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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Karate-Do Kyohan

G. Funakoshi

This is heralded as the ‘Bible’ of Shotokan Karate, and is the written text of Master Funakoshi.

This book gives a vital insight into the origins and philosophy of Shotokan Karate, but styles aside, this book will go as far as being an essential item in the collection of any Karateka, because it provides a detailed look at the history of Karate.

Depending on the edition – or should I say the amount of money spent – you may be lucky to have Funakoshi himself performing the techniques throughout the book. If not, don’t sweat it too much because any edition will be invaluable.

This book contains many of the Kata that make up the Shotokan syllabus, but the more observant of you may realise that certain Kata are absent from the collection. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for earlier photographical records of these missing Kata then you may be out of luck

If you hope to use this book as a resource to help you remember your Kata (if you’re a beginner) then this may be a hindrance, for there are some minor and major changes that will certainly affect the performance of the Kata. So using this book to aid your grading Kata may be unadvised.

The value of this book however lies in the fact that this is a document revealing the changes that have been made to Kata, whether for better, or for worse. And is one of very few written/ photographic texts that show the Kata how they were once performed.

Very interesting is the pressure point section, and despite major claims suggesting a degree of plagiarism from the ‘Bubushi’, this book will help widen your knowledge and deepen your understanding of the heritage of Karate-Do, possibly making you appreciate the effects of a well-targeted blow.

This book will most probably aid the more advanced student who wants to re-examine the history of Shotokan Karate and Shotokan Kata, and will certainly be valuable to a beginner, although less advanced student would be advised to enjoy the book, while being careful not to be ignorant of the differences in the Kata we practice now, and the Kata once taught by Funakoshi Sensei.

Mark Thompson

Date: 24/7/2005