Uechi-Ryu is a traditional Okinawan style of karate originated by Kanbun Uechi in the early 1900’s. By blending native Okinawa techniques with a style of Chinese Kung fu, Kanbun Uechi devised a strong system that emphasizes strong body conditioning, quick powerful open hand strikes, and pointed toe kicks. Kanbun’s son, Kanei Uechi, followed in his father’s footsteps and not only opened the teaching of Uechi-Ryu to the military forces stationed on Okinawa, but also created new material that added to the system of Uechi-Ryu. Some of the signature movements of Uechi-Ryu are circular blocking and linear counter strikes. One prominent weapon is the use of the one-knuckle punch.
Kanbun passed along three katas to his students. These three are referred to as the main katas of the system. Kanei Uechi developed five bridging katas to allow the student to gain more understanding of the main katas.
Uechi Kanei added material taught in this art. He devised a set of preliminary and supplementary exercises to warm up the student and to teach him basic karate skills. He also created five bridging katas, which serves as stepping stones between the three main kata taken from Pangai-noon. He also devised several pre-arranged sparring drills designed to teach the skills needed for free style sparring. Uechi Kanei kept teaching in Futenma until he passed away on February 2, 1991.
The growth of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do can be attributed to Uechi Kanei (1911-1991). The world wide expansion of Uechi Ryu is seen as a direct result of Uechi Kanei’s teaching philosophy. He not only accepted American students, but encouraged them to study other styles as well, so as to increase their understanding of Uechi Ryu and also Budo in general.
The growth of Uechi-Ryu Karate Do has led to Dojos starting in many countries of the world. There are Dojos in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and the United States. All from the students that have been taught by Uechi Kanei.
Sensei Nick Godi was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. He currently holds the rank of 1st degree black belt in Uechi Ryu Karate and 3rd Kyu in Aikido. He continues to train under Grandmaster James Thompson and Sensei Dave Mata while studying History and Japanese language at Aquinas College.
Nick’s martial arts training began while serving in the United States Army as a Forward Observer. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and was honorably discharged in 2013 with the rank of Sergeant. Nick immediately knew he wanted to continue his training and enrolled at the Kyoseikan school as a student of Sensei Takashi Okada and Sensei Dave Mata. Since then he has traveled internationally to promote martial arts, competed in multiple tournaments, organized karate seminars, and has been promoted to the chief instructor of the Uechi Ryu program at the Kyoseikan dojo.
Nick’s teaching style focuses on the traditional values of karate and works to cultivate discipline and respect through a pragmatic approach to combat. Training will focus on mastering basic principles like precision, timing, and distancing in order to explore their complex applications in real life scenarios. Training will include full body conditioning to strength the mind, body, and spirit of the practitioner. His primary objective is to teach students how to use martial arts for not just self-protection, but also self-perfection.
Nick has a deep appreciation of Japanese culture beyond Karate. He studies Zen Buddhism from the Soto lineage and received his ordination in 2015 from Richard Collins Roshi based in New Orleans, LA. He is also learning the Japanese language and practices with a local tutor.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF KARATE
- CONTROL OVER ONESELF One must first be able to control oneself before attempting to control others. Without a good balance and control of oneself, you can neither avoid an attack nor apply an effective technique on others.
- PRINCIPLE OF ONENESS A person must always keep in mind of becoming one with the attack. Regardless of the type of attack, you must join with it. It is not how strong you are, but how correct you are, that counts. One shouldn’t be watching others doing kata, but paying attention to your own kata. If you are watching someone else doing kata, you can’t be one with your own techniques.
- RANGE OF EFFECTIVENESS The best way to defend yourself against an attack, is to get out of the opponent’s range of effectiveness. You can back up, side step, or circle around inside of the attack. But you must maintain your range of effectiveness at all times.
DIRECTIONS FOR KARATE CLASS ACTIVITY
1. The martial arts begin and end with respect.
2. Bow upon entering and leaving the dojo, indicating your respect for the training hall.
3. Follow the instructions given by the instructor and your seniors.
4. Smoking is prohibited in the dojo.
5. Make the best use of training time given in class. Limit unnecessary talking.
6. Practice in a business-like manner.
7. Always keep your body and your gi clean.
8. You are responsible for proper conduct inside and outside of the dojo.
9. Person to person relationships in the dojo must be reinforced by courtesy and respect.
10. Keep your nails short.
11. Wearing jewelry is prohibited in the dojo.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR STUDENTS
1. The purpose of studying Uechi-Ryu is to develop the karate devotee into a healthy, well-coordinated person, both physically and mentally and to train him so that he may master the weaponless art of self-defense.
2. The karate-ka must always be on his best behavior taking a modest attitude toward others, setting great value on courtesy among people, being careful of his speech and actions, and being diligent in his study.
3. The karate-ka must not become a nuisance to others by using harsh language and committing violence towards others.
4. The karate-ka must not bring disgrace, even in the slightest degree, to his own school, Uechi-Ryu and himself by making shameful and rude comments or actions.
5. The karate-ka must not be self-absorbed and shouldn’t run to the easy and idle way of life. He must make a constant effort to continue the hard work enabling him to fill his mind with the vigor of life.
Students may be able to take a test every three month (about after 25 lessons). Every student starts from white belt.
These are the ten beginner or Kyū ranks, which in traditional practice count down from 10 to 1.
10. Jukyu (White Belt)
9. Kukyu (Yellow Belt)
8. Hachikyu (Yellow Belt w/ 1 Stripe)
7. Shichikyu (Yellow Belt w/ 2 Stripes)
6. Rokkyu (Green Belt)
5. Gokyu (Green Belt w/ 1 Stripe)
4. Yonkyu (Green Belt w/ 2 Stripes)
3. Sankyu (Brown Belt)
2. Nikyu (Brown Belt w/ 1 Stripe)
1. Ikkyu (Brown Belt w/ 2 Stripes)
There are white belt, yellow belt, green belt, blue belt, and brown belt. Children (6-12 years old) are only allowed to receive up to brown belt. Black belt examination is held at the Master James Thompson’s dojo in Kalamazoo, MI.
Schedule for Karate Classes
Adult Class: Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Youth Class: Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, 6-12 years old
Adult $65 per month
Youth 6-12 years old $55 per month
Fees are due on the 1st of every month.
-Free Introductory Class (Wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt.)
-Additional family members receive $5 off.
-Students must prepare and wear a white Karate uniform.
-Training in bare feet.
*All Prices subject to change without prior notice.