St. Louis Dojo History
St. Charles Dojo Info
St. Louis Dojo
Uechi-Ryu was first introduced in St. Louis by Frederick L. Norris. Mr. Norris trained in Uechi-Ryu with Master Seiyu Shinjo while stationed in Okinawa with the Marine Corp. Mr. Norris returned from Okinawa with the rank of Sandan in 1961. After several years, Mr. Norris began teaching in 1968 to a small group of students. Lawrence H. Jennings was one of those students. Mr. Jennings trained under Mr. Norris for several years eventually earning the rank of Shodan, or first degree black belt.
With a strong desire to further the spread of the art, Mr. Jennings began teaching a small group of students, mostly friends and acquaintances. On November 13, 1973 he began teaching a class to the public at the Northwest County YMCA. One of the students in the class was James G. Foley.
Mr. Foley trained diligently with Sensei Jennings and was tested for and promoted to Shodan in August 1976. Mr. Foley continued training and acted as assistant instructor to Sensei Jennings until 1977 when Mr. Jennings moved to California to take advantage of a promising career opportunity. Prior to Mr. Jennings' departure from St. Louis, he relinquished the responsibilities of continuing the class and furthering the art to Mr. Foley.
Foley continued teaching and training and eventually began making
contacts with other Uechi-Ryu practitioners throughout the United
States in hopes of learning more and getting closer to the source of
Uechi-Ryu. One of those practitioners was James Thompson of Kalamazoo,
MI. Mr. Foley spent time training with Sensei Thompson and was
encouraged by him to travel to Okinawa. Mr. Foley traveled to Okinawa
in March of 1982 and during the course of his stay met Kiyohide Shinjo,
son of Seiyu Shinjo (Mr. Norris' Sensei). Mr. Foley trained with Master
Shinjo several times a week and almost daily with Master Kanei Uechi,
son of the founder of the system. Near the end of Mr. Foley's stay in
Okinawa he was told that he was to be tested for Sandan by the
Uechi-Ryu Board of Directors after their monthly meeting in May. Mr.
Foley passed the test and was awarded the rank of Sandan and was issued
Soke Shubukan (Uechi Family Dojo) instructor certification from Uechi
Kanei Sensei. Since that time Mr. Foley has trained with Master Shinjo
and other Okinawa masters many times in both Okinawa and the United States.
In June of 2009 Sensei Foley was promoted to Kyoshi Nanadan (seventh degree)
by Shinjo Sensei at the Koshukai in Largo, Florida.
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