Tadashi Yamashita

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Tadashi Yamashita
BornTadashi Yamashita
(1941-02-05) February 5, 1941 (age 78)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
StyleKobayashi Shōrin-ryū Karate
Matayoshi Kobudo
Teacher(s)Shūgorō Nakazato
Shinpo Matayoshi
Rank     10th degree black belt in Kobayashi Shōrin-ryū Karate
     10th degree black belt in Matayoshi Kobudo
Notable studentsDaniel Schroeder, David W. Hayes, Stewart Schulman, Bobby Polychronopolis

Tadashi Yamashita (山下忠, Yamashita Tadashi, born February 5, 1941) is a Japanese American martial artist and actor. For several years, he was billed in American films as Bronson Lee to capitalize on the Bruceploitation phenomenon in martial arts films.


Tadashi Yamashita was born in Japan in 1941, but he considers himself an Okinawan. His father died when he was three and his mother moved to Okinawa when Tadashi was eight years old. He began martial arts at 11. Yamashita was awarded his black belt when he was 16. He captured the All-Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Free Sparring Grand Championship Title in 1960. He visited Japan in 1968 and tested before Shugoro Nakazato and Chosin Chibana. He lived in Okinawa until in 1972 he came to the USA where he became a citizen. [1]

Yamashita has dedicated over 40 years of his life to the practice of Okinawan Karatedo and Kobudo. He is a tenth dan in both karatedo and kobudo. Yamashita is the President and Director of US Shorin-Ryu Karate Association, the USA President of the Zen Okinawan Kobudo Association and Chief Instructor of Shorin Ryu in the United States.

Yamashita has traveled to South America, Greece and Bulgaria. Yamashita comes to Hampton Roads, VA annually. Bateman and his students work out with him on these occasions. Yamashita keeps a close connection with his birthplace of Japan and Okinawa. He has studied under Chibana Chosin of Shorin Ryu, Shuguro Nakazato of Shorin Ryu Shorin Kan and Shinpo Matayoshi, founder of the Zen Okinawan Kobudo Renmei.

Yamashita combines many progressive fighting tactics with traditional aspects of karatedo. Yamashita's system (known as Suikendo) translates to fist flowing like water. This system of fighting allows the karateka to simultaneously block and strike his opponent.

Yamashita is also a world-renowned weapons master. During the 1973 Pro-Am Karate Tournament, Yamashita brought over 7,000 spectators to their feet in a standing ovation after demonstrating his mastery of kobudo weaponry.

In 2010, Yamashita performed at the Koyamada Foundation's United States Martial Arts Festival at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in Redondo Beach, California.[2]

Yamashita has made many movies over the past 20 years. His first was The Karate in 1973.

Movie credits[edit]

  • The Karate (aka Bronson Lee Champion) (1974)
  • The Karate II (aka The Blind Karate Man) (1974)
  • The Karate III (1975)
  • Soul of Chiba (aka Soul of Bruce Lee) (1977)
  • Seven (1979)
  • The Magnificent Three (1980)
  • The Octagon (1980)
  • The Shinobi Ninja (1981)
  • Gymkata (1985)
  • American Ninja (1985)
  • Sword of Heaven (1985)
  • Capital Punishment (1991)
  • American Ninja 5 (1993)
  • Rising Sun (1993)

Television appearances[edit]

  • Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders (1974) (TV Movie)
  • Kung Fu
  • A Man Called Sloan
  • Knight Rider
  • Thrillseekers
  • ESPN Karate Demonstrations


  1. ^ "Meet Tadashi Yamashita". Masters in Motion. Retrieved 2019-07-24.

External links[edit]