Pangai-noon (traditional Chinese characters: 半硬軟) was a style of Southern Chinese kung fu taught by Shu Shi Wa. It became the basis for Uechi-ryū karate. The name Pangai-noon literally mean that the art's techniques are "half-hard, half-soft," referring to hard strikes and soft blocks.
The exact provenance of the romanization "Pangai-noon" is not clear, and it may be from the lesser-known Min Chinese dialect. It is not a Japanese, Okinawan or Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of the original characters. The standard Japanese pronunciation of the three characters is han kō nan (はんこうなん), while the standard Mandarin pronunciation is bàn yìng ruǎn. The Cantonese language pronunciation is bun ngaang yun. In modern times, the katakana version of pangainoon (パンガイヌーン) has been used in Japanese writing rather than the kanji (半硬軟).
Shū Shiwa (Chinese: Zhou Zihe 周子和 1869-1945) was a teacher and Chinese medicine hawker in the Fujian province of China. His life is not well documented because of his probable connection with the secret societies which worked for the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the restoration of Ming dynasty.
His best-known student was Kanbun Uechi, an Okinawan who was with him from 1897 to 1904. In 1904 when he received his senior instructor grade, Uechi opened a dojo in Nansoye. He continued to visit Shu Shi Wa each year until his return to Okinawa in 1909. Uechi studied with Shu Shi Wa for 13 years.
Pangai-noon technique was based on soft blocks and hard attacks. Uechi learned three Pangai-noon kata: Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseirui; he did not stay with Shu Shi Wa long enough to learn Supārinpei. Pangai-noon was said to be the fastest of the Chinese styles at that time.
In 1978 a group of Uechi-ryū students headed by Seiki Itokazu and Takashi Kinjo broke away from the ryū and formed a style they called Pangai-noon. By the early 1990s Itokazu and Kinjo had renamed this breakaway style to Konan Ryu. In the 2000s Kinjo and his students began using the style name Kobu Ryu, however one of Kinjo's students, Mikio Nishiuchi, has reverted to using the style name Pang Gai Noon Ryu.