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.

Sep 03

A Message for 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

Apr 11

Pictures from Winterfest

Winterfest 2020

Winterfest was a smashing success this year, we all had a fantastic time learning and interacting with Uechi practitioners from all over. We also had the great pleasure of Janet Okazaki taking photos throughout the seminar! Here are some of them for you to enjoy!

At Winterfest, we learned!

We practiced!

We laughed!

AND We did weapons!

We are all excited to see what next year brings! We hope that you will join us!

Apr 08

A Winterfest Experience

A Sandan of Uechi-Ryu, Chelsey Schultz, attended Winterfest 2020 and shared her experiences on her blog. If you would like to read about her experience, click HERE!

Winterfest 2020

Apr 07

IUKF President, Darin Yee, Addresses Bogus Ranks

I have been inundated with a lot of scuttlebutt regarding “bogus” promotions, lack of “Bushido,” and despicable, shameless people claiming superior rank in our system, lowering the standards of Uechi-Ryu throughout the world.

To my friends and associates, I would like to illuminate my thoughts not only as Darin Yee, a humble student of the martial arts but also as the President of the IUKF because this is our philosophy, commitment, and strength.

Please be affirmed these promotions which you’ve so adamantly and furiously objected to is not anything that the IUKF (International Uechi-Ryu Karate Federation) has had any part. Please look very carefully at the organizational name. Imitators and “want-a-be” are still not the IUKF. 

Although we ask all our members to follow the Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt test guide for dan promotions, I am demanding much more for our master ranks as we wear our belts with knowledge, honor, and pride, not merely on a handshake or a phone call. People who deceive others to bolster their egos are shameless underachievers. Those who deceive themselves are usually psychotic maniacs with an inferior complex posing misinformation and danger to the rest of our community.

I’ve told Sensei Mattson when I sat down on the big seat that my goal is to build the IUKF, maintain, and elevate the respectability of our black belts. These formative years have been a little challenging because of my discovery of unknowns and deals which do not conform with our new direction. I’ve committed to cutting out all cancer, pulling off the leaches, and chasing out all the infectious rodents. It’s a tough road, but we are making progress. 

Time in Grade and Master Rank:

(Please realize the following is purely philosophical)

I posed this question back in the late 80s. As a master rank regardless of the number, how much more can I learn if I am already a master, how much higher should I go as a master? If I am truly a master, how much more can I learn? 

The answer came back “there is always something to learn. No one knows everything.” If I have not learned everything, how could I consider myself a master?

As I never profess to be a genius, it took me a year or so of personal, self-discussion, and deep thoughts to compose this philosophy. The answer was right in front of my nose as I often consult with Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guide. “TIME in GRADE” is the answer. We don’t learn more as time goes by, we just become better in what we do. When we continue to train, our body becomes more adapted to our movements, and movements become embedded in our muscle memory. Movement becomes more fluent and natural, which will result in the most power we can muster at our old age and declining physical ability. 

“Time in Grade” doesn’t teach you more about the system. “Time in Grade” teaches you more about yourself. You need this time in grade to train your body and to mature in the movements as a master.

Those who continue to gain master rank without working out are deceiving you and, worst of all, deceiving themselves.

Those who skip years and getting their ranks through questionable organizations are depriving themselves of proper time on grade training.  Are they true masters? You can answer that yourself. Wearing a store-bought belt doesn’t reflect who you really are. Your rank is only as respectable as your organization

We are the IUKF, and we have no say regarding the promotions of others.  We as proud members of the IUKF can hold our heads high among the rest of the world as we know we’ve worked hard for our ranks, and we take a back seat to no one.        

~Darin Yee  

Mar 29

A Message from Germany

Darin Yee, IUKF President, recently did a seminar in Germany! Here is a message from Paul of … in German and English!

IUKF German Dojo

German Version

“Vom 6. Bis 8. Juli hatten wir ein Seminar Uechi-Ryu Seminar mit Darin Yee, 9. Dan und Präsident von IUKF in Deutschland (Regensburg und Pettendorf).

Es war ein hervorragendes Seminar. Sensei Darin Yee arbeitete mit uns an der weichen Seite von Uechi-Ryu und daran maximale Kraft in der Technik zu generieren. Dazu gingen wir durch die 8 Katas und übten an verschiedenen Schwerpunkten. Teilnehmer aus weiteren Dojos in Deutschland waren auch zu Gast. Meinen Schülern und auch den Teilnehmern aus den anderen Dojos hat das Seminar sehr gut gefallen.

Vielen Dank nochmal, Sensei.”

English Version

From the 6th to the 8th of July we had a Uechi-Ryu seminar with Darin Yee, 9th Dan and president of IUKF in Germany (Regensburg and Pettendorf).

It was an excellent seminar. Sensei Darin Yee worked with us on the soft side of Uechi-Ryu and how to create maximum power in the technics. We went through the 8 Katas and practiced at various focal points. Participants from other dojos in Germany were also guests. My students and also the participants from the other dojos really enjoyed the seminar.

Thank you again, Sensei.”

Uechi Seminar in Germany

Older posts «