Uechi-Ryu (Way-Chee) is a form of Chinese Temple fighting. In the United States, it is referred to as Kung Fu or Karate and in Japan and Okinawa as Karate. In China, its' formal name is Fwange-Nun (Pong-Gi Non).
Fwange-Nun, from Southern China, is the interwoven movements of the tiger, crane and dragon. It is a specialized method of self defense that concentrates on the use of the Single-knuckle punch, Spear-hand strike, Pointed kick and the Circular block.Grand Master, Kanbum Uechi, the founder of Uechi-Ryu Karate, is responsible for lifting the Chinese Veil of Secrecy, bringing this art out of China and into Japan and Okinawa. At the age of 20, to avoid serving in the Japanese military, which at the time occupied Okinawa, Uechi fled to China. There in Fukien Province, he studied the art of Fwange-Nun. His teacher was Shushiwa, a priest who had received his training from a temple monk. Uechi studied in Fukien for ten years and became a master of Fwange-Nun. At the end of his training, Master Uechi opened a school in Nanchon, a city in Fukien Province. He taught there for three years. During this time, one of his students became involved in a dispute and called upon his training to kill another person. Disheartened by this event, Master Uechi vowed to never teach again, closed his school and returned to his homeland. The year was 1910. Master Uechi has the distinction of being the only Okinawan ever to have been accepted in China as a teacher.
Returning to Okinawa, he married and on June 26,1911, his son Kanei was born. He still refused to teach his art and only once during the ensuing years reluctantly demonstrated his Kata (formal set of movements).
In 1924, the Uechi family moved to Wakayama Prefecture near Osaka, Japan. In 1927, Master Uechi began teaching his son Kanei the art of Fwange-Nun.Around this time, friends persuaded him to resume teaching publicly. The term Uechi-Ryu (Uechi's Style) was first used in the fall of 1940.
In April, 1942, Master Uechi's son Kanei, now a master in his own right, returned to Okinawa from Japan. Master Kanbum Uechi continued to teach in Wakayama Prefecture until 1947. He then returned to Okinawa in April of 1947 and died November 25, 1948 on Lejima, an island off the coast of Okinawa. His body was returned to Nago, Okinawa for burial. He was 71 years of age.
His son, Master Kanei Uechi, opened his dojo (training hall) in Futenma, Okinawa in April of 1949. He was teaching Uechi-Ryu there daily until his death in 1990.