Period of time: 1942-today
Master Tadashi Yamashita, possessor of 10th dan in Shorin Ryu Karate do, Kobayashi branch, and 10th dan in Kobudo, Yamashita-Matayoshi style, is the chief instructor of Shorin Ryu and of Zen Okinawa Kobudo Renmei in the USA. Born in Japan in 1942, he lived in Okinawa starting at the age of 8. He started the study of martial arts 10, and he won his first dan at the age of 16. Today, he lives permanently in Los Angeles, where he moved at 24. Master Yamashita Tadashi is one of the most well known instructors at an international level and he is considered to be an authority in traditional arms of Okinawa worldwide. He is the youngest karateka in the history of Japan to reach the 7th dan, when he was 27 years old. The title was awarded to him after examinations in 1968 by Choshin Chibana, and his personal teacher in Okinawa, Shugoro Nakazato. In the United States there are over 60 traditional dojos under his supervision.
O'Sensei has dedicated his life to the practice of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo. He studied under several notable, high ranking masters, including the late Shinpo Matayoshi, founder of the Zen Okinawan Kobudo Renmei. Well known for his explosive open hand techniques, he combines many progressive fighting tactics with traditional aspects of karatedo. The result is a dynamic fighting system known as "Suikendo," which translates to, "fist flowing like water." This non-stop, relentless system of fighting allows the karateka to simultaneously block and strike his opponent with blinding speed and accuracy.
In addition to his karate, Yamashita has enjoyed a successful acting career. His first movie was The Karate in 1973. Other media credits include The Octagon, American Ninja, American Ninja 5, Rising Sun, Gymkata, Enter the Dragon and Lethal Weapon 4.
We are the 3rd generation of Midwest Karate Academy, a martial arts school in South Bend, IN. It was founded by Hanshi Tadashi Yamashita and Sensei James Ninios over 50 years ago. Kyoshi Jerry Wroblewski ran it for over 40 of those years. Today, Shihan Kris Gravender and Shidoin Brian Bengtsson continue its legacy and tradition as Suibukan of Indiana, an homage to Osensei Yamashita's organization.