Monday, 17 March 2014

Book Review..!

The best book on Okinawan karate history I've ever read
As a writer I read a lot. The truth is, if you don't read then what you write is pretty limited. I'm fussy about the books I invest my time in though, and like a good many of you reading this blog, I've graduated from reading everything I could get my hands on about karate, to avoiding most of what is now published on the subject. In truth, in spite of the vast array of material available to karateka these days, the majority of it is of little use to the serious karateka trying to learn more about their martial art.

The book pictured above, Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art. is an epic volume; an encyclopedia of historical events and characters brought to the page from the rich culture that was Ryukyu. It's an expensive book to buy but worth every penny; for this work covers ground previously unexplored by even the most famous of karate's historians. At well over 500 pages, the information is presented in such a way as to satisfy everyone from the most scholarly academic, to the casual reader wanting to know more about the evolution of today's karate.

Andreas and me on a winter's day in Okinawa, 2008, about to ascend the ishi tatami
I met the books author, Andreas Quast for the first time in 2008 in Naha. It was his first visit to Okinawa and he was going to train at the Shimbukan dojo where I practise kobudo. Since then, Andreas has spent a considerable amount of time living in Okinawa, where, when not training, he mined the historical achieves for much of the information found in his book. With considerable skill, Andreas has laid before the reader a document detailing as never before the chronological events that lead to the birth of karate as we know it today.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. In forty years of reading about karate, I've found nothing to match the depth and scale of this volume, or the level of detailed information contained within it. If you consider yourself a karate historian, or researcher, then you need to have this book on your shelf, for without it, your understanding of karate's evolution will remain flawed. Invest in the book now, and open your mind to the real world of the Ryukyu Kingdom from which karate emerged....or remain ignorant! As always, the choice is yours......