Moving Zen – One Man’s journey to the Heart of Karate
How many Karate books are out there on the shelves?
Let’s narrow the scope a little, how many Shotokan books are out there?
So many, that you might not expect one individual book to have any real effect, let alone inspire a generation. In that sense, ‘Moving Zen’ can be seen as somewhat of a ‘wonder’, for to this day, despite it’s many reprints it still sits at the forefront of any karate bookshelf.
Why, I contemplated just moments before I read it?
When I actually sat down, and read it cover to cover in my one sitting, I completely understood why!
You can practically ask any Shotokan karateka throughout the world what they thought of ‘Moving Zen’, and they will tell you openly and clearly, with an unabashed announcement that it inspired them to their core. Many will tell you that they first started karate because of this book. Many will say it opened their eyes to the wider world of karate and even more people will tell that their book is dog-eared from repeated reading.
Even I must admit that the first reading wasn’t enough. Not because it was pointless drivel, but because it injected a surge of excitement that only normally happens when you’re stood in front of the Masters that this book talks about.
This book chronicles one man’s journey, following ‘the way’. No doubt many would love to do so, but the restrictions of modern life such as financial boundaries simply don’t allow such liberties. I want to tell you that if you just read this book, then your desire to follow ‘the way’ in the heartland will burn in the blistering heat of the Japanese sun. But unfortunately I cannot. This book I must admit, only enhances such dreams, for the vibrancy of the writing jumps out from the page, ties you up in an obi and pulls you in. You cannot resist, and nor should you.
Most of us will never travel to the so-called heartland, and it would be totally ignorant to insist that all actually want to. This book however does give an insight, both factual and philosophical, and it will widen your knowledge and understanding of Karate-Do.
The book chronicles, Nicol’s journey from a junior grade and beyond, exploring his relationship with Master Kanazawa and the many other greats he encountered during his time in Japan. To accompany Nicol’s writing comes a foreword from Master Kanazawa who describes this book as ‘the saga of one karateka in search of himself’.
Written with honesty, this book discusses even the smallest of details, giving you a rich and vivid insight into the world that Nicol had experienced during his stay in Japan. With real vibrancy, he talks about life within the Japanese culture, and his relationship with his peers and teachers. Despite the hardship of life and training during this time, the writing keeps its chin up and remains positive and wide-eyed.
Beautifully illustrated by Munehiro Ikeda, and photos of Nicol and Master Kanazawa, this book is a wonderful piece of writing and will inspire even the jaded of us. This book will put a smile on your face, and if you’re unlucky enough to have gotten stuck in a rut and uninspired, please give this book a read and just feel your inspiration battery get quickly charged back up.