Mitsu Yamashita Sensei
Yamashita Sensei began his study of Aikido in 1959 under the guidance of Virgl Crank, then the head of the American Aikido Association. Sensei Crank had received his training from Tom Corzine, who was taught by Eugene Combes. Combes Sensei, at that time, was the highest ranking Yoshinkan Black Belt in America. Sensei Combs was also one of the first Americans to study under Soke Gozo Shioda Sensei in Japan.
The holder of a Sixth Dan ranking, Yamashita Sensei is one of the first Americans to have achieved such an honor. Upon Sensei Crank's retirement in 1970, Sensei Yamashita took over the American Aikido Association. In addition, he presides over the Yamashita Aikido Organization and is the head instructor of the Sanbukan Dojo. With a Bachelor's Degree in Administration of Justice, Sensei Yamashita has taught self defense and Police defense tactics at Colleges in Southern California since 1967.
Yamashita Sensei has appeared in numerous movies and videos and in 1982 was a featured guest on the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."
Much in the tradition of O'Sensei , Yamashita Sensei has dedicated his life to the study of the martial arts. Also the holder of a second degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do Karate, Yamashita is proficient at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thai Boxing, Yanagi-ryu Aikijujutsu and Judo. Using this knowledge, he has successfully managed to blend various forms and techniques to create an art which is practical yet graceful, powerful yet supple, soft yet hard.
It is this blending of attacking capability and a dedication to keeping Aikido a functional combat system that has given Yamashita Sensei a reputation as somewhat of a maverick among the Aikido community. He feels that many of the more effective techniques were removed from the system when it was converted over from the 'Old Way'. Diligently, he has sought to restore the combat effectiveness which was once the hallmark of O Sensei's original style. This is the tradition which Soke Gozo Shioda passed on and it is the legacy of all Sanbukan practitioners. It is the passion of Yamashita Sensei to leave you not only with a knowledge of the 'Way' of Aikido but, also with a mastery of the 'bujutsu' application of the art.
It is this passion and this dedication that Soke Gozo Shioda saw when he bestowed on Yamashita Sensei's dojo the title of SANBUKAN
Aikido Today Magazine Interview with Mitsu Yamashita Sensei