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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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In my bid to collect rare books, I came across another gem on ebay, ‘Basic Karate Katas by H. Kanazawa’.

 

Unfortunately, so far I have been unable to find a 1st edition copy of this book, so I settled for a 3rd edition, but to be honest, I don’t mind too much as this is a wonderful book that I truly do treasure.

 

Basic Karate Katas’ by H. Kanazawa is a book containing all of the basic Shotokan Katas: Heian 1-5, Jitte, Enpi, Bassai, Tekki 1 & 2, and Hungetsu. At the very end of the book is yet another surprise, Sai Kata. I personally am a little ill-informed in the practices of the sai, so was particularly excited to have a look at Kanazawa Sensei performing kata using a Sai.

 

This book, the 3rd edition published in 1973, was published by Paul H. Crompton LTD and with beautiful photographs shows Kanazawa Sensei as a very young man performing all of the kata. In the foreword to the book, Crispin Rogers thanks ‘Mr. Takahashi 3rd Dan, Instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain’ for posing in the photographs with Kanazawa Sensei, so to the historians among us, that might be a useful indication of the time this book was first made and published.

 

As with many of Kanazawa’s books, especially his kata books, this book does not include a great amount of written text, rather relying on a series of signs for the reader to follow. Such signs include:

 

  • After finishing kime, wait one second
  • Pause one second
  • Pause two seconds
  • Move without kime for one second
  • Slow movement to full concentration of power.

 

The above are just a few examples of the types of signals given by the book, and if you read the book, follow the pictures and efficiently follow the signs, all of the detail is there. Also, as I have said time and time again with Kanazawa’s works; what isn’t said is clearly demonstrated.

 

To accompany each of the Kata comes a nicely illustrated series of kata application, although basic in form, they do highlight the many common applications that came from that time, that still are commonly practiced in many dojo’s around the world.

 

One of my favorite sections of this book is the ‘Hungetsu’ Kata. One of the most famous pictures of Kanazawa Sensei comes from the book Dynamic Karate by M. Nakayama, where Kanazawa Sensei performs techniques in a bathing costume. Here in this book, Kanazawa Sensei performs Hangetsu kata without a gi top, this way his abdominal muscles on the abdominal breathing of the opening techniques can be clearly studied, with his Dynamic Tension making him a muscular killing machine.

 

This book may not necessarily be for the beginner student, as it does not spoon feed you the katas. Instead, I would actually advise this book for the collector, or possibly the advanced karateka who wants to take a little more away from it than the simple structure or form.

 

Shaun Banfield