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Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters: Volume 1: Shuri-te and Shorin-ryu Paperback – 24 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (24 Aug 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1478188634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478188636
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No Idea about this as it was bought as a gift for someone. But he is very heavily into Martial arts of all types and seemed very pleased with it. In fact I don't think he put it down a Xmas.
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Its OK but more of a collection of available information from various internet sites rather than the authors own actual research notes.

Some of the pictures are mislabelled with incorrect names of the persons pictured and if the researcher had doubled checked some of the info, numerous bits are outdated as new info has become available.

Again, could have done with a wider reference to the various influential Shorin Ryu / Shuri Te styles rather than a chosen few.

What was disappointing is that Tomarite was linked into this book, the author could have separated this and produced antoher book on this alone with the amount of available information out there.

A good effort though and useful for those starting out in their research into Okinawan Karate, not so useful for those already learned in Okinawan Karate History.
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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Useful companion for karate history researchers 17 Nov 2012
By Desmond J. Paroz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are relatively few books that have a detailed history of Okinawan karate in general (as opposed to one specific ryuha), and this author has made a big effort to research the detail of the Shuri-te lineage, from which styles like Shorinjiryu, Shorinryu, Shotokan, Wadoryu and others are descended.

The history of Okinawan karate is somewhat of a complicated affair with much of the history lost in lost records, the minefield of oral transmission and the legends that grow quickly in the Okinawan culture where ancestors (familial and lineage) are held in very high esteem. The author has done an impressive job of researching this often confusing history, and has put together the story in a way that is accessible to karateka wanting to learn more about the origins of their art. Its well written.

My only complaint is that some incorrect historical accounts or mistranslations have been perpetuated. For example, the master Asato Anko is referred to by the Japanese (mis)-pronunciation of his name Azato Yasutsune (instead of Azato Anko).

So the reader will need to recognise that this book (as with most) is not a definitive and perfect source in and of itself. With that said, it is a valuable reference that is highly recommended as a part of a karate researcher's reference library.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By William R. Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mr. Clarke is well-known as an excellent researcher of and writer on the martial culture of Okinawa, which is why I was more than surprised to discover a number of inaccuracies, and easily reconciled inconsistencies in Volume 1 of his otherwise excellent 2-volume set: Okinawan Karate: A History of Styles and Masters. My personal background extends to more than 53 years of training, with a number of those years spent living and training on Okinawa during three tours of duty there as an active duty U. S. Marine (as well as having spent two tours of duty in mainland Japan, during which I took frequent weekend "hops" to Okinawa for additional training). Like other reviewers I too question the accuracy of some of the supporting documents relied upon in several of the "notes" sections following overviews of certain karate personalities. To the author's credit, in several instances he seems to have made the best use of a number of poor referenced documents/interviews, etc. However, in other instances he appears to have arrived at conclusions unfair to those he writes about. My point is not that every Master featured in this work should be viewed as a martial arts saint, but, rather, that they be portrayed fairly - that conclusions be based on sound, consistent, evidence. If an issue cannot be reconciled then it should either be omitted or the writer might wish to allow the reader to reach his/her own conclusions. It was especially surprising to note that at least one of the personages termed "controversial" is not only still alive on Okinawa but is well known on the island and easily located in Ginoza Village on the upper east coast of Okinawa. Perhaps he would have appreciated the simple courtesy of addressing any "controversies" prior to the book's publication.

Nevertheless, both Volume 1 and Volume 2 belong in the libraries of those who study the martial culture of Okinawa.


Bill Hayes
Maj., USMC (Ret.)
Director, Shobayashi-Kan
A compilation of web sources 4 Sep 2014
By Mark W. Swarthout - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was underwhelmed. The majority of the information could be culled from the internet, which forms the majority of the references, typically one main website for each section, with a few other ones and heavy reliance on Mark Bishop's book. Even Wikipedia and YouTube are used as references. The formatting is not great, and no index is provided, so as a reference book it is not very useful, which would be the biggest value of having the info provided in a single place. Many pictures, again, few seem to be different from those already provided in other sources. Having looked at about half the book, I haven't found a great deal of additional or new information. I won't order any of the others in the series.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not bad, but a lot of what I've read 10 Jun 2013
By Ebureto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As compilations on styles and masters of Okinawan go, it's alright. The author was able to go into more detail on certain lineages as this volume was focused solely on the Shuri/Tomari-derived styles. There were some nice photos I hadn't seen before. Some obvious cut-and-paste work in some sections was disappointing and information on my own tradition was handled in a somewhat dismissive manner. References and citations abound, appropriate in a good meta analysis, but I have to wonder about some... mainly because my own website was cited twice, and it is by no means meant as an authoritative scholarly treatise but rather a source of basic generally-agreed-upon (from various un-cited sources) information for students and interested association members. That being said, I will likely buy volume two when it is published. I would say that if you don't already have books by such people as Mark Bishop, John Sells, Hokama Tetsuhiro, etc. and have not been an avid internet karate hound, this would be of more use to you.
martial arts history 9 Jun 2014
By Mike Addison-Saipe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In order to see further sometimes you must stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before! This is an excellent example of what can be achieved with some good research.All karateka should consider this and volume 2 for their reading/study and their library.(If you are a karateka and do not yet have a library……Start NOW !! This is the book to begin with.)
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