Stories about Ansei Ueshiro told here and in our karate school are from information that is word of mouth from people who knew Ansei Ueshiro up close and personal. Best place to start is at the beginning. It was WWII and Ansei Ueshiro was 11 years old. The story goes that his family was huddled together as the last battle of WWII was fought on his homeland, Okinawa. As a little guy he felt protective and he stood at the opening of the cave and inadvertently caught a fire bomb. Needless to say he was badly burned but survived. The doctors shook their heads as if to say what a waste of a life. His chin was stuck to his neck and his hands were badly burned. His father and his uncles were all karate men and after some time in the hospital, they took him under their wing and under their guidance, he became a famous karate man. The expression: “Like the phoenix rising from the ashes”, is a good metaphor for Ansei Ueshiro. As a child, his hero was Miyamoto Musashi and when he was young he carried a wooden stick where ever he went and later in life Ansei Ueshiro became a champion with the Bo. If you look closely at the photo above, you can see the scars on his neck and his fingers are like mitts. When he was alive he never spoke of his malady and no one ever asked. When Ansei Ueshiro entered a room, he had an energy like a movie star and as adoring fans we would never broach the subject of his scars, never ever. It wasn’t till he died that stories were told. More in part two, three and four.