Interview with Daisuke Ueda 4th Dan JKA (0 comments)

This December saw the last JKA International Course of the year take place at K2 Crawley. In attendance were many JKA and non-JKA Karateka who, together, enjoyed the teaching of Ohta Sensei, Osaka Sensei and Ueda Sensei. It was really interesting to sit in on the teaching of Ueda Sensei, really engaging and fun! He was fundamentally concerned that those in his session totally understood the principles he was trying to convey. On occasion stopping the whole session to gather people in and hammer home the relevant points. It was great to see the student’s faces as they received this knowledge.

After the Saturday session, we were able to catch up with Ueda Sensei (4th Dan JKA) for a brief time to find out more about him, his history and what he likes to get up to. His outlook on life is phenomenal.

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First question up, if you hadn’t followed Karate what would you have done?

It turns out that Ueda Sensei loves watches and has quite a collection including a Breitling! His Uncle worked with the Watch company Seiko and, when growing up, Ueda Sensei believed that this Industry would help him fulfil his dream and ambition. He had always dreamt of working and living outside Japan, experiencing people and foreign cultures. Unfortunately, the more interviews he went for in the watch industry, the more it became apparent that this was not for him.

He studied at Aoyamagakuin University but to be honest, apart from Uni work, all Ueda Sensei did was Karate, Karate and more Karate. After his fourth year he had completed all his units and had time in the bank, so he went travelling………. Europe, Asia and Australia. He mentioned that in Australia he ran out of money and didn’t really know what to do but an Australian JKA dojo gave him lessons, food and a place to sleep until he was back on his feet!

As his travelled, he saw JKA Karate dojos everywhere so decided to follow this route on his return. He believes that if you have the right attitude, focus and determination, life will provide you with the means to achieve it. Ueda Sensei now spends his time, training at the Honbu, teaching around the world and experiencing diverse cultures just as he always wanted to do.

It comes as no surprise that his favourites TV programmes are anything to do with foreign travel and cultures!

Second up, Sochin seems to be a favourite Kata of yours – why?

Many years ago, he saw a favourite Sensei of his perform this Kata. He greatly admired the Kumite and Kata of this teacher and so decided to follow this Kata and make it his.

What’s your favourite and most successful Kumite technique?

Ueda Sensei points to his right hand and doesn’t say much else although smiles widely. With more pushing, he explains that he doesn’t have a specific technique but trains enormously hard and neglects neither Kata nor Kihon. In a Kumite match, therefore, his scoring is instinctive, natural and “comes from within him” with no conscious thought. It just so happens that it comes out through his right hand!

So, after these warm up questions, we got down to the serious matters of the day.

What’s your favourite Japanese food? Sushi!

What’s your favourite non-Japanese food? Fish and Chips!

Ferrari or Porsche? This provoked a lot of discussion more than anything else to be honest. Ueda Sensei finally plumped for Porsche as all Ferrari look the same. It also seems that Porsche has a certain status in Japan which makes it really cool.

What was the last gadget you bought? Lots of thought but it seems that Ueda Sensei isn’t a fan of gadgets however he does like clothes an awful lot.

Do you prefer teaching or training? He likes both, enjoys training but also enjoys passing on the knowledge. If you don’t train you can’t teach and if you don’t enjoy it, you can’t pass it on.

Do you prefer to teach beginners or higher grades? He has no preference on this but stated that there are differences in age. Children have no filter and are excited to learn, they copy what you do and understand later. Adults, on the other hand, must be engaged mentally first, comprehend and can turn then that understanding into physical performance. Adults also have some habits that sometimes need to be broken or got rid of to push their Karate whereas Children are more straightforward. Ueda Sensei enjoys all this and thoroughly relishes passing on his experience and knowledge.

What are your thoughts on Karate in the upcoming Olympics? Ueda Sensei is happy in the IOC choice and welcomes the exposure that Karate will receive. His own preference is for JKA Traditional Karate though which he thoroughly enjoys.

If you were having a dinner party and had four spare chairs, who would you invite?

  1. Steve Jobs
  2. Bill Gates
  3. Barack Obama
  4. My Girlfriend

It was great to speak with Ueda Sensei and was a very enjoyable experience. A very positive and determined attitude! Great to have him at the JKAE International Course. Thanks must also go to Mariko for her excellent translation skills.

Finally Ueda Sensei can possibly be summed up with his answer to my last question.

What’s your favourite sport? I like all sports. There isn’t one sport I cannot do but there are many I haven’t tried yet.

Ueda Sensei 4th Dan JKA

Motto “Never Give Up”


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