Sensei Harold Mitchum was appointed the first President of the American Okinawan Karate Association by Soke Shimabuku. The official appointment letter from Master Tatsuo Shimabuku was originally dated June 10th, 1961, following an important meeting to determine who would best be suited for promoting Isshin Ryu karate in the United States. However, in a document drafted by Ralph Bove, who was serving as the Judo and Karate coordinator for the USMC, Sensei Harold Mitchum was listed as the President of the American Okinawan Karate Association on a document dated April 12th, 1961. At the time that document was drafted, Sensei Mitchum had returned from Okinawa to the United States, and had not received the official letter of appointment from Master Shimabuku.
After the passing of Master Shimabuku in 1975, Ralph Bove visited Sensei Mitchum’s dojo and presented him with a notarized letter stating Master Shimabuku requested to have Sensei Mitchum conduct all affairs for Isshin Ryu Karate in the United States. Sensei Mitchum formed the United Isshin Ryu Karate Association in September of 1975. The list of bylaws explain his purpose and goals for Isshin Ryu. Mitchum Sensei's focus was to standardize kata performance, promotion criteria and provide assistance to all Isshin Ryu dojos through training clinics.
It is the goal of Master Mitchum’s senior students to preserve and pass down his teachings and lessons to future generations; as entrusted to do so by Isshin Ryu’s founder, Master Tatsuo Shimabuku.
This letter was written to Master Harold Mitchum July 11th, 1975. The letter was Master Tatsuo's request that Harold Mitchum Sensei would act as the director of Isshinryu Karate in the United States to ensure the direction, growth, and future of his style, Isshinryu Karate.
This letter was written to all karate members of the AOKA. The purpose was to announce the goals and plans to rebuild the association into the strongest in the world. The letter outlines the goals and terms of membership.
On June 10th 1961, a meeting was held with the American Okinawan Karate Association and Master Tatsuo Shimabu. The purpose of this meeting was to reevaluate the promotion of U.S. students returning to the states, who had been awarded high ranks without proper time and grade. A new system of time, grade, and ability was put into place.