Uechi ryu Photo Gallery

Development of Uechi ryu Okinawa Karate-do in Europe

period from 1972 till 2003

Mr Mario Topolsek started practising karate in Paris in 1965. His first karate teacher was Taiji Kase Sensei, at that time 7  DAN Shotokan ryu. Taiji Kase Sensei was a discipline of Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, the founder of Shotokan ryu Karate School. Mr Kase was a technical consultant of the Karate Federation of Yugoslavia for many years.

Mr Topolsek took his first karate lessons at the Karate Club de France, one of the oldest karate Clubs in Europe, which generated many French, European and world karate champions and where came to practise a great number of celebrated karate masters, like Mr Nambu and Mr Valera... In the early 1970's Mr Topolsek went to Okinawa, a small island in Japan, that was a source of the karate art, and from there spread all over the world.

It was in Okinawa that Mr Topolsek became a student of Kanei Uechi, the famous karate teacher 10 DAN Uechi Karate School. His father, Kanbun Uechi Sensei, had learned the art of Tiger, Dragon and Crane in the town of Fuzhou, Southern China, during the period from 1897 to 1910. Mr Kanbun Uechi's teacher was Zhou Zihe and the art this famous master taught was Sandiru-36 movements (this information was obtained in Fuzhou, China).

In 1910 Kanbun Uechi Sensei returned to Okinawa, and, in 1925 in Wakayama, Japan, began teaching, for the first time in public, the art he had learned in China. His eldest son, Kanei Uechi, came to Wakayama in 1927 and joined his father's school. After 10 years of everyday training, he was given the certificate of the Master of Tiger, Dragon and Crane Art by his father.

After the death of Kanbun Uechi Sensei on a small island of Iejima in 1948, his students gave this ancient Chinese Quanfa martial art the name of Uechi ryu in honour of his great art.

