Book Reviews

The Masters are in Agreement

Michael A. DeMarco, Publisher
Via Media Publishing Company

Journal of Asian Martial Arts, 2005 Volume 14 Number 1, page 85
Karate: A Master's Secret of Uechi-Ryu - Instructor's Guide/Student's
by Ihor Rymaruk

Karate practitioners, and Uechi-ryu stylists in particular, will find a complete and thorough presentation of the Uechi-ryu system in Ihor Rymaruk's martial tome. Rymaruk's work is a pragmatic and candid technical presentation of what students in this discipline can expect in their training up to an advanced level.

The book's layout provides amply spaced text and generous technical photo displays reducing the feel of the book's thickness. The photos and text are clearly laid out making it an easy and open read.

Rymaruk, a master teacher and lifetime Uechi-ryu practitioner, provides a clearly written and informative overview of Uechi-ryu's history, distinctive stylistic qualities, and foundational techniques. Additional supplementary materials include self-defense applications against both firearms and edged-weapons attacks. Historical and archival photos of Okinawan teachers, geography, and local culture punctuate the work.

A great deal of attention is given to Uechi-ryu's unique open-hand strike and block formations and, in particular, the circling blocks of one of Okinawa's oldest forms, the Sanchin kata. Rymaruk presents all the essential technical and conceptual building blocks of Sanchin-the first and most significant form in the Uechi system. Goju-ryu,
Isshin-ryu, and Shorin-ryu proponents should note the variations.

Rymaruk is clear to state that his work is "a discussion and exposition of technique," accumulated over his nearly forty years of training experience. He avoids philosophical speculations, instead concentrating upon Uechi's practical nature: what works and how to achieve that goal. There are few works in English regarding Uechi-ryu karate outside of
George Mattson's classic book Uechiryu Karate Do (1974), and Alan Dollar's Secrets of Uechi Ryu Karate and the Mysteries of Okinawa (1996) that cover this breadth of technique.

The book contains some superfluous testimonials by students-plus sections on training women and children and resource information on martial arts and criminal law-giving the work its personalized air as a student manual for Rymaruk's association. Nevertheless, practitioners of any martial art will find technical gems, whether it be in the broad coverage of basic conditioning exercises, the unique hand formations and toe kicks, the pre-arranged sparring (yakusoku kumite) sets, or simply Rymaruk's straightforward philosophy.

Though this book may appear an overwhelming manual to a beginning Uechi-ryu student, it offers invaluable insight into the discipline and will no doubt become a historical landmark for both the preservation and the evolution of the Okinawan martial disciplines.

Christopher Goedeke, B.S.
Fairfield University

"This text provides an excellent guideline for both the beginner and the advanced student of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do. The author has provided the reader with an excellent means of reference material that will surely prove useful throughout one's training."

- James Thompson
Kyoshi, Hachi-Dan, Uechi-Ryu Karate


"To write a chronicle on the study and practice of Okinawan Uechi-Ryu Karate Do is an incredible and daunting task. Rymaruk's dedication and experience has truly captured the essence of this Martial Art. I have known Ihor for about 30 years. I have traveled to Okinawa with him and know of no one more qualified to compile a detailed chronicle of Uechi-Ryu than Ihor. It is hoped that his work is appreciated and assists present and future students to reach their potential."

- Frank Gorman
Kyoshi, 8th Dan, Shohei-Ryu


"Your book is especially interesting, because it doesn't simply rehash old and known material ... your descriptions and applications offer unique and valuable training insights to all whom study these pages. I also found your new drills, techniques and applications to be helpful to students who wish to practice on their own. Descriptions of movements and illustrations are easily understood and easy to follow."

- George Mattson
Hanshi, 9th Dan, Uechi-Ryu


"This book is a must read - not only for every Uechi-Ryu practitioner, but for any person with a sincere interest in the Martial Arts. Sensei Rymaruk balances the technical and the philosophical with a well researched and interesting approach to the material. I highly recommend this book as an encyclopedia and reference work for any martial artist."

- Buzz Durkin
Kyoshi, 8th Dan, Uechi-Ryu


"It is with great honor that I write these few words about one of today's men of Budo. One who maintains the ancient ways and teachings of those who came before us. In my many conversations with Rymaruk Sensei, I realized he is not only proficient in technical ability, but here is an exceptional teacher with vast understanding and knowledge of the essence which we all strive to attain in our pursuit of martial and spiritual excellence. And to the reader, may these pages give you an insight, and inspire you to seek out those teachers that can show you The Way."

- J. Kano Flores, Budoka
Masakatsu Agatsu (True victory is self-victory)