Albert Cloutier - Founder of Honolulu Uechi-Ryu & Head Instructor, Sandan Uechi-Ryu
Novice Beginner (Ikkyu) Takenouchi Ryu Bitchuden Jujutsu
Erik D Swanson - Shodan
Honolulu Uechi-Ryu Founder & Head Instructor
Albert J Cloutier
Uechi-ryu Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt) - Began training in 1976
Ishhinryu Karate-do practitioner - Began training in 1974 (no rank)
Takeuchi Ryu Bitchuden Jujutsu (Ikkyu - novice beginner Brown Belt - 3 years of study - current active student)
Muso-Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iai - Classical Samurai Sword Art (Novice beginner - 3 years of study - current active student)
CPR/First Aid Certified
How Uechi-ryu Karate-Do has positively impacted Al's life:
On February 29, 2000 Al was involved in a terrible horse riding accident which shattered his right leg. His knee was completely facing backwards at the time of the accident. After two operations Al was placed in an external fixator device, with six metal rings encircling his leg, attached to 13 metal spokes going clear through his flesh and bone, and fixed into the tibia bone with 3 screws. The device immobilized his leg from his thigh to his foot. After 9 extremely painful and uncomfortable months, the metal spokes were cut off with bolt-cutters, the metal spokes pulled out of his leg with pliers, the screws twisted out, and the device removed (all without anesthesia). Now physical therapy began. Unfortunately, Al's ankle and heel had "dropped" from atrophy and his knee was frozen. He had to learn how to walk again. Progress proceeded agonizingly slowly. Al utilized a walker to get around for almost a full year. Although the orthopedic surgeon said it was "one of the worst breaks he had ever seen" and informed Al that he would "probably walk with a cane and a limp for the rest of his life", Al did not give up.
Al began practicing Sanchin Kata in the swimming pool where he lived as soon as he was able to stand in the water. The water helped hold him up and Al would go back and forth, from one side of the pool to the other, practicing the main kata of Uechi-ryu for hours at a time. Mentally, Sanchin gave Al the strength to push himself past his limitations. He slowly, but steadily, forced his knee to bend and his ankle to grow stronger. It was a long hard road, but today Al no longer walks with a limp and does not use a cane.
While Al is medically classified as handicapped, due to chronic venous insufficiency of the right leg (his leg can swell up to twice it's size, putting him at risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms), Al prefers to take a positive attitude and simply considers himself "challenged". At 60 years old, Al believes the best years of his life are still ahead of him. In spite of his physical challenges, he feels his karate is stronger than ever.
He feels fortunate that he is training daily, is still learning new things, and working to pass on the treasures of Uechi-Ryu Karate-do and Budo
Erik D Swanson - Uechi-ryu,
Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt)
began Uechi-ryu karate in 1984 at the Uechi-ryu Karate Dojo
in Sitka, Alaska.
He studied under his father, Duane Swanson, his uncle, Lloyd Swanson, and Robert
Holt, who in turn learned from Pat Wilson. Wilson Sensei learned Uechi-ryu from
Master Kanei Uechi while on deployment for the US
military in Okinawa in the 1960s.
of 1987, Erik earned the rank of Nikkyu (2nd degree brown belt). After
graduating high school, Erik practiced karate informally on his own.Erik also competed in
scholastic wrestling for eight years, and studied one semester of
Aikido at the University of Hawaii, Hilo
After a long
absence from formal training, in the summer of 2018, Erik joined the Honolulu Uechi-ryu
Karate-do Club. Training under Albert Cloutier Sensei, Erik was promoted to Shodan (1st degree black belt) on January 11, 2020.
Erik is currently an Academy Social Studies teacher at Punahou School. He taught an introduction to Uechi-ryu intersession course to Punahou students in January
enjoyment of training with friends and family at the world's most beautiful
dojo, Erik sees karate as a way to gain balance in life, strive for personal
improvement, and stay in shape.
The study of karate has shaped his character by
reinforcing the values of humility, integrity, patience and diligence.