This is a message to all Uechi-Ryu dojos and its members. The IUKF is doing great, and membership is growing by the day. I want to reiterate that the IUKF is a supportive organization for all Uechi-Ryu dojos throughout the world. We encourage all practitioners to train and develop the art to their individual needs and benefits, as we understand that not all practitioners are the same.
We are not hindered by tunnel vision and the mandate that each of us needs to be a carbon copy of one another. I will not dictate to anyone how he or she should train or make demands on changes. After 60-plus years of continuous training, I do not know everything. I welcome ingenuity and fresher, younger, smarter minds with hopes of learning more from everyone’s individualism.
All our IUKF masters have much-accumulated expertise and are willing to share within our Uechi-Ryu Family. Whatever they share can be included in your training or remain stored knowledge. Your early training should always conform to the direction of your chosen sensei. However, we are not duplicates of one another with nothing to enhance our training. We do not meet at dinners to tell each other how great we are and promote everyone to ridiculous high ranks with little to show other than a mouth full of food and a pat on the back.
Personally, I believe that during our formative years in training, we should all learn “root” Uechi-Ryu. That is the movement and understanding deriving from the many diverse teachers in Okinawa. As we grow and mature as individuals, our training should have molded us. If we indulge in other martial art systems, they too become an intrinsic part of who we are.
Please realize martial arts is not a hand tool to be picked up and used if we choose to. With proper, continuous training, movements become instinctive and a part of who you are. However, improper training, a lack of training, or bad muscle memory could be detrimental and completely useless to you.
Your art will excel as your Uechi-Ryu movements conform to your individual body, adapting to size, speed, and comfort of motion. That is why continuous training is paramount as we physically and mentally change from moment to moment.
Many feel change is not good. Many would say if you do not train as I do, you are corrupting the system. If that were true, why would we invite other masters to teach in our dojos? Why are we paying money just to have another sensei come to our dojo and regurgitate what we are already teaching? Or are we ready to welcome new ideas and more innovative concepts? Are we beyond learning anything different and new? Are we afraid of the fact there could be something more sensible and practical than what we are presently teaching?
Let us examine the fact that Leung Tak Wing was Chan Wah Shun’s Wing Chung teacher. Chan Wah Shun added his adaptations to the Wing Chung, which he learned. Chan Wah Shun was Ip Kai Man’s teacher. Ip Kai Man not only created many adaptations, but he also rearranged the complete form and sequences. Ip Kai Man was Lei Sill Lung’s (Bruce Lee) teacher. Bruce Lee added so much more to the Wing Chung system, including many high kicks, which were not very prevalent in Nam Pai (Southern) Kung-Fu.
One of the original Kung Fu systems was White Crane. Created and practiced by the Shaolin Monks and developed by a woman named Fang Qiniang. She morphed this style from a neanderthal practice of harder, robotic movements to a more universal smooth, flowing system fitting all possible practitioners. The evolution did not stop there. We now have 5 major systems of White Crane depending on the needs of the practitioner. These 5 are Sleeping Crane, Crying Crane, Feeding Crane, Flying Crane, and Shaking Crane. They each have their own nuances to fit the individual practitioner. Please understand one method is not better than the other. They are just slightly different to fit and benefit the individual needs of the practitioner.
The IUKF supports all our dojos and each individual practitioner. I will never insist anyone train my way or use our Uechi-Ryu movements as I use them. I have and will always encourage you to be the best you can be and train in whatever way you choose. I will never stop sharing knowledge and new discoveries in the martial arts world that I encounter. I believe in training with no restrictions or mandates.
Train diligently and always strive to be the best that you can be. If I can be of assistance to your training in any way, please let me know, and I will try to be there to support you regardless of your organization.
President – IUKF
Judan – Hanchi