Soken Tadashi Yamashita has dedicated over 60 years of his life to the practice of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo. He is Head of Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate and currently ranks 10th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Karate and 10th Degree Black Belt in Kobudo. A highly respected man in all circles of the martial arts, Master Yamashita is sought after for karate and kobudo seminars from all over the world. He is also the President, Director, and founder of the Yamashita International Budo Association.
Soken Yamashita began his Karate training with Nakazato in 1953. In 1963, he moved to Chicago, continuing to make annual trips to Okinawa to further his training with his Karate and Kobudo instructors. In 1968 he tested in front of Chibana and Nakazato for his 7th Degree Black Belt. At that time, he became the youngest 7th Degree Black Belt in Okinawa, Japan's history.
Find out more about Master Yamashita here!
At EWC, we teach Yamashita Shorin-Ryu Karate-do, as taught by Soken Tadashi Yamashita. As Soken Yamashita's most senior student, Sensei Schroeder has over 50 years of experience and is a Master Teacher (Hanshi) as well.
The roots of Karate date back to the fifth or sixth century. A monk named Bodhidharma introduced Indian martial arts to the Shaolin monks. Over the centuries, Bodhidharma's art was transformed into Shaolin Kung Fu.
Located on an important sea trade route between China, Java, Korea, and Japan, the RyuKyu Kingdom, located on the island of Okinawa, experienced a great deal of cultural trading. Around 1429, the Ryukyu Kingdom became a tributary kingdom to Ming Dynasty China, and 36 Fujian families moved to Okinawa, introducing Kung Fu to the Okinawans.
Our style of Karate can trace its history to the late 1600s and two early martial artists - Takahara and Kusanku. They trained Kanga "Tode" Sakugawa (d. 1815), known as the father of Okinawan Karate. Sakugawa trained Sokon Matsumura (d. 1893), bodyguard of the Okinawan kings. One of Matsumura's students, Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu (d. 1915) was responsible for the introduction of Karate into the Okinwan school system and trained many of the founders of "modern" Karate, including Gichin Funakoshi (Shotokan), Chotoku Kyan (Shorin-Ryu), Mabuni Kenwa (Shito-Ryu), and Chosin Chibana (d. 1969), founder of Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu. Chibana's student, Shuguro Nakazato (d. 2016), founded Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan after Master Chibana's death.
Hanshi Dan Schroeder
Our Chief Instructor, Hanshi Dan Schroeder, is a 9th Degree Black Belt in the art of Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate and an 8th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Zen Kobudo (weapons instruction). Hanshi Schroeder has over 50 years of martial arts experience. He started his training in the early 60's in the Goshin-do style of Karate. In 1969, Hanshi Schroeder opened his first dojo (Karate school) in Waukesha and started teaching Goshin-do Karate. In the early 70's Hanshi Schroeder started training in Shorin Ryu Karate under his present instructor, Hanshi Tadashi Yamashita.
In 1983, Hanshi Schroeder opened a branch studio in Hales Corners called the East West Connection. He operated both dojo's until 1985 when he decided to devote all of his attention to the East West Connection. Hanshi Schroeder:
Hanshi Schroeder's background in Karate enables him to teach practical self defense movements that will work within a short period of training. His years in the study of Karate can keep a serious student learning for years to come.
Hanshi Schroeder believes in the traditional values of the martial arts. He believes that no matter what size, age, or sex, martial arts can help you improve your health, self confidence, and well being. It can make you a better person. "It is very important to train ones mind and body, but it is much more important to train ones heart."