What an amazing and well thought-out book. It caused me to really question myself and my training in some points. It’s full of fantastic insights and points of view on the process of training karate and studying kata. The analogy of “melting ice into water” is spot on too. Thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to any other experienced karateka.
All Karateka should read this and really understand how to turn their Kata into a meaningful and relevant part of their training. I like how everything starts from the basic principles – John has done a very thorough job of analysing and explaining his applications. This is a book I feel I’ll be referring back to frequently!
Excellent book, John’s methodical approach to Kata application is amazing. I can highly recommend this work to every Karateka that is searching for meaningful, useful and no nonsense info on subject of Bunkai.
To say this book is a collection of selected articles written by John over a number of years is to do it an injustice. There are supposed, empirical works on Karate and self defence that are simply not in the same league as this work and most certainly not as thought provoking; this is no small offering either. Running to over 150 pages it is both comprehensive, very well structured and especially well written and in a style that holds one’s attention. Whilst it is a book that one can dip into at any point it benefits from treating it like any book and working from front to back, with each article essentially a chapter, flowing naturally from one subject to the next and with a history of the particular article at the end of each one. The thought provoking thread running through the book is John’s endeavour, over more than two decades of training and researching, to square how an Eastern martial art such as Karate serves the purpose of working against what he terms ‘habitual acts of violence (HAOV) and how he has adapted the key principles of a traditional karate system to the imperatives of this western ‘curse.’ This is a book after my own heart and I thoroughly commend it to anyone who questions what their current karate training is geared towards, but also to those who don’t need convincing about the efficacy of their karate in dealing with real life violence but need a plan to affect change. This book will answer both question and need.
Even as a Third Dan with long experience of Karate (Shotokan and Goju Ryu), plus Aikido and MMA, it was John’s books that fundamentally transformed my understanding of kata, karate and self-defence. Drilling the book series through, against habitual acts of violence, really gave me the insight to unlock the full genius of the katas; the multiplicity of applications and how to flow them together fluidly and dynamically. After 20+ years, it wasn’t until I put this series of books into practice and drilled them through that I really got it. Each book is about the cost of two karate lessons and I guarantee you that the insights gained in each will impact you much much more.
Highly informative, instructive and enjoyable. I feel more confident inside already.