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Karate-Do: My Way of Life [Paperback]

Gichin Funakoshi
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Mar 2013
Linking the time when karate was a strictly Okinawan art of self-defense shrouded in the deepest secrecy and the present day, when it has become a martial art practiced throughout the world, is Gichin Funakoshi, the "Father of Karate-do."
Out of modesty, he was reluctant to write this autobiography and did not do so until he was nearly ninety years of age. Trained in the Confucian classics, he was a schoolteacher early in life, but after decades of study under the foremost masters, he gave up his livelihood to devote the rest of his life to the propagation of the Way of Karate. Under his guidance, techniques and nomenclature were refined and modernized, the spiritual essence was brought to the fore, and karate evolved into a true martial art.
Various forms of empty-hand techniques have been practiced in Okinawa for centuries, but due to the lack of historical records, fancy often masquerades as fact. In telling of his own famous teachers-and not only of their mastery of technique but of the way they acted in critical situations-the author reveals what true karate is. The stories he tells about himself are no less instructive: his determination to continue the art, after having started it to improve his health; his perseverance in the face of difficulties, even of poverty; his strict observance of the way of life of the samurai; and the spirit of self-reliance that he carried into an old age kept healthy by his practice of Karate-do.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc; Reprint edition (29 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568364989
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568364988
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author


GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is world famous as one of Karate's great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, in 1868, he studied Karate-do from childhood and organized the first public demonstrations.
He was trained in the Confucian classics and was a schoolteacher early in life. After training for decades under the foremost masters in Okinawa he was elected 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, which led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest of Japan and subsequently to the rest of the world. Among his writings are Karate-do Nyumon: The Master Introductory Text, Karate-doKyohan: The Master Text, and Karate Jutsu: The Original Teachings of Gichin Funakoshi.
Master Gichin Funakoshi died in April 1957.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A superb biography of Gichin Funakoshi' 8 Dec 2001
By James
Format:Paperback
This book is a super biography of today's master of Karate, Gichin Funakoshi. Even since his death in 1957 he has helped Karate to be exported throughout the world. It makes for a VERY interesting read. A must for those interested in not just the combat of Karate, but the Spiritual side of it too.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 3 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback
This book is a true must-have for any student of martial arts, not just shotokan karate. Within Master Funakoshi guides the reader throughout his life and shares stories and information about his experiences. Master Funakishi's way of writing is humbling and enlightening and a delight to read. It cannot be recommended highly enough and all martial arts students, whether beginner or black belt, should read this amazing life story of a remarkable man.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karate-do: My Way of Life. 11 July 2005
Format:Paperback
I read this book and could not put it down.Its the great true life history of master GICHIN FUNAKOSHI and the things that happen to him within and out of his karate life,(funny avents),a great read and a must for all karate folk.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FANTASTIC READ 10 Dec 2004
Format:Paperback
I was recommended this book by my Sensei and I am so glad I bought it. It is an amazing story about an amazing person who dedicated his life to Karate and without whom we - as students- may not be training in Karate today. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in martial arts and defy anyone not to be inspired and motivated by the book. Excellent reading, I couldn't put it down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Study & Learn From The Master of Karate 7 May 2010
Format:Paperback
As a 5th dan practitioner of Shotokan Karate for nearly 40 years I have been aware of Gichin Funakoshi as it's founder the whole of my life. For many years I questioned the practical relevance of many of the techniques and kata I have been taught and in turn passed on to my own students. As a student I began to think that the aesthetic appearence of Karate seemed to be important to my seniors than its actual use as the self-defence system that it claimed to be. I was taught Karate kumite as a sport for scoring points with techniques of nearly no relevance to real confrontation and kata as almost a dance routine to look good to the eye and impress judges in an over riding and all important quest to gain a medal or trophy.
On studying closely Karate-do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi we learn that Karate has changed so much since its introduction to Japan, that if our great projanitors were to see it practiced today it would be unrecognisable to them as Karate. This superb book gives us a unique snapshot at the old masters: Sokon Matsumura, Itosu and Azato. These truly hard man practised karate as a close quarter combat system designed specifically to protect their king. Kata was not a meaningless succession of movements for physical exercise or performance but rather each kata was a recording of a complete and utterly devastating fighting system. Moreover we discover that Gichin Funakoshi was adamantly against the stylisation of the art and was dismayed at his Karate being named Shotokan!
Karate Do My Way of Life is a superb book written by a genius of the art.Okay, it's not Orange Prize book award writing but we're Karateka and every karateka should read it and enjoy it.... NO! STUDY IT AND LEARN from it for what it is. It gives us all the clues on how we should be teaching this life-changing art and its not how the majority of schools do it today.

Overall a pleasant read but more importantly the key to how karate should be practiced is held within.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most have! 30 Nov 2002
Format:Paperback
If you study Shotokan Karate, this is definatly a must have. It would also be a good resource for any Karateka, as Master Funakoshi is the father of modern day Karate which consists of may styles that people all over the world now learn.
In it, Master Funakoshi recalls all the important elements of his life from how and why he began studying Karate, to how he ended up spreading Karate around the world, and making more then his wieldest dreams come true. This really is a must have book for any serious Karateka (Karate Student) to have. There are also a few very good lessons to be learnt from this book that will prove to help any Karateka in the ways of the Empty Hand, and life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read 1 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback
In my opinion, this is a great read for anyone, not just those who have or are still training in the martial arts, but for anybody. It is so easy to read and one has to be very impressed by the honesty shown.
I found the chapter entitled "One life - great losses" very touching, where he spoke about his wife's death. In the same chapter, section entitled "every day", he gave a detailed description of his healthy life style. So much information in this section alone. Great man, with great enthusiasm and plans for the further development of Karate-do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for the KarateKa 27 Feb 2003
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed this on the level that it is an interesting autobiography of an incredible man, as well as enjoying it as a study towards an eventual black belt in Shotokan. I believe that I learned a good deal from this book, and therefore from the man. The reader should remind themself that he was born at a difficult time in Japanese history and would have been 23 when Queen Victoria died; imagine what values your own great grandfather might have had and you will understand more. A great man who achieved much in a difficult time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
Really enjoyed this book. Very inspirational.
Published 8 days ago by Stuart Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great read, prompt delivery.
Published 1 month ago by Viara
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent buy!
Extremely interesting, brilliant buy. Would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in martial arts. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sally Ashby
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book
This book is a must for anyone passionate about Shotokan Karate! The master of Shotokan tells his story with enthusiasm and takes you back to the days before Karate was practiced... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sylv888
5.0 out of 5 stars A true inspiration.
Whatever you know or think you know about Gichin Funakoshi you should read this book. This book truly explains and shows the man he truly was. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mr S Sheridan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you
After reading this I felt nothing but grateful that such people lived and live and felt blessed that I was able to read a short story of his life, and humbled at every page. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ed
5.0 out of 5 stars back to the roots
If you want to understand the origins of traditional Shotokan karate, this is the right book. Also, it transmits some of the atmosphere of early 20th century Japan and makes you... Read more
Published 16 months ago by asdf
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
This book is a really good read for anyone who does martial arts or studies japan in any way. i found it very interesting. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by Robert Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars "My Way of Life" improves your Karate-Do skills!
Everybody can make kicks or punches and to think, wrongly, that is training Karate-Do... If you grasp the true spirit of Karate-Do explained in this text written by the Master... Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by Jose Pina
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read!
Being someone that does karate, this book has most certainly supplemented my practising, as it's given me a level of understanding behind the moves that I am doing and has allowed... Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by Mr. J. Rodwell
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