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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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I will open this DVD review by making the very bold statement that I feel this is possibly one of the very best instructional Shotokan DVDs I have ever watched. You had all better have a pen (which is obviously full of ink) and a wad of paper to get down all of the notes that you’ll take from it. This DVD is quite literally brimmed to the edges of the film with information, and it will undoubtedly take repeated viewings for you to fully appreciate it.

 

Whenever you train on Seminars with different instructors, so many senior grades avoid the kyu grades sessions as so many of them feel they are above all that. I’m sure this mentality also exists within the world of the DVD. Since this is volume 1: 9th-8th kyu grade DVD, some senior Karateka will automatically just wait for the senior DVDs to be released. May I seriously suggest we all have a re-think?

 

This DVD is titled Shotokan Mastery, perfectly put since Richard Amos is undeniably a present-day Master. Whether you are a 9th kyu or 9th dan, this DVD will, I really do feel, inspire and inform. Coupled with masses of information comes footage that can be described as nothing less than excellent.

 

Throughout this DVD, part one of a series, Richard Amos personally demonstrates:

 

Zenkustu-Dachi

Gedan Barai

Choku-zuki

Oi-zuki

Age-Uke

Soto-Uke

Uchi-Uke

Kokutsu-Dachi

Shuto-Uke

Mae-Geri

Kiba-Dachi

Yoko-Geri Keage

Yoko-Geri Kekomi

 

Gohon-Kumite

 

Heian Shodan

 

Brilliantly narrated by Richard Amos himself comes a commentary that delves into many of the smallest details, many of which commonly get neglected and overlooked.

 

Amos’ minimal and economical style reflects the approach he must have experienced during his 10-year stay in Japan; which would also go to explain his explicit attention to the smallest of details. This type of approach to karate may not be all too un-common, but what is rare is a DVD that reflects this attention to perfection. All too often, instructional videos and DVDs simply contain a Senior Karateka demonstrating the techniques with no explanation. Richard Amos however is not selfish with his knowledge and this project clearly demonstrates his passion for promoting a positive development in students throughout the world.

 

I believe at one point, he comments that when punching you must squeeze the little fingers in the fist, a point often neglected. How fantastic is that? With a deep understanding of the body and its mechanics he references the muscles, their correct execution and the role they play.

 

What do I have to say about Richard Amos’ technique? Well…the words unique, powerful, dynamic and precise come to mind, and the reason for his international reputation as a top class karateka is clearly explained in the first 3 seconds of the DVD

 

This DVD is beautifully filmed in almost a documentary esq fashion (I can describe it no better, but when you watch it you will understand what I mean) at the WTKO Honbu Dojo. The set up is slick and stylish and I dare say ‘edgy’. It also occurred to me that Amos’ perfectionistic attitude extends beyond karate and this DVD: its packaging, set up and filming being perfect examples of this.

 

Let me just say, that if you don’t have repetitive strain injury to the wrist at the end of this DVD from making all your notes, then you clearly had your TV on mute with your sofa facing in the wrong direction. Whether advanced or a beginner, you’ll undoubtedly treasure this DVD in your collection as a vitally important reference, and if you’re like me, you’ll be searching around for the release of the next part of the series.

 

Shaun Banfield