The Master Text
Nineteen kata(“forms”) of karate—the art of selfdefense without weapons—are presented here in complete detail. They are the one selected by the great master and teacher, Gichin Funakoshi, to give comprehensive training in Karate-dō, 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 Shōrei school and the Shōrin 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 Kōfuku-ji and Tōdai-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-dō Kyōhan 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 techniques and character development.
About the author
GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is world famous as one of karate’s great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, 1868, he studied Karate-dō 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.
The Translator: TSUTOMU OHSHIMA founded the Southern California Karate Association, the first karate organization in the United States, in 1956. He studies karate for six years under Gichin Funakoshi, was captain of the karate club of Tokyo’s Waseda University, from which he graduated in 1953, and also founded, in 1957, the first university karate club in the United States at the Clifornia Institute of Technology. He is presently on the staff of the Physical Education Department of that university but travels extensively for instructional purposes, particularly to Japan, South America and Europe. A holder of the fifth degree black belt, he is concurrently head of Shōtō-kan and the Swiss Karate Federation.