Zhou Zihe - Chinese teacher of the Art of Tiger, Dragon and Crane (Sandiru)
Kanbun Uechi Sensei
Kanei Uechi Sensei 10 DAN Uechi ryu
Master Kanei Uechi with his friends, masters of Uechi ryu, on the island of Iejima
The beginning of Uechi ryu practising in Europe. The first Uechi ryu seminar, organised by Mr Mario Topolsek, took place in Yugoslavia, in 1973.
The first Uechi ryu karate seminar led by a teacher from Okinawa, Mr Y. Shimabukuro 4 DAN Uechi ryu, student of Seiko Toyama Sensei.
In 1975, in Okinawa, Mr Topolsek obtained a certificate of Uechi ryu 3 DAN and an Uechi ryu Instructor license No. 59. Standing on Mr Topolsek’s left side is Master Kanei Uechi, and on his right side is Mr Uechi’s eldest son Kanmei 4 DAN Uechi ryu.
Soke Shubukan dojo Uechi ryu Okinawa – standing in the middle is Kanei Uechi Sensei 10 DAN with his two students and first representatives of Uechi ryu in Europe. On his left is standing Mr Scott from England, and, on his right Mr Topolsek from Yugoslavia.
Master Kanei Uechi with his student Mr Topolsek outside Soke Shubukan Uechi ryu dojo-Okinawa, 1975
The dinner given by Mr Scott from England in honour of his departure from Okinawa attended by Master Kanei Uechi. Sitting first on the right is Seiyu Shinjo Sensei, next to him Mr Scott, Mr Donnelly, Mr Kenefick and Mr Topolsek.
Master Kanei Uechi with his students and Uechi ryu instructors from England, Argentina, America, Australia and Yugoslavia – photo taken outside Soke Shubukan, the world Uechi ryu center in Okinawa in 1975.
In 1978 Master Kanei Uechi’s book, Uechi ryu Karate-do Kyokai, was published in Japanese in Okinawa. The book deals with the history and development of Tiger, Dragon, and Crane Art in China, Okinawa and Japan, techniques and katas, exercises for strengthening arms, legs and the whole body, as well as traditional herbal medicine and vital points. It also contains a Chinese manuscript „WU BEI ZHI“ –Bubishi– a famous manual for self-defense which appeared somewhere in the Chinese province of Fujian (the author and time of its origin unknown). By the end of the 19th or at the begining of the 20th century, the manuscript was brought to Okinawa and its methods were used by many of the well-known karate masters-the founders of karate schools in Okinawa. An official register of The Okinawa Uechi Karate Association is also found in Mr Uechi’s book along with the photos and DAN titles/black belt degrees/ of instructors and representatives of Uechi ryu in Okinawa and across the world in 1978.
In 1980, in Okinawa, Mr Topolsek obtained a certificate of Uechi ryu 4 DAN.
The Okinawa Uechi Karate Association gave a banquet to welcome Mr M. Topolsek and his Uechi ryu students from Yugoslavia. Sitting in the middle is Master Kanei Uechi, Ryoko Tomoyose Sensei and on his left is Mr Ric Martin, Uechi ryu USA, and Mr Mario Topolsek on his right.
Okinawa, 1981 – Master Kanei Uechi and Mr. Topolsek.
Intensive Training Course certificate – Okinawa, 1981.
Okinawa, 1981. Mr Topolsek with Uechi ryu teachers: Master Kanei Uechi, Mr. Tomoyose Sensei, Mr. Takamiyagi Sensei, Mr. Gushi Sensei, Mr. Nakahodo Sensei, Mr. Senaga Sensei.
Recognition – given to Mr Mario Topolsek by the Okinawa Uechi Karate Association: „We pay tribute to the honourable Mario Topolsek for his dedication and contribution to spreading Uechi ryu Karate-do across Yugoslavia. We take the occasion of commemoration of 33 years of Master Kanbun Uechi’s decease to express our gratitude for these achievements.“ – Okinawa, 1981.
Paying a visit to Naha ginza Uechi ryu dojo. Sitting in the middle is Tsutomu Nakahodo Sensei 8 DAN Uechi ryu, kneeling on his left is Yoshitsune Senaga Sensei (Uechi ryu and Kobudo Master), and Mario Topolsek sitting on his right. Standing on the left is Kiyohide Shinjo Sensei and Uechi ryu students from Yugoslavia. – Okinawa, 1981.
Kiyohide Shinjo Sensei and Minoru Miyagi Sensei paying a visit to Mr Topolosek and his Uechi ryu group from Yugoslavia. – Okinawa, 1981.
Kosuke Yonamine Sensei (Uechi ryu and Kobudo Master) with two of his students visiting Mr Topolsek and Uechi ryu students from Yugoslavia. – Okinawa, 1981.
First visitors and trainees to a newly opened Chatan Uechi ryu dojo Shigeru Takamiyagi Sensei were Mr Topolsek and his Uechi ryu group from Yugoslavia. – Okinawa, 1981.
Dedicated to Mr Mario Topolsek – from the book Uechi-ryu karate by Sensei Shigeru Takamiyagi.
