Gavin Mulholland is one of those rare karate instructors who actually impresses me. It's common knowledge that the bulk of "traditional" martial artists can't make their stuff work in the real world due to the emphasis placed on sporting applications over the last thirty years. Luckily, there are people like Gavin still out there proving that Traditional Martial Arts do indeed work -- Nick Hughes, Chief Instructor of Fight Survival and Combat Karate
I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to find such a like soul, someone else that is speaking the same language. I highly recommend this authentic book, its contents and its author and I implore everyone who is `searching' to read this book - it is both valuable and long overdue. -- Geoff Thompson, sixth-degree black belt, writer, teacher, martial artist
I find Gavin a truly inspirational martial artist. He embodies all that I think is good and worthwhile in the arts and it is always a pleasure to be in the dojo with him. I cannot recommend his teaching highly enough
-- David Rubens, 5th Dan Yoshinkan Aikido
Regardless of style, all karateka should read and digest the information contained within this excellent book. Gavin Mulholland is someone who fully understands the realities of combat and kata and if you wish to practise karate as the pragmatic fighting system it was intended to be, you should familiarise yourself with Gavin's work. This is a thorough and accessible explanation of everything you need to know to make sense of kata and become a complete fighter. Four Shades of Black is a must-read book that is certain to become a modern classic. Enjoy! -- Iain Abernethy, fifth-degree black belt Author of Bunkai-Jutsu: The Practical Application of Karate Kata
‘The secrets of karate are contained in the kata,’ said the masters of old. What did they mean? For many years, people have struggled to understand where padwork, grappling, ground-fighting and even high kicks fit into traditional karate.
While many people understand the purpose of individual kata, this book demonstrates how the various kata work together to create a logical fight progression from stand-up striking to close-quarter grappling and groundfighting. Four Shades of Black decodes the kata in a radically different way, revealing how the traditional arts set out to develop a complete and rounded fighter. If you think you know karate, think again.