Kanbun Uechi was an originator of “Uechi-ryu.” He was born in Izumi village Magiri Motobu Ryukyu han.Kanbun was very looked like his mother Tsuru who was tall, iron health and eloquence.
In 1897, Kanbun went to Fujian Province, Republic of China to study one of Chinese martial arts “South Shaolin Kung Fu” under Master Shu Shi Wa and stayed there for 17 years. Kanbun passed his final exam which was travel around the country as an essence peddler. At that time in China, “Essence peddler” means who train themselves and disciplinants of martial arts. Finishing this final exam, Kanbun established his own Dojo in China, teaching his students under his motto “Victory by default.” However, his dream of introducing martial arts to next generation failed in three years. One of his disciples killed a person accidentally. After this, Kanbun returned to Okinawa and lived in quiet as a farmer for 17 years. During this time, many friends of Kanbun asked him to teach martial arts for teachers and police officers but he declined any of them. Maybe this was the way of taking responsibilities for his disciple.
In 1924, he moved in Wakayama prefecture. Eight years later, asked to teach his martial arts by Okinawan around him in Wakayama, Kanbun established “Pangai-noon Style Karate Research Institute” in Wakayama city and began to teach his method to many people. It’s been 41 years since he left Fujian Province, China. Then he renamed the institute to “Uechi-ryu Karate Research Institute” and became an originator of “Uechi-ryu” when he was 63.
1924 was also the time of Gichin Funakoshi. Supported by Baron Chosuke Ie, he performed Okinawa Karate in front of many martial artists such as Jigoro Kano and many administrators. This made him famous all over the Japan. After that, Gichin taught his Karate method at universities.
Unlike Gichin Funakoshi, Kanbun Uechi was never became well known Karate master in those times. Lived in silence for taking his responsibilities for his disciple was Kanbun Uechi’s way of Okinawa Karate life.