As previously announced, it is with profound sadness that we inform you of the passing of Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi. Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi passed away on May 29th, 2021 at the age of 96.
As a first line black belt student of Great Grandmaster James Mitose, founder of Kosho Shorei-Ryu Kenpo, Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi was a well-recognized and exceptionally talented martial artist.
In 1997, Mr. Ito and a group of White Tiger students were extremely fortunate to make his acquaintance at “The Gathering”. Soon thereafter, after noting the genuine interest, appreciation and respect afforded him by Mr. Ito and his students, Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi requested to conduct a series of seminars at the White Tiger dojo. These seminars provided the White Tiger students a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the traditional martial arts, in form and presentation, from one of the early pioneers of the martial arts in this country. Mr. Ito’s respect for Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi was so deep that he, for the first time, was completely at ease with turning over complete control of his students in this environment.
These early seminars were the beginning of what was to become a strong bond and friendship between the Ito family and Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi and his wife Helen. Mr. Ito made several trips to the Yamaguchi’s home on Kauai where Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi instructed Mr. Ito in the art of Kosho Shorei Shin-Shing Ryu. Kosho Shorei Shin-Shing Ryu evolved from Paul Yamaguchi’s early studies with Great Grandmaster Mitose to include various other studies and training. Mr. Ito took these teachings back to the mainland and, through diligent and consistent practice, reached a level of proficiency that resulted in the awarding of a Black Belt from Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi.
A mutual respect and appreciation for a traditional approach to martial arts instruction is what initially brought these two men together but it was the shared values of a strong commitment to one’s family and community that cemented the bond between Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi and Mr. Ito.
Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi and his wife Helen were actively involved in their local church and Helen has requested that, in lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to recognize Paul Yamaguchi, Hanshi’s passing may make a donation to their church located at:
Lihue Hongwanji Mission
3-3556 Kuhio Hwy
Lihue, HI 96766