The Essence of Karate
Karate's prodigious rise from obscure, secretive Okinawan self-defense techniques to one of Japan's most revered and recognizable martial traditions can be attributed to one man—Gichin Funakoshi, the Father of Modern Karate. While karate's origins remain shrouded in mystery, Funakoshi worked tirelessly his whole life to spread his message of spirituality, and the importance of winning without fighting. Karate today has devotees from all over the world.
In The Essence of Karate, Funakoshi creates in his own words a narrative of modern karate, from its origins to its very essence, drawing on his vast personal insight and myriad experiences. His work describes a fascinating picture of this martial art, including memories of his training since childhood, and his own recollections and stories of many karate masters. Funakoshi strives to emphasize throughout these pages that true victory lies in not fighting, and, as well as exploring the philosophy of karate, he explains the reason why many great martial artists improve with age.
The book includes a foreword by Hirokazu Kanazawa, one of Funakoshi's closest disciples, who fondly remembers his former master through endearing anecdotes that shed more light on Funakoshi's legendary status. This book will offer the reader a unique perspective on the history and art of karate as told through the eyes of its venerable master. Through careful perusal of these pages, the reader will come closer to understanding the very essence of karate.
"In the past, masters would first look at the character of potential students before agreeing to teach them. Those whose natures were deemed inappropriate, even in the case of one's own child, were strictly forbidden from re-ceiving training in the martial arts. Conversely, through karate, it was possible to pacify those with a violent tempe-rament."
"Teachers at the schools where I teach speak to me at great length about their students who train in karate, telling me about how they have become more restrained in their behavior. For me, such stories are a source of pride and satisfaction." —Gichin Funakoshi
About the Author
GICHIN FUNAKOSHI, known as the legendary "Father of Modern Karate," was born in Okinawa in 1868. He became one of karate's great masters and the founder of the Shotokan school. He began training as a child in secretive martial arts techniques that had been passed down for generations in Okinawa, a region that would be-come known as the birthplace of karate. In 1922, at the request of the Japanese government, he gave a demon-stration of these still little-known arts of self-defense on the Japanese mainland, thus giving rise to karate's intro-duction to the rest of Japan and subsequently the world. He devoted the remainder of his life to karate and wrote several classics on the art including Karate-do Kyohan, Karate Jutsu, and The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, as well as an autobiography entitled Karate-do: My Way of Life. He passed away in 1957.
HIROKAZU KANAZAWA was born in 1931 in Iwate prefecture, Japan. The most respected figure in the karate world today, he was a close disciple of Gichin Funakoshi. Kanazawa founded the Shotokan Karate-do In-ternational Federation in 1979, after gaining his impressive reputation in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and Europe as an official trainer for the Japan Karate Association. The Shotokan Karate-do International Federation now has branches in more than 100 countries throughout the world. Kanazawa is the author of Karate Fighting Tech-niques, Black Belt Karate, and Karate: The Complete Kata, published by Kodansha.
GISHO FUNAKOSHI was born in Okinawa in 1925. He worked in administration and was the director of public affairs of the Ryukyu government. He was a poet, writer, and essayist. He wrote an impressive number of serialized stories in newspapers, as well as dramas and songs for creative dance. His most noted work is The Poems of Gisho Funakoshi. He passed away in 2007.
RICHARD BERGER was born in Rochester, New York, in 1963, and began training in Shotokan karate in 1982 while attending university in Southern California. He moved to Tokyo in 1990 and has been training at Hiro-kazu Kanazawa's SKIF headquarters since 1993.