The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

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The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:49 am

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One of my students lent me this book to read, and I find it fascinating.

A great look into the window of time catching a glimpse of original training methods and what made the 'Uechi Clan' so well respected.


A new book by Keisuke Fujimoto Sensei, chairman of the Okinawa Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Association (Tokyo Shibu), is now available in English. The name of the book is "The Untold Story of Kanbun Uechi" and describes the life, times, and personality of Kanbun Uechi, as well as the origins and history of Uechi-ryu.

Inside the 175 pages of this book, Fujimoto Sensei, as he claims, does not aim to authenticate or disprove any existing other works, but simply to satisfy his own curiosity and present the subsequent findings. We are looking forward to receiving a copy of the book, go through its contents and get an insight in many aspects of the life of Master Uechi Kanbun.

For more information, you can visit: http://www.okikukai.jp/English/index.htm
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:51 am

http://www.okikukai.jp/English/biography.htm

(December 23rd 2016)

The Pangai-noon Kenpo Academy sponsored a discussion at the Shubukan Dojo to celebrate publication of the English version of The Untold Story of Kanbun Uechi.

Participants included the author, Keisuke Fujimoto, project manager, Hitoshi Sumida, and main translator, Robert Garone (Tokyo Bayside). The event lasted about an hour and also touched upon a number of topics not covered in the book.

The Untold Story of Kanbun Uechi describes the life, times, and personality of Kanbun Uechi, as well as the origins and history of Uechi-ryu.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:52 am

(Fujimoto) There has been a lot of interest in translating The Untold Story of Kanbun Uechi since it was published in Japanese 2 years ago. After almost a full year of planning, we have finally completed the English version. I would like to thank you and all members of the project team for your efforts.

Prior to publication of the English version, I thought it would be a good idea to share with future readers a short preview of what to expect as well as some previously undisclosed stories uncovered during the research process. I hope all of them will enjoy the book!

My first question for both of you is what kind of impression did you get of Master Kanbun when working on the translation?
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:54 am

(Fujimoto)
The research certainly involved a lot of effort and quite a bit of my personal resources, but I never thought about quitting. On the contrary, I was amazed at the way in which I would meet just the right people when searching for information, and I often had a strange feeling that Masters Kanbun and Kanei really wanted me to tell their story.One of Kanbun’s students living in Iejima was fond of saying, “You were born to write Kanbun’s biography, so get to work on it!”
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:55 am

Probably the biggest challenge I faced was reconciling and writing about all of the differences in Uechi-ryu that I encountered, especially when considering the Okinawan Uechi-ryu we practice, the techniques demonstrated by descendants of Shushiwa in Fujian Province, and the techniques used at the Uechi-ryu Tomoyori Dojo in Wakayama. I knew I would have to explain these carefully in the book.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:57 am

the Shinbori Bridge incident

(Fujimoto) Did any of the episodes from Kanbun sensei’s life leave a particularly strong impression?

(Robert) I was really surprised by the story at the Shinbori Bridge,- the one where Kanbun-sensei jumps onto the rail, gets into a sanchin stance, and challenges his students to try to knock him into the river below.

It was certainly not something I was expecting out of a karate mater, and I can only imagine how strong his sanchin stance must have been.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:58 am

(Sumida)
Kanbun-sensei didn’t take alcohol often, but I enjoyed the story about how he would sometimes have a few drinks with his students and start to sing Chinese songs. They would then close the windows and he would do Sanseiryu kata. I felt this showed the somewhat mischievous part of his personality and thought it gave a great sense of the man he really was.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:59 am

(Robert) How do you think Kanbun-sensei would react if he were to learn that Uechi-ryu has become popular all around the world?

(Fujimoto) Kanbun-sensei was a very careful person and was slow to accept new students unless they had an introduction, and he also treated Sanseiryu kata as a family treasure which he taught solely to his son Kanei.

In light of this, I can only imagine half of him would have happily approved of the style’s current popularity, while the other half would be conflicted by some difficult feelings. Of course, there is a big difference in the world we live in today and the environment surrounding martial arts in Kanbun’s time.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:01 am

...You can see from this that Kanbun’s intent was not to teach his own style to as many people as possible, but to make sure his own students were developing in the right way.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:03 am

Sushiwa killed by _The Dojo Busters

(Sumida)
My interest is in finding out more about Shushiwa: what kind of person he was and exactly what it was that he taught Master Kanbun. I’ve often wondered about the kind of training they did and just what techniques were used.

(Fujimoto) Kanbun sensei began training in China right around 1900 at the time of the Boxer Rebellion. Anti-foreign sentiment was at an extreme and if you look at pictures from that time, you can actually see the young boxers marching about town with swords strapped on their backs.

The Chinese Kenpo studied in those days had to have been a lot different from what we are doing in the peaceful times we know today.

We were told in Fuzhou that Shushiwa actually died from a wound sustained in a fight with one of the “dojo busters”.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:05 am

(Sumida)
How do you think Kanbun sensei would react if he were to see the Uechi-ryu techniques we now practice? His son Kanei did a lot of research into and made a number of changes to the style.


(Fujimoto)
I imagine he would likely be a little disappointed. The reason for this is that he probably thought he had perfected the karate he taught in Wakayama and Iejima (Sanchin, kotei kitae, kata, sparring).

The research I did revealed a number of sources attesting that visitors to the Wakayama Dojo (the Academy), including people from other karate styles, were consistently impressed by the strength of Kanbun’s techniques.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:07 am

Of course, I recognize that the techniques of modern Uechi-ryu developed as a result of improvements made by our own teachers and am in no way demeaning their value.

(Sumida) The kenpo style popular when Kanbun sensei was in China took shape at a time when there were no rules or judges. It’s only natural there are major differences with the karate we use today.

Of course there’s little point in taking up the argument that the old techniques are better or worse than the new ones.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:08 am

(Fujimoto)
There are very few karate-related stories from this time in Kanbun sensei’s life. He left China and gave up training under the special set of circumstances described in the book and then spent most of his days in Okinawa working quietly to support his family. His final years in China were not good ones, and I believe he really didn’t want to remember or talk about them with anyone.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:10 am

(Fujimoto)
I believe my research into Kanbun sensei’s life has been exhaustive and currently do not have plans to do any more. The only thing I will add is that shortly after publishing the Japanese edition of the book, I had the chance to meet with Kanbun sensei’s only female student and she passed on some fascinating information.

This included accounts of his training in China and life with his teacher during that time, and one truly surprising discovery was that Kanbun sensei interrupted his training in China more than once to return to Okinawa. I am now in the process of preparing a revised version of the Japanese edition and am planning to discuss with the translation team whether we should consider putting this out in English as well
.
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Re: The Untold Story Of Kanbun Uechi

Postby Van Canna » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:11 am

(Robert)
There are old versions of some of the kata such as Seisan. I always thought it might stimulate interest in the history of Uechi-ryu if people had the opportunity to study the different versions of the kata. Just witnessing a demonstration of the Seisan done in Wakayama certainly sparked my interest.


(Fujimoto)
The techniques of Uechi-ryu have changed with time as the style moved from Wakayama to Osaka, and then to Amagasaki and finally Okinawa. It might be a worthwhile challenge to study these differences together with the history that made them.

Rather than emphasizing what’s right or wrong, old or new, any such attempt would have to be done in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect for all people involved. A large number of Uechi-ryu practitioners in Okinawa and from overseas have already been visiting Wakayama to do just this.
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