View Full Version : mitose

19th November 2000, 23:06
I was reading a magazine with an article about a kenpo "master" named thomas mitose who claims that his late father, grandmaster of a style of kenpo, was a freind of o-sensei and calims that o-sensei said in his will and testament that mitose's father should be promoted to 10th dan aikido and proclaimed remonstrant of aikido in the west. is this all true?

Mike Collins
20th November 2000, 01:16
Apparently, there is much about Mitose that is disputable. I've read quite a bit about him, and can't honestly say that I know anything true about him. Usehiba Osensei also has quite a mythology built up about him, but after reading through just a relatively few things about him, you can kind of surmise what is real. The same does not seem to be tha case with Mitose.

I'll watch this one closely, cause I too am interested.

24th November 2000, 05:13
I asked about this question on a Kenpo forum and it was supposedly that Mitose was supposed to oversee Aikido or something like that (it was a year or two ago that I asked) but that it wouldn't have been a rank to denote skill.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but you might want to find a Kenpo forum and ask them.

Kevin Hirakis

25th November 2000, 06:53
Is the father or grandfather, the infamous James Mitose? I have heard a lot about him, mostly not very flattering, but I would be suspicious of anyone who claims that grade in any Japanese martial art.

Good call to "follow this one closely," and research on him shouldn't be difficult.


25th November 2000, 14:33
If you go to the Tracy's Kenpo site, they have tons of "historical" documentation on Mitose. At least it's a starting point to get their version of what happened. Of course they claim that Mitose was William Chow's teacher, but Ed Parker (who was Chow's most famous student) says that they were contemperaries (sp?) But not teacher/student. I think they might have that info on Mitose's relationship to Aikido and where that came into play.

25th November 2000, 15:26
Thomas Mitose didn't take the last name Mitose until after his father's death (he was adopted, and used that name). He is also known to have had limited contact with James Mitose... so when would he have found out about this wish of Ueshiba sensei's??!?! Not to be a jerk, but this whole story sounds suspect at best... a complete fabrication at worst. Caveat Emptor

Be well,

Mike Collins
25th November 2000, 18:24
That's just part of the controversy surrounding James Mitose. He had many people who have had their names associated with his, but it seems that almost all of his relationships were somehow clouded by conflicting stories.

There are people who claim to be his inheritors whose claims conflict with others. All I can really gather about this man so far is that he trained in and taught is family's art (again, somewhat hard to absolutely say), apparently he was pretty good, and some pertty well known people trained with him in one capacity or another. It seems that most of the people with any knowledge of him have some kind of an axe to grind. I've read his book, I think it may be on the Tracy's site, and it is kind of convoluted, but again interesting.

26th November 2000, 05:48
I contacted someone on a Kenpo forum who has a "kenpo history" site with a bunch of history. Mitose did visit Japan and knew many of the masters there, Ueshiba included. In his will, Ueshiba gave Mitose the title "Remonstrant" or overseer of Aikido in America.

There is also alot of argument about his style and where it came from. He claims to be in a long line of masters from Japan. But, it seems there is strong support that his uncle (through marriage), Choki Motobu taught him his style of Karate since they were in Japan together from 1921-1936. They both used the exact crest for their styles and in the forward of his book Mitose basically gives him credit for being his master. Also, in conflict is the fact that he claims to be the 21st descendant of this particular style even though the first ryu would not have been established until alot later.

It is also legally documented that Mitose was convicted of murder and extortion. I have also heard stories that were told by Ed Parker that he had tried to get him involved in other shady deals before he was convicted of murder.

Hope this helps out some as far as Mitose in relation to Aikido. It basically boils down to a friend doing something to honor another friend after he died and nothing more.

R. Scherzinger
29th November 2000, 17:15
Greetings everyone,
Well I must say that it is strange to find J.M.Mitose Sensei posted about here.
From what I understand, and that is very little, the "Remonstrant" was awarded at the bequest of Tohei Senesi. In an effort to gain a foothold in Hawaii. This was then to push in to the US with the Deshi. Ueshiba Osensei had met Mitose Sensei on occasion and knew that he was teaching in HI and could help protect and expand Aikido in the MA community there. The grading had nothing to do with proficency in Ueshiba Osensei's art and was soley political in nature.
Thomas Barros Mitose and his brother were given up for adoption in HI. Thomas was reunited with his father by Bruce Juchnik Sensei at Folsum prison in N Calif in the 80's. Barros then trained under Juchnik Sensei and was also a BB in Kajukembo so the transition to Kosho should have been congrous.
Kevin, as far as the conviction he was not the murderer that was Terry lee aka namir Hassan in PA. Careful on the Tracy site they have manufactured some very loose connections through history. Chow was Mitose Sensei's student according to the head of Chow's art Kara Ho Kempo and Mitose Sensei's mother's maiden name was not Yoshida so the "direct lineage" of Tracy is false.
Anyway kevins right in that the 10th dan was administrative and not technical.

