Gichin Funakoshi, John Teramoto (Translator), Tsutomu Oshima book: Karate Jutsu: The Original Teachings of Gichin Funakoshi
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For "thinking" Shotokan karate practitioners
This is the text that Master Funakoshi wrote to replace Ryukyu Kenpo Karate after it's original plates were destroyed. This text also precedes Karate-Do Nyumon and Karate-Do Kyohan. This text is interesting in that it shows some pictures of Gichin Funakoshi throughout various stages of his life, and several still photos of various kata performed by Master Funakoshi himself. To see what these 'original' kata may have looked like, it is absolutely necessary to have a working knowledge of the kata as they are today. Many schools of Shotokan have small variations compared to this text, but are largely similar to the photos of Funakoshi from nearly 100 years ago. This is reassuring. However, it is important to note that Gichin was a very small man and many techniques for real life defense for a man his size would be slightly different for larger Western men. However, the concept remains the same, which is again, reassuring.
The selling point of this book is some Shotokan karateka philosophy written by Funakoshi himself, which at times are enlightening, and amusing in others. For beginners or intermediate practitioners of Shotokan, this book will not help much because it gives no sense of timing in kata, and very poor idea of direction and specific fine movements (better to see Nakayama's 'Best Karate' series). However, it should be clear to most advanced students (say, 1st kyu and up). This book shares features of Karate-Do Kyohan, in that it shows fundamentals like hand and foot positions, stances, how to build a makiwara, etc. But it is perhaps more interesting because it shows some throws that are not practiced in many Shotokan dojos these days. Overall, I give 5 stars to this old classic text that brings us back to the Father of Modern Karate, Master Funakoshi, and I further recommend it to any advanced Shotokan karateka.
Gichin Funakoshi is considered the father of modern karate. In the 1920s, he wrote the first of several classic karate texts, culminating his career with the publication of Karate-do Kyohan, which remains among the most important and influential works on karate today.
The Kyohan, however, evolved from Karate Jutsu, a much earlier work. In the formative writings of the Jutsu, Funakoshi set out the philosophy and forms that he would practice and refine for the rest of his life.
As the Kyohan's earliest version, Karate Jutsu has attained legendary status. Legions of enthusiastic martial arts practitioners have sought out the original Japanese version, and pirated English-language editions have circulated for years.
This is the first official English publication of Karate Jutsu. Translator John Teramoto has gone to great lengths to accurately convey the essence of Funakoshi's original manuscript, and has contributed an informative introduction and revealing footnotes that clearly note where the forms in Jutsu vary from those of the Kyohan. Karate Jutsu also includes rare historical photographs of Funakoshi himself demonstrating the kata, his early writings in their original form, and a foreword by Tsutomu Ohshima, the founder and chief instructor of the Shotokan Karate of America.