Harold Mitchum spent seven and one-half years on Okinawa studying with Master Shimabuku. In 1961, he was appointed by Master Shimabuku as the first president of the American Okinawan Karate Association. It was some seven years earlier, May 1954, that this Marine from South Carolina was introduced to karate by the company's interpreter-washboy who taught him a few Goju techniques. Later, on Okinawa, in addition to studying Isshin-Ryu, Sensei Mitchum studied Shorin-Ryu. His relationship with his teachers was very close, and he learned well.
After serving in Korea, Okinawa, and two tours in Vietnam, Sensei Mitchum returned to the South as a First Sergeant with twenty years in the Marine Corps. After retiring from the military, he opened a dojo.
His philosophy of karate is:
(1) "I personally think that tournaments have terribly distorted the public image of what karate really is."
(2) "I stress hard the very basics of karate and kata, and that when people have the perseverance to stay with karate long enough, they will know without having to demonstrate to themselves or anyone else when they have reached a high degree of enlightenment and ability. I believe in Master Funakoshi's philosophy that the ultimate aim should be the perfection of one's character."