Rem Scherzinger

30th November 2000, 03:46
Both Mitose and his student were charged with murder. Mitose was also convicted of attempted murder, extortion, grand theft, solicitation to commit murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. He was found guilty on all six charges, but later the solicitation to commit murder was overturned.

Mitose would not have been given life in prison if it would have only been extortion and grand theft. It was the murder/murder related charges that did.

I agree about the Tracy site, but it does have the most info around on Mitose. You just need to put on the "propaganda filters" when reading it. William Durbin also has an article about Mitose and what Mitose actually learned and taught, along with his trial and conviction.

30th November 2000, 15:33
That seems to be a common thing about material on Mitose, it either paints him as a complete fraud including his art or an innocent man caught up in circumstances (I'm not sure so I'm not going to make an opinion on Mitose)

From some other Kenpo sources that have documented his history. They agreed that more than likely, Mitose was acutally taught his uncle's style (Choki Motobu) and then changed the history around and the name. He even used the same seal as his uncle for his style.

I think the biggest problem is, in general, martial artists change or make up stories/credentials of their skill instead of just saying that it is their own thing they learned from x,y,z. Even today, there are tons of martial artists making up lineage and ranks for some "long forgotten" style that they inherited.

R. Scherzinger
1st December 2000, 15:15
I have to agree with Jeff on the whole Durbin thing. Conection with Hassan and the PhD thing put him in question.

As for the whole Mitose Sensei's histroy and all that. It is apparent that he made concious choices to misslead, missrepresent, and omit information on all his documents. The stories he told to people like Bruce A. Haines, Arnold Goulb, Robert Trias and Bruce Juchnik are not congruous. Infact sometime see totaly misleading and disconnected.

Does this make his saga any less interesting, no. But as they say we shall never know the truth because we weren't there and it would seem that even if we had we would each see something different.

Rem Scherzinger

1st December 2000, 16:28
Originally posted by jboler

Then there is the Parker's, Tracy's, Speakman, Cerio, Tatum, blah blah blah...on NO, I have gone cross-eyed.

The funny thing is that none of these styles resemble the others. Who is teaching the real art? I doubt that anyone is.

Just to clarify about Ed Parker:

I don't think Ed Parker ever claimed to be teaching the kosho ryu that was taught to him by Mitose. He took what was taught to him, modified it and created his own style, THEN taught it to the Tracy's, Speakman, Cerio, Tatum, etc. And each of his students learned from him at different points in time, with each stylistic difference reflecting what Mr. Parker was doing at the time (does this sound kind of familiar to all of you aikidoists out there? - i.e. Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, Ki Society, pre-war, post-war, etc.). Mr. Parker was continually changing his art trying to improve its effectiveness, and actually encouraged his students to do the same. Because Mr. Parker didn't teach the "traditional" art that was taught to him by Mitose, I agree that it will be extremely difficult to use him or his students as sources to identify anyone who is teaching the "real" kosho ryu that Mitose claimed was handed down to him from his ancestors. To me, the stories I have heard of Choki Motobu being the real source of Mitose's kosho ryu seem more plausible.

Sorry about the thread drift, it's just that I have alot of respect for Ed Parker, and what he did to encourage martial arts in the US. Granted, he was good at promoting himself, but he also supported and encouraged other martial arts and martial artists when things were just getting started in the US (i.e. Don Angier Sensei).


[Edited by BC on 12-01-2000 at 11:36 AM]

1st December 2000, 18:07
No problem. :smilejapa: You're absolutely right about American Kenpo. I used to practice it in the eighties, then quit when I moved to a location where no one was teaching it. Next thing I know, Ed Parker passed away and his whole style split into hundreds of different organizations. I just hope this doesn't happen to aikido. On second thought, maybe it has already... :rolleyes:

2nd December 2000, 06:11
Just a little correction about where Ed Parker learned his kenpo from. He was a student of William Chow, not Mitose. The only reason I point that out is it is another controversy of whether or not Mitose taught Chow. Chow's camp says "no, they were just contempararies who met" The Mitose camp says" yes, he even promoted Chow under his system."

Who knows!!!

Slade Billew
3rd December 2000, 03:33

I am suprised to hear there is controversy about Chow having studied with Mitose. I have read several interviews where Sam Kuoha(the current head of Chow's system) acknowledges the connection. Also Chow appears throughout Mitose's "What is Self Defense" as a student and demonstrates the techniques of Mitose's system.

Just what I know.

3rd December 2000, 04:06
I agree with you. I have seen the pictures as well. I have read that Chow was more of a "partner" for demos and not a student and they parted ways.

I have also heard that Chow and Mitose actually faught, but never any details. Has anyone else heard this as well?