In 1958 when George Mattson was returning to America from Okinawa, Master Kanei Uechi asked him to do his best to further Uechi Ryu karate in America . The responsibility of his promise prompted him to open a dojo in Boston , and published his first book, “The Way of Karate” in 1963.
George Mattson is known as the first American who brought Uechi Ryu from Okinawa to America . Since then, numerous Americans and Europeans have studied in Okinawa and have spread Uechi Ryu throughout the world.
George Mattson’s first dojo in Boston was the famous and very successful Columbus Avenue dojo where the first, second and third generations of Uechi Ryu seniors were trained. The Uechi-Ryu Karate Association was also formed. Many of those earlier seniors have become famous in their own right as Uechi Ryu masters and instructors. Some had traveled to Okinawa to further their study and some had organized their associations.
Master Kanei Uechi died in 1991. His son, Kanmei Uechi, has since become the head of the Uechi Ryu Karate Association in Okinawa . Uechi Ryu has also branched into various organizations and associations worldwide.
In mid-1980′s George Mattson organized Uechi-Ryu’s North American Chapter (NAC). The goal of NAC was to unit Uechi-Ryu teachers who were more interested in the actual practice and success of Uechi-Ryu than political issues. Along with a fresh attitude towards rank and establishment of uniform standards, the organization also adopted a code of conduct and ethics regarding teaching and student relationship. NAC later evolved to be the International Uechi-Ryu Karate Federation (IUKF) and expanded to include members outside of North America . It is the hope of IUKF that irrespective of politics and competitiveness among the various organizations and associations, we, as practitioners of Uechi Ryu, can and will work together for the betterment of Uechi Ryu.