Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Karate - The Complete Kata by Hirokazu Kanazawa

If you only ever buy one book on the technical aspect of Shotokan karate then this book must be it!
Karate: The Complete Kata is written by one of the world’s leading karate masters, and arguably the most famous Shotokan master still alive today—Hirokazu Kanazawa, 10th degree black belt.
Back in the early 1980s, Master Kanazawa released a two-volume book set covering the 26 standard Shotokan kata.  Now in January 2010, Master Kanazawa has released a brand new version of the original two-volume book set that covers all of the 26 standard Shotokan kata plus an additional kata called Gankaku-sho aimed at more advanced practitioners who want to further their study.
Each kata has a whole new set of original photos that cover each move of every kata in the same fine detail that we have come to expect from everything that Master Kanazawa does.  In the book he is assisted by his three sons and other high-ranking instructors from his Headquarter’s Dojo in Tokyo.
The big difference between this book and the original set is that each move of every kata is also accompanied by a written explanation on how to perform the move, rather than just the name of the technique.  This is a huge benefit to anybody who is trying to polish the details of the kata and the transitions between moves from this book.
The translator, Richard Berger, has truly done an excellent job in bringing these finer points of each kata to print for the first time according to Master Kanazawa’s exemplary technique and deep understanding of the art of Shotokan karate.
In summary, Karate: The Complete Kata is already destined to become the definitive work on Shotokan kata and should not disappoint the reader in any way.  It has over 3000 high quality photos that accompany detailed step-by-step explanations to the individual moves as well as an introduction to each kata that touches on some of the historical context of the kata.  There are also several suggested applications to some of the more important moves and sequences found within the different kata.  Additional diagrams are used to explain the appropriate head movement, stepping movement and breathing for the kata.
All in all, this book will serve all practitioners of Shotokan very well for the whole of their Shotokan karate study.  It is quite simply an essential book!