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The Heart of Karate-do [Paperback]

Shigeru Egami
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2000
Karate, which has come to be regarded by the public as nothing more than a spectacular, high-kicking style of fighting-with homicide as the objective-has meaning far beyond this superficial interpretation. As a method of self-defense, karate has few equals, yet despite its great popularity, the essence of the art has been poorly grasped by many of its practitioners.
Ancient in origin, the martial arts of the East have always had the development of man's spiritual, as well as physical, nature at their core. Karate-do, the "Way of Karate," is no different from the other martial arts in this respect.
Animals are not muscle-bound; why should a man be? Pliancy and flexibility are natural characteristics of the human body; rigidity is the mark of death. Beginning with the warming-up exercises-neglected in earlier karate books-and continuing with the fundamental stances and techniques, the student can learn to preserve that pliancy and flexibility and at the same time develop his natural strength, agility and coordination.
From the method presented in this book, the beginner can understand what it means to be calm of spirit but quick of mind. While actualizing the basic skills that lead to the confidence necessary to face any adversary, he will also develop the discipline that checks the misuse of such skills.
More advanced students, also, will find much of value here, for the author's practice of karate spans more than four decades, and he assesses both the changes in ways of training and in the way of thinking-as well as the significance of these changes. He shows the path leading to strengthening of body and mind and, thus, to harmony of mind and body.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770024770
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770024770
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 18.1 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,435,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Karate training and practice begin with warming-up exercises. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Synopsis Only! 25 April 2008
Format:Paperback
Karate, which has come to be regarded by the public as nothing more than a spectacular, high-kicking style of fighting-with homicide as the objective-has meaning far beyond this superficial interpretation.

As a method of self-defence, karate has few equals, yet despite its great popularity, the essence of the art has been poorly grasped by many of its practitioners. Ancient in origin, the martial arts of the East have always had the development of man's spiritual, as well as physical, nature at their core. Karate-do, the "Way of Karate," is no different from the other martial arts in this respect.

Animals are not muscle-bound; why should a man be? Pliancy and flexibility are natural characteristics of the human body; rigidity is the mark of death. Beginning with the warming-up exercises-neglected in earlier karate books-and continuing with the fundamental stances and techniques, the student can learn to preserve that pliancy and flexibility and at the same time develop his natural strength, agility and coordination.

From the method presented in this book, the beginner can understand what it means to be calm of spirit but quick of mind. While actualizing the basic skills that lead to the confidence necessary to face any adversary, he will also develop the discipline that checks the misuse of such skills.

More advanced students, also, will find much of value here, for the author's practice of karate spans more than four decades, and he assesses both the changes in ways of training and in the way of thinking-as well as the significance of these changes. He shows the path leading to strengthening of body and mind and, thus, to harmony of mind and body.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shotokai Master Text 29 Dec 2001
Format:Paperback
Shigeru Egami was president and chief instructor of the Japan Shotokai. Born in 1912 in Fukuoka, he began practicing karatedo while a student at Waseda University, whose karate club he helped to establish. After the Second World War he studied under Master Funakoshi and assited him in teaching. This is a revised edition of "The way of Karate beyond technique" published by Kodansha in 1976. A translation of the japanese edition "Shin Karatedo". An excellent Shotokai Master Text. Old pictures has showed in some chapters.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars valuable 21 Feb 2002
Format:Paperback
I strongly recommend this book, which is written by a real karateka. It let you understand the real spirit of Karate and why it was the deadliest of art. I have to say this as now the emphasis is given on agonistic performance and not caring about what you can and you must achieve from Karate. If you saw too many movies of Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris then you need to read this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Karate Do 22 Jun 2000
By Kevin Meisner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has been out of print for some time and now it's back! It is one of my favorite books about karate, written by a man who studied directly from Gichin Funakoshi. Originally published at The Way of Karate: Beyond Technique, this book will guide karate practitioners to another side of karate, a softer, more powerful, and more spiritual side as described by one of the pre-JKA pioneers, Shoto Kai Master Shigeru Egami. This book provided insight and helped me improve my karate (I have trained in Wado Ryu for over 20 years). The book also has historical significance in that it provides a window into the understanding of a man who trained with Funakoshi and went on to make his own discoveries.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only ONE problem: Why replace the photos? 8 Oct 2002
By Jozev - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is no doubt a true classic in the traditional Karate world, which I should find no reason not giving it full marks. So where is that missing star?
The problem came with this 'Revised Edition'. I was so surprised when I received it, finding out that they'd replaced all the demonstration photos from the older version. What a dumb move. The quality of the new photos might be a little bit better, but the new demonstrators are simply not on par with the ones in the original version.
My advice: If you can afford the $ and time, hunt down an out-of-print copy of the original version instead.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Japanese Karate had No High Kicks? 31 Oct 2001
By C. J. Hardman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Think again! But for the pioneering spirit of Shigeru Egami...Egami pioneered certain flexability and strength exercises that are demonstrated in this book. Included are several kicking exercises which are similar or identical to many done by Korean and Chinese stylists, like the jump split kick, jump double front kick (both feet out at the same time), and so on. Also many jumping and flexing exercises. If you are familiar with the martial art of Shintaido, founded by Horoyuki Aoki, you will note many similarities, for Aoki, a disciple of Egami's, encorporated many of Egami's flexibility training ideas and techniques directly into Shintaido, making them the foundation of the art and doing away with much of the ridgidity that had taken over Shotokan since Funakoshi. Egami was an accomplished karate man, unafraid to innovate, experiment, and include new helpful training methods. Advanced "hard" stylists should enjoy this book, especially Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Sh'to-ryu, Kyokushinkai. Egami is seen in some circles as the "Tohei of Shotokan", innovating and changing karate in a manner similar to the way Koichi Tohei changed Aikido.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very inspiring book 24 Mar 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was eager to read this book. I have read virtually all articles by and about master Egami on the Internet, for I admire his idealistic view of karate do, and his struggle to turn it into a way to make oneself a better person.

