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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Karate Fighting Techniques

Hirokazu Kanazawa

Hirokazu Kanazawa is one of very few Masters of Karate-Do still practicing and teaching in an incredibly hectic schedule. His reputation expands beyond his physical skill, knowledge or teaching ability, and is quite commonly renown for his wonderful personality.

‘Karate Fighting Techniques’ is one of the most comprehensive books on Kumite, and is both educational and inspirational. Whereas many books tend to approach kumite solely from a technical point of view, Kanazawa has decided to consider both the technical and the wider approach to kumite practice. It’s very common to read kumite books dealing with Jiyu-Kumite, as this tends to be the most complex element of your kumite training. I get the feeling from this book however that Kanazawa firmly believes that to be successful in the free flowing side of kumite training, you need to understand the principles of formal kumite training.           

This book, as I have already said contains detailed information into not simply just the technical details of Kumite, but considers Kumite in a wider sense. The book includes some fantastic information on the specific significance of ‘Rei’ and the meaning of ‘OSS’, two aspects for karate that tend to be severely overlooked. As Kanazawa is more than just a technician though, he delves deeply into more than just the obvious elements of kumite.

This book also places much emphasis on the importance of etiquette, and throughout the book there are excellent references to the principles of karate-do that are understated not just in books and DVDs but also in the dojo.

This book deals with many examples of kumite, and the kumite section can be broken down into the following sections:

Gohon Kumite

Sanbon Kumite

Koso Kumite

Kihon Ippon- Kumite

Kaeshi Ippon-Kumite

Jiyu Ippon-Kumite

Okuri Jiyu Ippon-Kumite

Jiyu Kumite

Happo Kumite

There are also some excellent sections dealing with the fundamental techniques, where Kanazawa writes about the particular way the SKIF perform certain techniques, commenting at times on the necessary breathing patterns and other technical details. One section in particular that I loved was the targeting section dealing with methods of practicing to understand distancing through a variety of ways including an interesting demonstration with a belt. There are also some quirky elements of the book such as folding a gi and how to use the belt to transport it. All fun stuff.

Along with the detailed commentary by Kanzawa dealing with both the philosophical and technical aspects of kumite, come some fantastic photographs. In the archive photographs come some wonderful glimpses into the world of Kanazawa, looking at his youth, training, teaching and experiences. These are beautiful and fascinating to look at and enable you to get a greater understanding of Kanazawa’s karate. To accompany the technical details of the book however come some great photos of Kanazawa himself (who demonstrates most of the techniques), Ichihara, Murakami, Nobuaki Kanazawa and several others, and this makes the reading all the more accessible.

This book is a great example of Kanazawa’s work, and the professionalism of his karate shines throughout. Although the book does not explore the skills of kumite and different strategically methods in a great deal of depth, this book is an excellent insight into the different examples of kumite and will undoubtedly be a great resource.

Shaun Banfield

01/11/06