Uechi Kanbun & Dojo Fees

There’s an interesting anecdote written about the founder of Uechi-ryu, Uechi Kanbun, on the Wakayama Uechi-ryu Dojo website. At first glance, you may not think much of it, but upon reading it you realize it says quite a bit about Uechi.

My grandfather, Tamayose Ryuyu, (1897 – 1971), was born in Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture, and was called “Kami” in his childhood. He moved to Iejima, graduated from primary school and worked in farming until he was 23 years old. In 1921 he went to work for Hinomaru Sangyo K.K. in Wakayama City and later became the company’s general manager for Okinawa Prefecture. Four years later, in 1925, Uechi Kanbun, the founder of Uechi-ryu Karate, also joined the same company. In 1926, Kanbun sensei opened a dojo in one of the company rooms in Tebira, Wakayama City.

At that At the time, Kanbun sensei was adamant that he would not open a dojo, so my grandfather approached a young man from Okinawa and asked him to gather about 30 people who were willing to train in kenpo and pay a monthly fee of 5 yen per person in advance for a total of 150 yen. The starting salary for a school teacher was 35 yen, 165 yen for a principal and even a night of drinking and eating at a Ryotei cost 1 yen. I brought the money to Kanbun sensei, who had, “refused to feed himself with the dojo’s monthly fees” and convinced him.