Master Egami found that the karate he had been training was somehow misdirected. Not Funakoshi's fault, though. I kept wondering why Funakoshi students did their techniques differently than Funakoshi, and I finally concluded that it was the kumite practice.

While Funakoshi's main teaching devices where punching the makiwara and kata, his students wanted to learn how to fight and therefore included sparring in their curricula, but did this privately for Master Funakoshi wouldn't like it (there are many examples of Funakoshi being upset when he heard about sparring training). Most of the technique deviations from master Funakoshi's teachings came from senior students who practiced sparring and developed their own training regimes. This was the karate Egami practiced for a long while.

What I wonder is why master Funakoshi didn't do anything to stop this, like not granting the senior students their black belts. In any case, Egami trained and mastered a karate full of force and contraction which, for a young man, could be really effective.

Why, then, would he change the way he practiced and understood karate?

Egami's awful experience at Nakano base where he had to train soldiers left marks. He felt karate was but the art of homicide, and that he was training murderers (which indeed he did while at Nakano). That must have hurt, because I think of Master Egami as a nice person. Therefore, he tried to change the karate he had learnt into something else, not to oppose but to cooperate; not to move against but to move with your oponent; to react to your opponent as if you were parts of something bigger. Some sort of coordination and harmony (the 'ai' in 'Aikido' and in 'Deai').

This idea permeated the way of striking and of blocking. This idea is related to concepts such of rythm, timing and distance.

Furthermore, Master Egami became ill many times throughout his life, and had to approach karate training very differently than the way he trained when he was young, without force and without contraction of the body, and that is how he discovered a new way to strike (which, in my opinion, is the traditional way, that is, the way of Okinawa).

Therefore, by making his techniques more relaxed and blending the concepts of rythm, timing and distance into the techniques, Egami acquiered a very effective yet apparently light tsuki.

Tsuki = relaxation + breathing + rythm + timing + distance. That is the new way of striking. This is the way of striking that needed a new approach to blocking. Not just the way to form a fist, or the stances (which he also changed). The rest is history.

Another thing that influenced Master Egami's karate was his spiritual quest, which gave birth to the Rakutenkai (which, in turn, gave birth to Shintaido). There are many references to ki and esoteric stuf like the kata in Appendix II. I think that his experience in WWII must have been devastating.

In my humble opinion, The heart of karate do is not a book to learn techniques (eventhough it includes nice pictures and descriptions of the basic stances and striking, blocking and kicking techniques, no to mention the warm up excercises). It is, on the other hand, a very inspiring book.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Egami Karate no more 12 Dec 2001
By beniten - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is very famous in Japan that Egami looked for soft and smooth Karate in Aikido or Shinei dai do.
His techniques are not like Karate we imagine. How to make fist is very different from other Karate because Egami way is very good to give a blow to human beings, not good for a brick or a board.
A kind of meditation, "A" and "Un", seems funny. Egami was studying hidden Japanese ascetic exercises. So I guess the meditation came from one of the exercises.
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