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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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The Shotokan Karate Dictionary


This is the type of book that will last you your entire training life. As a beginner, the information in this book will be very useful, for it will give you an insight into many of the useful information that you will need for your early training days. For the advanced karateka, there's more than enough information for you to sieve through for weeks at a time. As an instructor, you'll need this book as a close reference for your teaching. The name however I don't feel does it justice. Granted, I couldn't think of a more appropriate name that doesn't involve a million and one words, but I just feel this book is so much more than a dictionary.In the same manner however, this is not the type of book you'll read cover to cover in one big go either. Instead, it's a book that'll have you coming back for your entire karate life.

Firstly may I comment on how beautiful the book is. I know you may find this completely shallow and of no importance what so ever, but I do feel it's worth a mention. This book is wonderfully illustrated with both kanji and photography, and this alone makes referencing that much easier and more pleasurable. I know many of you will by shouting 'But do I really care about how it looks?' and my answer is 'Yes', and when I explain further, you'll appreciate why.

The purpose of this book - from my point of view at least - is primarily to use as a reference throughout your karate career. This will widen your knowledge, and make your study of the art that much easier. I'm sure; every karateka throughout the world has encountered a principle, term or piece of information that they don't entirely understand. And where do they turn? Now they have an option, in an easy to follow reference book.

The book covers the following topics:

Numerical system
Elements of karate training
Different levels and directions
Basic kata
Advanced kata
Instructions during training
The origin of the name Karate-Do
Master Funakoshi Gichin
Other important terms in Karate-Do
Selected terms
In the dojo
Dojo kun
Twenty precepts of Karate-Do
Different karate styles
Karate philosophies
Tournament Terminology
Parts of the human body
Index of Japanese terms
About the Author

As you can clearly see, this book is extremely wide and varied in its content, covering more than simple terms and their translation. In fact, one of the most important features of this book I feel is the use of photography. Here I am going to prove the cynics wrong, by showing how presentation is very important in the usefulness of this book. Say you take the words 'Sosoku kari', which is translated to mean 'Two-legs
mower, cutter'. You read this somewhere in a back of a normal book, and the translation means as much to you as the Japanese words. What the hell is a two-leg mower? Ah, this is where the illistration comes in useful. Here, to accompany the translation comes a neat little photograph of a karateka effectively sweeping his opponent. Therefore, you understand the translation that much more, meaning you take more away from the book.

This book is very wide in its covering, and covers most of the translating that you will ever require. More than just translations, it gives you a deep insight into many technical terms and concepts. For example, the concept 'Mu' is looked at, and rather than simply stating 'Nothing', it gives you an overview of what this concept means, and its significance to the art of Shotokan karate.

This book is so much more than a dictionary. It's a real resource in itself, and will give you much information for any topic in karate. Along with the points already mentioned, there are also many fantastic personal photographs of Schlatt, and many senior instructors such as Fujinaga Yasuyuki, to whome the book is dedicated. There are also fantastic quotations from instructors such as Tanaka Sensei, and wonderful photographs of the author with such excellent karateka.

I also love the section dealing with kata, where the symbolic movements of the kata are photographed, and placed along with their terminology and information related to the kata. This I feel is a real nice touch, and I must say, Schlatt has very nice technique!

I could go on about this book all day, but I'll shut up now before I bore you. I really enjoyed reading through this excellent book, and I will undoubtedly refer to it for many many years to come.

P.S, If there are any cynics about the illustration and importance of the design, please do get yourself a copy so I can prove you all wrong!!!!

Mark Thompson


Click here to buy a copy of 'The Shotokan Karate Dictionary'