„Certificate – Given to Mario Topolsek by The Okinawa Uechi Karate Association in acknowledgement of his mastery of the spirit and art of Uechi ryu karate-do, both aspects of the art having been accomplished by devoted study and practice.“
Master Kanei Uechi Sensei checking and testing Sanchin kata on his student M. Topolsek.
A farewell cup of tea with the teacher, Kanei Uechi Sensei, on the occasion of the departure from Okinawa of Uechi ryu students from Yugoslavia. Okinawa, 1981.
Master Kanei Uechi giving Mario Topolsek a Master Instructor 5 DAN Uechi ryu Certificate. Okinawa, 1983.
Letter of Appointment - Okinawa, 1984.
Okinawa, 1985 – sitting in the middle is Master Kanei Uechi. Standing third on the right Mr Kalac from Croatia, next to him Mr Popovic from Serbia, Mr Gabrovec from Slovenia, Mr Zubak and Mr Dizdarevic from Croatia (both Mr Kalac’s students). Due to his poor health, Master Kanei Uechi did not train or teach Uechi ryu any longer, so that the above mentioned Uechi ryu students from Yugoslavia were being trained at that time by his son Kanmei Uechi Sensei (sitting first on the right) with the assistance of an American Uechi ryu instructor (sitting first on the left). All the others featuring in this photo (except for Mr Topolsek, sitting second on the right) are American Uechi ryu instructors and students.
A formal banquet given by the The Okinawa Karate Association (organisation uniting all karate schools in Okinawa) in honour of the end of the Karate Championship of all karate schools in Okinawa. Kneeling fourth on the right in the first row is Mr. Mario Topolsek, on his left is Mr. Tetsuhiro Hokama Sensei 8 DAN (Goju and Kobudo Master) who is the founder of the only existing Museum of Karate and Kobudo in Okinawa where plenty of information on the history and the past of Martial Arts in Okinawa is found. – Okinawa, 1985.
Thanks to Mr. Tetsuhiro Hokama 10 DAN Goju-ryu we can show a photo from Okinawa Karate & Kobudo museum established by him personally – Okinawa, 11th of January, 1987.
Karate & Kobudo museum – Okinawa, 5th of May, 2010.
Kume Mura – Okinawa, 1975.
Uechi-ryu Karate-do Association lineage chart from the book "Okinawan Karate" by Mark Bishop, published in London in 1989. Mr. Bishop lived many years on Ryukyu Islands. He was given the Uechi-ryu lineage chart by Master Kanei Uechi.
As a guest of The Okinawa Karate Association, Mr Topolsek participated in The 1st World Karate and Kobudo Championship of Okinawa karate schools in 1997. Mr Topolsek is sitting first on the left in the second row at the ceremony arranged to pay tribute for spreading and developing Okinawa Karate and Kobudo.
Certificate given to Mr Mario Topolsek by The Okinawa Karate Association.
Kume Mura – Okinawa, 1975.
Zakimi Uechi ryu dojo.
A visit to Zakimi dojo whose owner is Seiko Toyama Sensei 9 DAN Uechi ryu. Seiko Toyama Sensei and Mr Topolsek – Okinawa, 1997. (The late Seiko Toyama Sensei and Seiyu Shinjo Sensei started practising karate in Wakayama as young men under guidance of Master Kanbun Uechi).
Training in Zakimi Uechi ryu dojo.
Dinner after the training. Sitting in the middle are Mr and Mrs Toyama with friends. The young man sitting second on the right was, at that time, the only student of Toyama Sensei besides his daughter. Mr Topolsek sitting first on the left – Okinawa, 1997.
Mario Topolsek – Okinawa, 1999.
Following the tradition of people in Okinawa, Mario Topolsek is paying his respect and expressing his gratitude to the teachers, Kanbun Uechi Sensei and Kanei Uechi Sensei, on the 1st of January 2000.
The E.U.K.F. team took part in the 2nd World Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Championship in 2003. The team was made up of Uechi ryu students from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Serbia. The photo was taken outside the Okinawa Prefectural Hall of Martial Arts where The World Championship took place.
Participant from Serbia demonstrating Uechi ryu kata at The World Championship – Okinawa, 2003.
The celebration of 31 years of Uechi ryu in Europe, called „Japan and us“ took place on 15th of November, 2003 in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.


Early morning in one of Fuzhou parks. Standing in the middle is Mr. Mario Topolsek, standing on his left side is Mr. Li, vicechairman of Fuzhou Wushu Association who was a very good friend of the late Master Kanei Uechi. On Mr. Topolsek right side is famous Master of Calling White Crane.
Seminar of White Crane in Fuzhou, China. (karate practitioners from Japan and West)