Karate is one of Japan's most revered martial traditions, and is one of the many facets of Japanese culture that hold universal appeal and have been embraced worldwide. Part of karate's appeal lies in its accessible nature as a martial art; indeed, it can be practiced by anyone regardless of age or gender, and can be undertaken at any time during a person's life.
A vital element to karate practice is to engage repeatedly in the art of kata; patterns of movement that are carefully choreographed and arranged in sequences, representing a wide range of attack and defense postures. Through mastery of the various kata forms, the karate practitioner can develop not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.
In this comprehensive new book, renowned karate master Hirokazu Kanazawa, founder of the Shotokan Karate-do International Federation and disciple of the legendary Gichin Funakoshi, the father of modern karate, traces the history of karate's twenty-seven most important kata. Combining detailed, step by step explanations with important historical contexts, Kanazawa meticulously maps out the distinct approaches to kata and the various branches of karate as it evolved from generation to generation.
The author explains in depth some of the more difficult aspects of karate for learners to master, including steps, breathing, and pressure points. Kata need to be practiced with disciplined, regular training on an individual basis, and this book is written with such training in mind.
Some 3,000 dynamic illustrations accompany the author's explanations, making this the most extensive compendium of karate's various kata in English. This book will be a welcome addition to the libraries of both beginner and advanced devotees of karate alike. It is the author's wish that this book provide an invaluable reference and learning tool for the study of kata, and that through the rigorous practice of kata, the practitioner will be able to express more than mere physical forms of attack and defense. As the author himself asserts: "Kata contain elements that offer opportunities for deep learning about physical eduction, art, history and, particularly, philosophy."
Hirokazu Kanazawa, president of Shotokan Karate-do International Federation, began practicing karate as a student at Takushoku University and, after graduation, became an instructor for the Japan Karate Association. He has taught in the United States and throughout Europe. In 1979, he founded Shotokan Karate-do International Federation, which now has branches in over 100 countries. Kanazawa is the author of "Karate Fighting Techniques," "Black Belt Karate," "Karate–My Life" and several books in Japanese on karate.© Japan Today