The History of Ueshiro
Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
FORTY YEARS ago a young Okinawan man arrived on the shores of Alaska-then
a territory of the United States of America. The following day, on September
15, l962, Ansei Ueshiro set foot on the mainland of the USA for the first
time. He was one of the first Oriental martial artists to bring karate
to this country, and he went on to become one of the most influential
karatemen in the world today.
At the request of his sensei, Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine, the founder
of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu, the landmark decision to leave Okinawa was
made and agreed upon by Master Ueshiro and his teachers and students.
By special visa of the United States government, Master Ueshiro made the
voyage in order to bring the art of Shorin-Ryu to America.
The special visa was obtained through the efforts of James Wax and his
students here in the United States. On Okinawa, James Wax was the first
American to earn a black belt in Shorin-Rvu under the tutelage of Master
Ueshiro. On Sensei Wax's return to the U.S. from military service on Okinawa
as a U.S. Marine, he opened a dojo in Dayton, Ohio.
James Wax, Robert Yarnall and many of the original American students in
the U.S. helped Hanshi Ueshiro establish himself in America. Nevertheless,
there were many hardships and difficulties which he had to overcome. But
Master Ueshiro was not unaccustomed to hardship. While he was a child,
he suffered through the agonies of World War II on his homeland, Okinawa,
one of the most violent battlefields of the war. He then endured the aftermath
of the war, the rebuilding of Okinawa.
Master Ueshiro, who was physicallv disabled during the war, overrcame
this disability by becoming more proficient with his maimed hands than
any other karate practitioner of his time. At first, after the injury,
some people suggested he wear gloves to hide the disfigurement and scars.
He refused and developed tremendous skill, dexterity and strength in his
hands and body. He also became world renowned for his bojutsu.
Having overcome so much, he still sacrificed many things in relocating
to the U.S. in order to propagate his martial art. The first few years
were the most difficult, as he had left his family behind and had to wait
several years to be reunited with them. The language barrier, earning
a living in a foreign land, and finding a home were just a few of the
obstacles he faced in his effort to bring Shorin-Ryu Karate to America.
Indeed, since traditional karate is not a lucrative financial enterprise,
Master Ueshiro, in order to support his family, became a successful entrepreneur
in the import/export field. He recently became a U.S. citizen and we are
all honored by this.
Master Ueshiro's fortitude, strength of character, and karate training
enabled him to survive and to succeed. Hanshi Ueshiro taught karate, opened
many dojo in the East and Midwest, and successfully built the organization
to what it is today. Presently there is a network of over 100 Shorin-Ryu
Karate dojo in the U.S. which directly trace their roots and heritage
to Hanshi Ueshiro or his students.
Hanshi Ueshiro is a direct blood descendant of the Okinawan "Bushi"
class of warriors. His father, Anho Ueshiro, was his first teacher, along
with Entasu Isaenta and Toguchi Seitoku. From these three main teachers,
Master Ueshiro gained much of his karate knowledge, which formed the foundation
of his skills. Later, he entered the dojo of Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine.
And, even as a young man, Ansei Ueshiro brought much to the Okinawan dojo,
eventually becoming Chief Instructor at the main dojo in Naha. There,
until he left for the United States, he continued to train vigorously
on a daily basis with many of today's most famous karatemen.
Since 1962, we in America are privileged to enjoy the art of Matsubayashi
Karate under Master Ueshiro's guidance and expertise. We, the students
of Shorin-Ryu, are the beneficiaries of his efforts and are proud of Shorin-Ryu
Karate U.S.A., the original style, here in the United States.
We will proudly celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hanshi Ueshiro's arrival
on our shores.
To live within limits,to want one thing or a very few things very much
and love them dearly, cling to them, survey them from every angle, become
one with them- that is what makes the poet, the artist, the human being.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson to learn is that in Karate, as in life,
out of it exactly what is put into it.