Uechi Deshi Program

The Uechi Deshi Program at Asato Dojo offers an opportunity to join a structured program of martial arts and cultural study in Okinawa for 30, 90 or 180 days. The program is open to serious students who are adequately prepared and committed to complete the program. There is no minimum level of pre-existing competency or rank required.

The Asato Dojo was established in 2018 as a centre for comparative study of martial arts and related culture. It is located in the heart of Naha, capital city of Okinawa, Japan. The dojo head (“kancho”) is James Pankiewicz, 5th dan Matsubayashiryu karatedo (Shorin-ryu) and the dojo features a regular program of weekly classes as well as frequent seminar events, often shared online too. The dojo has hosted many visiting teachers over the years and James maintains a collaborative relationship with many local Okinawan teachers as well as many overseas. 
We produce many online classes, seminars and tours.
Please check our Bujin.Tv channel and Youtube channel

To register your interest in the Uechi Deshi Program please email us (see below for address).

Components of the Uechi Deshi Program

  • Daily classes in traditional Okinawan karate or related training practices (up to 6 days per week) – usually 1-2 hours in duration, working alongside local students. Regular attendance is required. Shorinryu/Matsubayshiryu kata and kihon syllabus plus hojo undo, pushing hands (kakie) and supplementary kumite drills specific to our dojo. (sample class).
  • We have added regular Gojuryu classes under Andrea Klementisova sensei twice weekly
    In addition you will have training opportunities with guest instructors such as Patrick McCarthy sensei, Arakaki Toshimitsu sensei and others. Kobudo class once per week every Wednesday.
  • Daily personal training/group supplementary workouts –  Additional daily workouts with a training diary. Content is not set but daily practice is expected. You may sometimes be working alone or with partners/instructor.
  • Assisting with the dojo – you will be expected to assist with the daily upkeep of the dojo (cleaning the dojo, etc) and assist with junior classes (local kids practicing karate and English) at least once per week.
  • Local tours/Cultural activities/Dojo visits – at least once a month you will be invited to join a “day out” to discover important local locations, discover aspects of local culture or train as a guest at another dojo in Okinawa.
  • Weekly social dinner – once a week (or more) an opportunity to go out to eat and socialise with the dojo members and local friends.
  • On completion of your program you will be presented with your “Certificate of Completion” from Asato Dojo. In addition there may also be other opportunities to test for certification of competence (kyu, dan grades, etc)  depending on training duration and individual level of ability.
  • You can make your own accommodation arrangements (very easy these days via booking.com, airbnb.com, etc, etc) or we can assist in arranging accommodation near the dojo. We suggest a location within walking distance of the dojo and the nearest monorail stations are Makishi station, Asato station and Miebashi Station.


  • You will be required to make a formal application by email to join the program. Acceptance is not guaranteed. Please see email address below.
  • You will be required to have sufficient finances prepared BEFORE arriving in Okinawa to cover the entirety of your stay including program fees, accommodation fees, daily expenses, etc. As a rough guide you should budget approximately $2500 per month. You are unlikely to be able to work legally whilst here on a tourist visa (see below).
  • You will be required to purchase your travel tickets to, and return from, Okinawa. If you plan to stay more than 90 days you may need to exit and return to Japan to renew your entry permit.
  • You are required to obtain the appropriate entry visa for Japan (for many countries a 90 day tourist visa but some vary so you MUST check with your local authorities and Japanese embassy.
  • The PROGRAM FEE amount will depend on the duration of your stay and whether you arrange your own accommodation or use the dojo accommodation. We will quote you the fee amount after receiving your application email and agreeing these details with you.

Local Information

  • Okinawa is a semi-tropical island group. It is hot and humid here between May – October. Winters are very mild.
  • The local language is Japanese and local currency is Japanese yen. 
  • If you have an international drivers licence its easier to get around and see the island(s). Usually the international licence needs to be obtained before you arrive here.

Start your application process by sending your introductory email to james@challengeokinawa.com