Yuichi Kuda


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 Okinawan masters.

Master Kuda passed away in 1999, aged 70.

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