ShushiwaTaught Pangainoon in China
Kanbun UechiFounder of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do
Trained under Shushiwa
Kanei Uechi10th Degree
Learned Pangainoon from his father, Kanbun Uechi
Seiyu Shinjo8th Degree
Trained under both Kanbun Uechi and his father, Seiryo Shinjo
Kiyohide Shinjo8th Degree
Trained under his father, Seiyu Shinjo
Manuel DeSaStudent of Master Neil Dunnigan until 2008.  Now formally a student of Master Kiyohide Shinjo


The levels below Black Belt are referred to as Kyu ranks and students at this school progress in the following manner:

All testing is by invitation from an instructor. Formal tests are held 5-7 times throughout the year. Students will be informed in advance as to whether or not they have been invited to the formal test. The decision to test a student is based upon such factors as technical skill, attitude and character, class attendance, length of study and age. Students green belt and above who are invited to test but are unable to attend the formal test, will be invited to the next test, provided they have maintained an adequate level of training.

Kyu ranks are followed by ten “Dan ranks (degrees of Black Belt).   The minimum age for promotion to Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) with recognition and certification from Okinawa is 15.  At Desa School of Karate students under the age of 15 may be promoted to the rank of Junior Shodan, Junior Nidan, etc (1st, 2nd degree black belt).  To be tested for Junior Shodan, a student must have a minimum of three years training

Black Belt tests are held twice a year.  All students who are eligible will be notified well in advance.  These students will then be expected to maintain their training and attend all qualifying classes.  Closer to the actual test date, Sensei deSa will invite those students who have achieved the level of training necessary for their next level to participate in the Black Belt test.


In the dojo (school) or at Karate related events your Head Instructor, Manuel deSa, should be called or referred to as “Sensei” or “Desa Sensei”.  All visiting senior Black Belts will also be addressed in the same manner.

  • All senior students (Black Belts) should be called or referred to as “Sempai” or “name (Smith) Sempai”.
  • When entering the dojo for the first time on any given day, students must bow followed by two claps.  The same format is to be followed when leaving the dojo after the class is done.
  • Thoughtless and careless actions have no place in or out of the dojo.
  • Always keep your body and gi clean.
  • All jewelry must be removed for training.
  • Hair longer than collar length must be tied back.
  • Help to maintain a clean dojo at all times.
  • You are required to learn and practice the student creed as outlined below.


Remembering that the Martial Arts begin and end with respect, I intend to:

  1. Develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or physical health.
  2. Develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.
  3. Use what I learn in class constructively and defensively, to help myself and my fellow man and never to be abusive or offensive.


In the Orient, bowing is a form of showing respect.  In some cases, it is equivalent to shaking hands when greeting someone.  It also has other uses.  Uechi Ryu uses two types of bows.  Each has a certain set of circumstances in which it is used, although the exact usage may vary from school to school.  The most important thing about the bow is the thought behind it.  As Kanei Uechi once said, “Without sincerity, the bow is meaningless.  Rather than be concerned about its outward appearance, put your heart and soul into the bow; then it will naturally take on a good shape”.

Kneeling Bow (Seiza)
The kneeling bow may be used in the following cases:

  • When entering the dojo, prior to starting your workout.
  • As part of the ceremonial class opening and closing.
  • When leaving the dojo for the final time.

At the beginning and end of each class, the students say the following:

Beginning“One Gozaimas”   Meaning please (as in please teach me)
End“Domo Arigato Gozai Mashta”     (Thank you very much)

This terminology is also used when bowing to the Sensei at the start and end of each kata and also when doing a standing bow to your partner before and after doing partner drills.  (Thank you very much can be abbreviated to “arigato gozai mashta” during class).

Standing Bow (Ritsurei)
The standing bow is the most common way of showing respect.  The standing bow is used in the following situations:

  • Whenever the instructor bows to the student.
  • Before asking a question of the instructor and after receiving his reply.  Depending on the circumstances, this practice may be slightly relaxed.  The student should be alert and follow the instructor’s lead.
  • When entering or leaving the dojo together with two claps.
  • At the beginning and end of all kata.
  • Before and after doing a two person drill with a fellow practitioner.  Generally, this bow need not be repeated between each repetition of a two person drill.  It suffices to bow when the partners begin working with one another and when they are finished.
  • When doing a two person drill in certain formal situations a standing bow is directed to the front before the opening bow to one’s partner and after the closing bow to one’s partner.



KiotsukeStand at attention
YoiGet ready
Migi ashi maeRight foot forward
Hidari ashi maeLeft foot forward
Ashi kotai or kotaiSwitch feet/ leg
SeizaKneeling bow
MokusoMeditating period to clear mind
Mokuso YameiStop meditating
Tsuki KamaiReady punching position

You may be asked to bow using the following commands:

Shomen niTo the front of the dojo
Sensei/Sempai niTo Sensei or Sempai
Otogai niTo each other


Musobi dachiAttention stance
Heiko dachiNatural/ parallel
Sanchin dachiSanchin stance
Suegoshi dachiUechi stance
Neko ashi dachiCat stance
Zenkutsu dachiForward leaning stance
Kokutsu dachiBack leaning stance
Kiba dachiHorse stance
Shiko dachiHorse stance toes out
Tsuru dachiCrane stance


Jodan UkeHigh block
Chudan UkeMiddle block
Gedan UkeLow block
Uchi UkeInside forearm
Soto UkeOutside forearm/ Shuto
Mawashi UkeCircle block
WaukeCircle block and strike