The Organization

The Staff

Member Benefits


Contact Us

 Photo Gallery    Lineage     Dedication     Kata Requirements(pdf)      New Black Belts     Events(pdf)     Applications



The Way of the Warrior


History of UMAIIIn the mid-60's, Mr. Hugh Kelley taught a group of about twenty-five young men Karate Do, Kobu Do and Goshin Do in his back yard in Mobile, Alabama.  Having recently returned from Japan, he taught the old, hard way.  At that time, he was the Yondan (4th Grade Black Belt) ranked student of Soke Shogo Kuniba (Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do).  During this time, MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB was located at Five Points in Mobile and was a Shotokan Karate Club under Japan Karate Association (JKA).  There were two Shodan (1st Grade Black Belt) ranked Yudansha teaching at MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB but when they heard that there was another Black Belt in Mobile, and was ranked Yondan (4th Dan), a high ranking Black Belt for an American in those days, they invited Mr. Hugh Kelley and his students to visit MKC (MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB).  During that first visit to MKC, everyone was astounded because the difference in the two clubs was so blatant.  The comparison of Mr. Kelley's students and the MKC students was like comparing the Green Bay Packers Professional Football Team with a Junior High School Football Team.  The two physicians who owned MKC could certainly see the difference and asked Mr. Kelley and his students to return for subsequent visits.  However, after the second visit to MKC, Mr. Hugh Kelley was asked to take over MKC.

At first, he taught four different classes; a Shotokan Beginner Class, a Shotokan Advanced Class with the original MKC students and then his students were in a Shito Ryu Beginner Class, and a Shito Ryu Advanced Class.  On Saturdays, everyone trained together in an "open class."  Mr. Kelley's Personal Black Belts, two at the time, Mr. John McLain and Mr. Bob Short, both were attending the Shotokan and the Shito Ryu Classes soaking up every bit of knowledge they could.  Soon, all these "style" classes became a problem.  As new students joined, they were asked which class they wanted to be in and this became a dilemma.  Thus, it was decided that the simplest thing to do was to combine the two groups and just have a Beginner Class and an Advanced Class.  This brought about a new to teach Shotokan and Shi to Ryu to the same group at the same time.  After some careful thought, the solution was simple.  Mr. Hugh Kelley's students were very highly disciplined and this made them very adaptable, unlike most "Kahrotty" students of today.  The original MKC students were already in shock because their workouts had been shoved up into third gear, up from a very low gear.  Mr. Kelley's students very quickly learned the Shotokan Kata, after all, all Okinawa and Japanese Kata are very similar. The interpretation of these Kata is how different "styles" came about in the first place.  Hugh Kelley has never been overly "style" conscious but one does need a name or a Ryu. (UMAAI Black Belt Kata Requirements)

a.k.a. UMAAI, was founded in 1970
in Mobile, Alabama due to numerous Martial Artists from around the world contacting Mr. Hugh Kelley and asking for his assistance.  At the time, Mr. Kelley was the Vice President of SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION of Osaka, Japan but was given permission by his teacher, Soke Shogo Kuniba, the Family Head of SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION, to assist other Martial Artists who did not practice Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do, Goshin Do, Kobu Do or Iai Do.  When Mr. Hugh Kelley mixed the classes at MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB, it was done with the approval of Soke Shogo Kuniba and Soke understood why Mr. Kelley had done what he did.  In fact, Mr. Hugh Kelley, on December 20th, 1970, was promoted to Godan (5th Grade Black Belt and "Shihan") by SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION of Osaka, Japan and his Menjo reads "Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do." Thus, while maintaining his active role in SEISHIN KAI, Shihan Hugh Kelley became the President, Director and Chief Instructor for UMAAI, and, as time past, Shihan Kelley was able to convert many of the UMAAI Members to SEISHIN KAI. 

In 1971, Soke Shogo Kuniba visited Shihan Kelley at his Mobile, Alabama Dojo, MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB, from Japan, when it was located at Five Points, on two separate occasions and gave his approval to all that Shihan Kelley was doing, as did Shihan Koshin Kayo, who visited MKC from Japan before Soke's first visit.  During the visit of Soke Shogo Kuniba and Shihan Koshin Kayo, Shihan Hugh Kelley was graded Rokudan (6th Grade Black Belt) on July 18th, 1971.  Soke Kuniba also visited the new MOBILE KARATE DO CLUB when the new 5,000 sq. ft. Dojo was built on Lakeside Drive in Mobile, Alabama.  On one of those visits to the new MKC, Soke brought SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION (SKKU's) brightest up coming Shihan...Masaio Taiteshi, who was also the All Japan SKKU Kata and Kumite Champion.  However, during one of those visits, in Mobile, Alabama Shihan Hugh Kelley was graded Nanadan (7th Grade Black Belt) December 23rd, 1973 by Soke Shogo Kuniba and Shihan Masaio Tateishi.  Soke Kuniba commented that there was not a lot of time between the ranks but that Shihan Kelley deserved the promotions.  Soke Shogo Kuniba moved to the USA in 1983 and later, asked Shihan Hugh Kelley to write a Handbook for all of SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION, and later still, to become the President, General Manager and High Dan Board President of SEISHIN KAI MARTIAL ARTS, Inc., (Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do) and SEISHIN KAI INTERNATIONAL JAPAN BUDO ASSOCIATION (Kuniba Ha Karate Do).  On February 18th, 1985, Shihan Hugh Kelley was the first non-Japanese graded to the rank of Hachidan (8th Grade Black Belt) by a legal, recognized Japanese Karate Do Organization - SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION of Osaka, Japan (Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do), SEISHIN KAI MARTIAL ARTS, Inc., (Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do) and SEISHIN KAI INTERNATIONAL JAPAN BUDO ASSOCIATION (Kuniba Ha Karate Do). 

