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Nineteen kata ("forms") of karate-the art of self-defense without weapons-are presented here in complete detail. They are the ones selected by the great master and teacher, Gichin Funakoshi, to give comprehensive training in Karate-do, the way of karate.
Fully illustrated demonstrations by the translator cover not only every technique of the kata but also the fundamentals and applications: how to make a fist; the correct form of the open hand; preliminary training in blocking, striking and kicking; the seven stances; and sparring.
The author presents, besides kata that he himself originated, beginning and advanced kata from both the Shorei school and the Shorin school, the former remarkable for their forcefulness and development of strength, the latter characterized by their gracefulness and lightning swiftness.
This book, the most comprehensive and authoritative ever published, was being revised by the author shortly before his death in 1957, at the age of eighty-eight, and is translated for the first time. Through his advice on both practical and spiritual aspects of training, the master guides the student from techniques to the Way of karate. Complementing the English edition are illustrations of National Treasures from Kofuku-ji and Todai-ji temples in Nara and Master Funakoshi's calligraphy.
Karate, whose value for the well-rounded development of strength, coordination and agility is scientifically validated, can be practiced at any time and in any place, for any length of time, by men and women of all ages, and requires no special equipment. It also fosters the development of spiritual qualities: courage, courtesy, integrity, humility and self-control.
Gichin Funakoshi's karate books, the first published in 1922, are landmarks, for the development of this martial art in Okinawa was shrouded in secrecy, and almost no records of its early history, dating back more than a thousand years to the Shao-lin Temple in Hunan Province, China, exist. Karate-do Kyohan is a book that lives up to its title: it is in truth the master text for karate instruction at all levels and in all aspects of technique and character development.
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is one of karate's great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, 1868, he studied Karate-do from childhood and organized the the first public demonstrations.
As president of the Okinawa Association for the Spirit of Martial Arts, he was chosen to demonstrate karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo in 1922. This led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest of Japan and subsequently to the rest of the world.
At the urging of friends and officials, he remained in Tokyo, and the development of the way of karate owes much to his teaching, writings and introduction of new forms. In his later years, he was president of Shotokai, of which he was a founder. He emphasized always the spiritual aspects of Karate-do, and it is significant that through his influence the Chinese characters for karate were changed from "Chinese" hand to "empty" hand.
[Opening pages of "Advice on Training" from Chapter 4, minus the original macrons]
ADVICE ON TRAINING
Effects of Haste
In training, do not expect good results in a short time. Karate training may extend over one's entire life, beginning (although there is no actual age limit on starting) ideally in junior high school years. In the study of any subject, little is to be gained from haphazard training, and thus, particularly in a martial art such as karate, steady, unremitting training is required. Many people train furiously in karate initially but lose their enthusiasm even before the end of the first year. Clearly, very little good can be gained from such sporadic training, and, in fact, heavy training before the body is properly conditioned can result in injury to the body. One may even produce permanent injury to the body through this training whose express purpose is the development of the body. For these reasons, train systematically, without becoming impatient or overexerting yourself, and develop gradually, advancing steadily, one step at a time, with increased application of force and numbers of exercises practiced.
Tiring of Training
Many people become weary after training half a year or a year. This state of weariness, which is common and is not restricted to the study of karate, is a critical one, and a student may succeed or fail depending on his attitude during this period. Once aware of this state of languor, one must redouble his efforts and pass through this period with inspired spiritual effort. If he allows himself to become discouraged and quits at this point, his entire previous effort will be lost. The student who enters into this state of weariness shows that he actually does not understand and appreciate karate. Therefore, if he does quit training and gives up karate with only superficial understanding of it, it can properly be said of him that a little knowledge was a dangerous thing. Once you have begun karate for the benefit you might derive from it, it is my hope that you will continue to train thoroughly until you do come to a full understanding of it.
The most common causes of falling into this state of weariness are falling behind in training (compared with those who have started at the same time or later) as a result of sickness or injury, an inability to use the arms and legs as well as one wishes (as a result of insufficient time in training), or the lack of an appropriate partner to encourage one or to provide competition in training. Usually it is for these reasons that one finds a student becoming weary, losing interest and enthusiasm, balking self-consciously at practicing kata in front of others, lamely offering excuses such as, "I am not really suited for karate," and, finally, quitting altogether. Conversely, the best way to progress is to keep to a schedule of regular practice each day, to continue even after having fallen behind one's peers (because one catches up with them easily with time in any case), firmly to set high goals, and to practice steadily without rushing or becoming impatient. In order to maintain one's interest and enthusiasm in karate, he should try to attain a thorough insight into karate by appreciating kata performed by others, by listening to the points of view of others on karate, by reading books, and especially by attending exhibitions of karate as often as possible, as well as practicing with the makiwara and other training equipment. If the student returns again and again to ponder on karate, he is able to avoid this sort of weariness.
It is a unique feature of karate that it can be practiced alone and at any time and in any place. Insofar as possible, one should wear light, informal clothing similar to that worn in normal daily activity. An area of about nine by twelve feet is appropriate, which can be reduced after some training to nine by six feet. Until one has learned the order of the kata, he should concentrate on this rather than on applying much strength. After understanding the basic structure of the kata, one should then gradually apply more strength. Finally, once he has completely learned the order and acquired a feeling for the kata, he should then begin study of the next kata.
Although individual training in karate can be of great interest, there is also pleasure in group training. As in other forms of exercise, there is a characteristic good atmosphere associated with training under the direction of a leader of a group at a school, club, or other self-development organization.
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