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Tadashi Yamashita was born in Japan, but, he considers himself an Okinawan. His father died when he was three years old and his mother, who never remarried (the older Japanese did not believe in remarriage,) moved to Okinawa when Tadashi was 8 years old. He lived in Okinawa until, at the age of 24, he came to the United States where he has since become a citizen.

Yamashita's experience of more than 39 years in Martial Arts began at the age of 11. The roughest kid in school, he not only picked fights with the other students but, with the teachers as well. This was brought to the attention of the PTA which realized it could not handle him. One day, the PTA president, who was also a Karate instructor, stopped by to pick up Tadashi after school. Always the warrior, Tadashi
tried to fight him. The instructor slapped the rebellious youngster and dragged him off to the Dojo where he was taught the elements of kicking, punching and, most important of all - discipline.

Tadashi found his probation period very interesting. His destructiveness was channeled into his hidden talent. The young man had discovered an art form, a religion and a way of life. Yamashita was awarded his Black Belt at the age of 16. In 1960, he captured the all-Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Free Sparring Grand Champion title.

When Tadashi came to the United States, in 1965, he opened a Karate school in the Midwest and developed a following that has grown to more than 20 dojos in the Midwest alone. In 1968, he visited Japan and tested before his instructor, Sensei Sugura Nakazato, 9th Degree Black Belt. Also on the panel was the famous Grand Master Chosin Chibana, 10th Degree Black Belt. Tadashi became the youngest 7th Degree Black Belt in Japan's history. In 1970, on a return trip to Okinawa, Tadashi received his 5th Degree Black Belt in traditional Kobudo (Ancient Weapon Arts) from the famed weapons Master Sensei Shinpo Matayoshi.

In 1972, in search of a fuller life, Tadashi moved to Southern California where Mike Stone was one of the first Martial Arts experts to recognize Sensei Yamashita's awesome Karate and weapons talent. The Pro-Am Tournament in Los Angeles, in 1973, was the first of many in which he would demonstrate that talent. He brought 7,000 spectators to their feet for a standing ovation and, from that moment on, the magic of his Karate weapons genius spread throughout the Martial Arts.

Master Yamashita keeps close tabs on what his instructors are teaching, so the style doesn't get "watered down". Many believe him to be one of the fastest humans on the face of the earth. He holds records for throwing punches, 13 in two seconds. He did this on an old TV show called "Thrillseekers" hosted by Chuck, "The Rifleman", Connors. You can see him with Chuck Norris in "The Octagon", and with Sean Connery, and Wesley Snipes in "Rising Sun". He plays the "Black Star Ninja" in American Ninja, one of his bigger parts, and himself in American Ninja 5, and also the movie Gym-Kata with Kurt Thomas.












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