Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
Shorin-Ryu Karate USA was founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro, an Okinawan who arrived on the mainland of the United States on September 15, l962. He was one of the first Asian martial artists to bring karate to this country, and he went on to become one of the most influential karatemen in the world today.
Born in Kin, Okinawa on April 20, 1933, Master Ueshiro was a direct descendant of the Okinawan "Bushi" or warrior class. His father, Anho Ueshiro, was his first teacher, along with Entasu Isaenta and Toguchi Seitoku. From these three instructors, Master Ueshiro gained much of his karate knowledge, forming the foundation of his skills.
In 1945 Master Ueshiro’s homeland was devastated by the Battle of Okinawa. The young Ansei Ueshiro lost both parents and sustained severe injuries to his hands. Despite such emotional and physical trauma, Master Ueshiro went on to become world renowned for mentoring others as much as his kumite skill and dexterity with the bo. While Okinawa began rebuilding from the war, Master Ueshiro enrolled in the newly-formed dojo of Grand Master Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu. There he quickly established a reputation for marathon training sessions, strength, determination and speed. By age 27 he was promoted to the rank of San–dan (Sensei) and eventually became Chief Instructor at the main Shorin-Ryu dojo in Naha. There he trained on a daily basis with many of today’s most famous karatemen. For four years (1958 – 1962) he was world champion, and retired uncontested from competition.
In 1960 Master Ueshiro was selected by Sensei Nagamine and Okinawa's other preeminent karate masters to bring karate-do to the U.S. In 1962 the U.S. government issued a special visa to Master Ueshiro expressly for this purpose. The visa was obtained through the efforts of James Wax and his students here in America. Sensei Wax, a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa, had been a student of Master Ueshiro and was the first American to earn a black belt in Shorin-Ryu. Through the help of Sensei Wax, Robert Yarnall and many other pioneering students of American karate, Master Ueshiro was able to establish himself as a leading expert of karate in this country.
By the late 1970’s many dojo had opened on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Master Ueshiro was able to launch a successful import/export enterprise to support his family and avoid over-commercialization of the Shorin-Ryu system. In the early 1990’s Master Ueshiro received his U.S. citizenship. He passed away on May 7, 2002 and is buried in Locust Valley, NY. Presently there is a network of over 100 Shorin-Ryu Karate dojo in the U.S. which directly trace their roots and heritage to Master Ueshiro or his students.
“I am going to teach karate to the American people the way it was taught to me.”
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