Master Yuichi Kuda was known as a quiet man and was a contemporary master of
Shorin Ryu. Born in Chinen village, Okinawa in 1928, he was descended from a
line of Okinawan samurai with his family geneology dating back over five hundred
years to one of the early Okinawan kings of the Sho Dynasty (1407-1477).
He first received instruction in karate from his father, who also taught him
the family style of bojutsu, the art using the Okinawan staff. At age ten he
also began training in kendo. When he was about twenty five years old he studied
karate under a man by the name of Yamashiro. Master Kuda credits this man with
teaching him the true spirit of karate-do.
In the 1960's Master Kuda became a student of Shigeru Nakamura (founder of
Okinawan Kenpo) and was admitted to Nakamura's Okinawan Kenpo Association. After
Nakamura's death in 1970, Master Kuda began studying Matsumura (Orthodox) Shorin
Ryu under Grandmaster Hohan Soken. Although Yuichi Kuda was a dedicated teacher
and a Grandmaster of Matsumura (Orthodox) Shorin Ryu, he prefered to call his
system 'Matsumura Kenpo Shorin Ryu'.
Master Kuda has developed some unique karate and kobudo kata. A set of five
karate kata called Niseidi emphasize dynamic kicking movements such as the
sidekick/spinning back-kick combination. These are kicking techniques lacking in
the classical Okinawan kata. Two other empty-hand kata are called Kobudi Sho and
Dai. These kata are the embodyment of Soken Sensei's self defence and street
fighting techniques as adapted by Master Kuda. He also developed a beautiful
nitan bo (two short sticks) kata which emphasizes flowing circular movements and
the crane stance. A tonfa kata called Renshin nu Tunfa is also of Master Kuda's
design and his interpretations of using the bo have been adopted by other
Master Kuda passed away in 1999, aged 70.