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Uechi History
The history of Pangainoon and Uechi ryu karate seems to begin with Shushiwa. Shushiwa is the Japanese pronunciation of Chou Tsu Ho. Chou Tsu Ho (or Chu Chi Wo) was born in 1874 in Nanko-chin Shibata village in the Zhitian area of China. As least two different backgrounds have been established for Shushiwa. The same is true for the art of Pangainoon which he taught to Kanbun Uechi in the latter part of the 19th century.
Southern Shaolin Ken, considered the strongest sect of Chinese kempo, consisted of hard body training and was offensively rather than defensively oriented. Emphasis was placed on fingertip (nukite) training. Practitioners were known for having fingers like iron. Eishun Ken, another system developed in the South, was a soft style known for its defensive skills. Shushiwa is believed to have combined the two styles to create a system that used hard techniques for offense and soft techniques for defense.
Shushiwa, described as an intelligent and dedicated student, became proficient in several forms of Chinese boxing, particularly Tiger Fist, one of the Five Fists of Fujian. It had been thought by later Uechi-Ryu practitioners for many years that "Shusshabu" which is a dialectic variant of the name "Shushiwa" who was a teacher of Tiger Fist were the same person. After a research visit to Fuchow by master Kenei Uechi and other members of the Uechi Karate Association in 1984, it had become apparent that Shusshabu and Shushiwa were different individuals. Legends attribute Shushiwa with great strength. He reportedly could hold the weight of two people hanging from the fingertips of his outstretched arms. He also became an accomplished painter and calligrapher.
Shushiwa contracted a severe illness and died in 1926, at the young age of fifty-two.
Excerpts from "The Secrets of Uechi Ryu Karate and The Mysteries of Okinawa" and "The History of Uechi-Ryu Karate"
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