Hachidan Menjo Kanji

In 1990, Shuseki Shihan Hugh Kelley and his daughter, Kristy Heather Kelley, moved to Southern California in order for Shihan to pursue a life long dream of writing for full length feature films and television.  Nonetheless, Shihan continued his duties with SEISHIN KAI and UMAAI, visiting Soke Shogo Kuniba and conferring with him on numerous occasions.  Soke Shogo Kuniba passed away July 14th, 1992, after a long bout with stomach cancer.  SEISHIN KAI MARTIAL ARTS, Inc., (Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do) and SEISHIN KAI INTERNATIONAL JAPAN BUDO ASSOCIATION (Kuniba Ha Karate Do) were soon dissolved as was SEISHIN KAI KARATE UNION of Osaka, Japan, after the new Soke, Soke Kunio Tatsuno was gunned down in the streets of Osaka.  Thus, Shuseki Shihan Hugh Kelley, not wanting to be involved in Martial Arts Politics, reverted his attention back to UNITED MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL and to Kokubashin Ha Karate Do.  Kokuba is the Okinawan pronunciation of Kuniba, thus, Kokubashin means, “in the spirit of Kokuba”, named to honor Shihan Hugh Kelley's Teacher, whom he loves and misses very much.  On March 17th, 1997, Shuseki Shihan Hugh Kelley was promoted to "Hanshi" Kudan (9th Grade Black Belt) by the World Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Association, Member Japan Karate Do Federation and Named World Technical Adviser. On April 13th, 1997, he was promoted to Kudan (9th Grade Black Belt) by the Motobu Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do Director of Europe and Middle East. On  January 1st, 2008, Shihan Hugh Kelley was promoted to Judan (10th Grade Black Belt) by the UMAAI High Dan  Board.


The UNITED MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL a.k.a. UMAAI has no  interest in anyone’s Martial Arts Politics.

Since the death of my teacher, Soke Shogo Kuniba, 10th Dan on July 14th, 1992, UMAAI has adopted its own way of teaching Karate Do.  We do not teach “Sport Kahrotty” but we teach Karate Do the traditional way as a self-defense. We have named our system  KOKUBASHIN HA KARATE DO.  It is taught “in the spirit of Kokuba.”  Kokuba is the  Okinawan pronunciation of Kuniba.

For KOKUBASHIN HA KARATE DO - UMAAI has adopted some of the Shi Toh Ryu  Kata and Shotokan Kata.

Have we created a new style?  No and neither has anyone  else.  There are only so many ways one can block, punch, strike and kick, regardless of what it is called,  the original Masters have covered it.  For this reason, UMAAI does not recognize anyone claiming the title of “Soke” unless it is an inherited title handed down from a true Japanese or Okinawan ‘Soke”

“TO DO WITH EXCELLENCE WHAT OTHERS DO WELL” - This is the motto that the UNITED MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL has promoted since 1970 and wishes its members to live by.  Each and every workout should be a new adventure into the depths of the Martial Arts.  Never be satisfied with the limits of your success and rise to eminence through greater success.  Never allow your spirit to be satisfied.  Keep your mind clear and unaffected so that things can be perceived exactly as they really are.  Truth is relative to circumstances and obligations.  Live by the virtue and superiority of intuition over logic.  There should be no thought of revenge except as a method for teaching an offender truth.  Shuseki Shihan Hugh Kelley says, "I believe that all Karate Do styles are good, if they build character first and the physical person second."  Shihan continues with, "There is no one style of Karate Do that is any better than another.  Anyone who says their style is best is very foolish and unwise."  He goes on to say, "The style does not make the difference.  The individual and his or her training makes the difference. The person who has a good qualified instructor and trains hard, is going to be better than the person who does not have a good qualified instructor and does not train hard."

There are a number of ways to get into shape, however, while training at a Traditional Karate Do Dojo, one not only gets into shape, but one also learns a means of Empty-Handed Self_Defense.  There is a uniqueness in a Traditional Karate Do Dojo.  There is a conformity and stability because of the togetherness, yet, individuality is underscored.  There is a highly disciplined hierarchy of authority for order, learning, advancement and organization. Martial Arts achievement is awarded only to those who earn it and is highly praised but, the scholastic achievements of members attending schools, colleges, etc., is equally recognized and equally stressed in all classes.  Education means knowledge and knowledge means power. 

Please read all the information (membership benefits and requirements) very carefully and if you have any questions concerning UMAAI, please do not hesitate to contact UNITED MARTIAL ARTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL.

Post Office Box 8252 Glendale, California 91224