteer time and effort on behalf of the organization believe that this equates to being a member.  What they all miss is that in order for an organization such as the IUKF to grow and prosper, it needs funding.  For it to create projects and items of value to its members, it needs funding, and that comes from all of our dues!

Every bit of those dues received by the IUKF goes to communications and projects on behalf of the members.

To give you an example, the members of the Board of Directors are individuals who volunteer considerable amounts of their time.  Still, each one of them is a paying member.  Darin Yee, who is an advanced teacher, has forty years of Martial Arts experience and gives classes and seminars on behalf of the IUKF, has paid extra, to become a lifetime member.  The members of the Board understand that the more senior one is the more one should understand that our organization needs the support of each one of us, to survive and prosper.  So a dues-paying person, is a member of the IUKF.

“What is the IUKF doing for me”, may be the reply to a request for dues.  Well, the more we do for the IUKF, the more it will be able to offer its members.  Currently, the IUKF is a promoting and certifying source for Uechi-Ryu Dan rankings.  The Eastern Arts website operates on behalf of Uechi Ryu and the IUKF.  This site alone keeps our style’s members in touch with each other and with developments in our style.  Its Forums allow for lively exchange of ideas.  The video section is rich in content, and will be available exclusively for members.

The Eastern Arts store has DVDs, Uechi insignia clothes, gym bags and jewelry, all discounted to IUKF members.   And the Summer Fest tuition cost is discounted each year sufficiently for IUKF members to off-set for the cost of dues each year!

As the IUKF grows, it will become the kind of organization that will have the power to offer the wide array of products and services that you would like. 

As a young outfit, it needs your help.

Jul 08

Uechi Update from IUKF President

Happy July to all; I hope that summer has been most pleasant for everyone!

Thank you to Sensei David Mott

The IUKF would like to this update by thanking Sensei David Mott, now retired, for all his years of service to our organization. Sensei Mott has traveled extensively throughout Canada to teach and educate Canadians on honor, respect, and dedication to our art. 

Sensei Mott has instilled in his students and associates the importance of learning and forwarding the art that we’ve invested many years of our lives to train and study. He has honored the belief that our belts should honestly signify our steadfast training and accomplishments, that we should not give belts, wear them to impress others, or use them to pat your ego.

The IUKF invites every Uechi-Ryu dojo to continue with the IUKF, where we honor, respect, and protect the sanctity of our art and the ranking which follows steadfast guidelines. All IUKF members can wear our belts with pride, knowing we have earned them and not offered them as a signing bonus.

Please contact Sensei Dan Maestas email to inquire about listing your dojo.

Belt Certificates

The IUKF realizes you’ve worked diligently for many years to earn your belt legitimately. The IUKF will no longer require a fee for your certificate as you’ve earned it through your dedication and hard work. However, there is a small administration fee of $100 USD, which includes the printing, mailing, listing, and other costs associated with delivering your certificate to you.

Additionally, the IUKF will send you an autographed copy of Sensei George Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guild free of charge, which we strongly encourage dojos to follow to maintain quality students. The IUKF will also arrange for a promotion board for each individual dojo with international, master ranking board members.

Master Rank Testing

All testing from Shodan to Godan will be individual dojo testing. All master testing will be through an international IUKF master board. You will be tested as a master should; the IUKF will not give you a master rank just to join our organization. Masters are required to know and be capable of performing all our Uechi-Ryu katas, followed by a demonstration of their personal interpretation of our movements. One needs to prove they’ve mastered the system of Uechi-Ryu.

Winter Fest

The IUKF will also pay the attendance fee for all IUKF dojo owners attending Winter Fest, where you will meet, learn, and exchange the many fantastic and different ideas from all over the world. Winter Fest 2022 will include masters from the UK, Germany, France, Cuba, Brazil, Bermuda, and Argentina. Hopefully, Canada can be included in that list. There will be attendees from throughout the USA. People from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Mississippi, California, Alaska, Hawaii, and most unquestionably, Florida.

Also, be informed, all IUKF members are welcome to work out in any IUKF affiliated dojo at no charge throughout the world. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any matter concerning the IUKF. I will be happy to hear from you.

Darin Yee
President – IUKF

Jul 07

A Message from Germany

The IUKF was excited to receive a message from Sensei Paul Kronschnabl, a Renshi Rokudan from Germany. We have shared his message below:

We are proud to share with the IUKF community that we have been back in my dojos, Regensburg and Pettendorf, for three weeks after the lockdown was released.

After a month without contact, it is not as smooth as it should be, and we certainly need more practice in sparring and grappling. Fortunately, everything is going well so far, and I am incredibly pleased that no one quit in the lockdown time.

The sensei of a Shorin Ryu Seibukan Karate Dojo asked for a workout with my students and me, so his students can learn something about Uechi-Ryu. I am so happy that we can work out together in a couple of weeks and learn from each other. I am personally excited to learn some block techniques and Karate-ka that I do not yet know.

We look forward to what the future will continue to bring to us and the Uechi-Ryu community!


May 25

FREE Autographed Copy of the Black Belt Test Guide Available

We are excited to announce that the IUKF will provide the Shihans (head instructors) of all IUKF-member dojos in good standing with an autographed copy of the Black Belt Test Guide by Sensei George Mattson as a gift from the organization. 

The Black Belt Test Guide

We would like to note that while the IUKF will continue to use the Black Belt Test Guide, but there are some concepts that may require updating and further clarification.  Among those issues include time in grade. Any updates on the IUKF website will supersede the published paperback Black Belt Test Guide.

For IUKF member-dojos, to request your autographed copy, please email:

Additional copies can be purchased for $30 (includes shipping & handling).  Email:

We will send you a PayPal link for payment.

Mar 14

A Message from IUKF President on Rank Requirements

Dear IUKF Practitioners,

I want to state that everyone has a “letter of the law” to follow. However, honorable people live by the “spirit of the law.” I understand some of the writings can be ambiguous, allowing those who’ll manipulate the system to find alternative translations. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 03

A Message from IUKF President on Free Virtual Classes

Virtual classes

A healthy hello to all our IUKF members, dojos, and Uechi-Ryu students. I thank you for your dedication to the advancement of Uechi-Ryu during these trying times and your commitment to a respectable organization where we can all be proud to wear an IUKF black belt.

As a supportive organization, the IUKF has been running an online workout for all our Uechi-Ryu communities for many months now. People from all over the world are gathering twice a week to perform and practice their katas to keep them fresh in our minds. This way, when this pandemic is over, we can all return to our respective dojos without missing a step.

The IUKF is here for all Uechi-Ryu practitioners, so there are absolutely no charges nor demands. We simply meet together online to enjoy each other’s company while staying healthy and maintaining our Uechi-Ryu training. Please contact me, and I will add you on to my list of people to send workout information.

Also, be informed, the IUKF Senior Board, in recognition of the financial difficulties we now face, has determined to return all dojo contributions. After we’ve made final assessments of which contributions are from dojos and not promotion applications. I will send a check in the amount you’ve paid and mail it to you.

Thank you for being loyal IUKF members and faithful Uechi-Ryu practitioners.

Darin Yee
President – IUKF

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