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Ansei Ueshiro-Part two

 

Art work by Norman Steenhold. Words by Bill Pepper. Photo by Don Barnhart

Art work by Norman Steenholdt. Words by Bill Pepper. Photo by Don Barnhart

Ansei Ueshiro always called Shoshin Nagamine his Sensei, even though as the story goes: Ansei Ueshiro made the trip to the USA in 1962 and decided to never call “home”. (read part one) The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do by Shoshin Nagamine is our “bible”. The only kata missing in this book is Fukuygata san, Ansei Ueshiro’s kata. The reason it was omitted is because his home dojo was not happy about the disconnect and therefore Ansei Ueshiro didn’t exist to them. Fukugata san was composed for Americans by Ansei Ueshiro to strengthen their legs. It is a move forward kata that encourages strong quadriceps. There are only two places in the kata where the student stands tall and uses the driving force of the hips to propel the standing punch. My Sensei trained closely with Ansei Ueshiro and had the opportunity to ask Master Ueshiro questions about Fukugata san. This was back in the 70′s before The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. Way back then our Sensei was the only way we had to learn the kata. My Sensei, Robert Scaglione, had direct access to Ansei Ueshiro and therefore was able to get answers about foot placement and one or two handed moves etc. In addition to technique, Master Ueshiro showed him how to observe each student, as we all have different body types and my Sensei also learned the importance of stepping first. In the early 80′s, Master Ueshiro presided at a Long Island black belt test on the beach. Gathered together were all the different New York Shorin-Ryu schools. Ansei Ueshiro decided to promote only four of the twenty six Ik-kyu that were present for testing. The test began at 5 AM and went till 2 PM without any water breaks! It was at this blackbelt promotion I learned the expression “Sho-dan-ho”. Sho-dan-ho requires the testing student’s Sensei to award the black belt and black belt certificate at a future time. The testing student must wait until the necessary lessons are learned or the Sensei thinks it is time. Sho-dan-ho meaning hold the certificate. Karate-do is a lifetime marathon and setbacks on the path are common and in hind site, always welcome. The main thing I have learned and observed from my Sensei is to just keep training. Arigato, respectfully submitted Sensei Judy, Merritt Island, Florida.

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