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4.7 out of 5 stars20
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 January 2002
My wife bought me this book for Christmas after I said that I enjoyed the author's magazine articles (subtle hint or what!).
I found the book to be a very interesting look at a largely ignored aspect of karate. The book is fairly easy to follow and includes many photographs per technique. Each chapter begins by showing examples of each grappling method (e.g. throws) before giving a more detailed explanation of the kata's techniques and their variations. The book has a number of interesting propositions that I haven't seen explored in other books. The book not only shows the grappling techniques that are recorded in the kata, but also variations based upon the same principles. This leads to number of ground fighting kata adaptations, which I found to be a unique and very interesting idea.
The book also revolves around the application of the kata's methods in a self-defence situation. There are instructions on the dangers and strengths associated with each method and there is an entire chapter that advises on the use of grappling techniques in the real world (Geoff Thompson's foreword is very complimentary in this regard). Most interesting for me was the guidance on how the kata's techniques can be included in sparring. Again, I thought this part of the book was fairly unique, as I have never seen suggested elsewhere that kata techniques must be practised live if we are going to be able to use them in a real fight. The book also suggests a number of progressive sparring drills... However, you can't help but suspect that many "traditionalists" won't care for some of the positions taken! (Some of the people at my club said that they felt grappling etc. had nothing to do with karate!) This is a great shame as the essential message of the book is that Karate is a good and highly potent system of fighting that covers all ranges (a real rarity nowadays). The author also uses quotations for the works of Funakoshi, Otsuka, Itsou, Miyagi etc. to justify the positions taken by the book. But I still suspect that the book's contents will make many a close minded karateka "uncomfortable"
My only disappointment with the book was that it doesn't go into as much historical and conceptual detail as his articles in Combat magazine and on the guest writers' section of Geoff Thompson's web site. But the book does contain a lot of information, and I suppose there is only so much room.
Overall, I was very impressed by this unique book and it certainly helped me to re-evaluate my view on kata and my approach to training. This book really is a must have for all those who feel that there karate is missing "something" when it comes to its real world application.
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on 18 May 2001
A very interesting and informative book on the practical side of karate. Karate's Grappling Methods uncovers a mass of effective techniques within all styles of karate. Many aspects of real fighting are discussed and simple, effective techniques are clearly explained and illustrated. The author includes hook punches, throws, ground fighting, chokes, arm bars and pressure points to name but a few and whats more is the delightful way in which it is all related back directly to the techniques and principles found in karate kata! Through work like this karate can truely be rediscovered as the deadly system that it is. Whether beginner or black belt there is something for us all to learn in this 'enlightening' book.
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on 18 September 2005
This is an outstanding tome which illuminates grappling, an all too often forgotten aspect of karate. These methods are frequently not practiced in many dojos simply because practitioners do not realize that they even exist within their system. On the street, however, karateka may face grapplers, boxers, and practitioners of a whole plethora of styles. The good news is that we have all the tools necessary to survive or triumph in any violent encounter, be it standing up or on the ground.

In an art which has become overly focused on striking and kicking by many practitioners, this outstanding text will help you to practice the way it was meant to be--as an effective, holistic, and complete fighting system. It is well illustrated, easy to understand, practical, and very insightful. The author not only describes how grappling methods were recorded in karate kata and demonstrates a wide assortment of techniques, but he also describes the principles that make them effective in real-life fighting situations.

Subjects covered include understanding the role of grappling in self-defense, kata and bunkai (applications), close range strikes, throws and takedowns, ground fighting, chokes and strangles, arm bars, leg and ankle locks, neck twists, finger locks, wrist locks, and combinations. Dirty fighting and grappling drills are also covered. As you can see this is an outstanding and holistic treatise on the subject.

Lawrence Kane

Author of Surviving Armed Assaults, The Way of Kata, and Martial Arts Instruction
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on 30 October 2000
This must be one of the best books on karate that I have read in a long time! The book gives many examples of the various methods from within the katas and shows how they can be used in many different situations. I have trained in karate for years and all I ever learnt was how to kick, punch and block. This book really opened my eyes to what karate has to offer and I now understand why the masters of old went on about how kata was so important. This is the first karate book I have seen that contains such a wide range of close range methods (including ground fighting). The techniques are easy to follow and the many pictures are very clear. The emphasis throughout the book remains firmly on the realistic (Geoff Thompson wrote the foreword). There is also a good section on various drills that can be employed to ensure that effective combat skills are developed such that the reader can use the methods within the katas in a real fight. My only reservation would be that the book may not be suitable for younger martial artists (under 16's) due to the realistic nature of its contents - there are referances to simple but highly potent methods such as seizing the testicals etc. But for adults who want to learn how to use their katas in a real situation then this book is a must!
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This book shows the student Karate has not got limitations. Showing, indepth, karate's grappling methods, and with a detailed and useful explaiation of the techniques. Iain Abernethy shows a hige knowledge of Karate and its philosophies/theories as applied to REAL combat in todays society. All the techniques are street real, and applied to Combat use. His writing discusses karate and reality, and his advice it excellent. Get it!
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on 5 September 2005
If you practice karate at all at any level, buy this book. It's that simple.
Abernethy shows how shallow typical competition karate has become. This book will probably change how you look at the kata you are practicing, give you invaluable tools to analyse the meaning of the movements and completely change how you practice.
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on 10 July 2002
If you've found yourself just "going through the moves" in your kata then this book will help you to understand how to bring them to life. I found this book fascinating and would recommmend it to anyone learning the art of karate.
The author closely observes the traditional values of karate in the book and responsibly puts the use of some very dangerous techniques into context with the real world. The book also contains some excellent advice on self-defense.
I have only given four stars because the book largely relies on sets of a few small black and white photographs to convey how the techniques should be carried out. I must admit that I found some of these hard to interpret.
Overall, a very good book which has brought a new level of understanding to my kata.
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on 8 October 2007
Finally!! a book that describes the true nature of Karate bunkai. At first glance this can be seen as a book primarily for grappling but dont be fooled. It shows BUNKAI, devestating, applicable bunkai. Although concentrating on the grappling bunkai found in various katas, it also shows the most effective strikes for street self defence and how to combine the grappling and striking found in Kata. The grappling is tailored for the streets, not for MMA style fights, so if thats what youre looking for, look elsewhere. A well written chapter of the book also explains the correct way to practice kata, from learning the simple movements, finding the bunkai and learning how to apply them in sparring style situations. A great book from a great author!!
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on 29 April 2011
I have been learning Karate only for a relatively short period of time. However, one of the first things I noticed was how little grapples, throws, take-downs and locks are practised. I therefore took the view (as probably many others do) that Karate is a striking as opposed to grappling style. I was wrong (as are many others). This book perfectly illustrates how many grappling, throwing and locking techniques are found in the very kata's which are practised in dojo's across the world on a daily basis. It becomes apparent from reading the book that modern-day karate practitioners somehow overlook or omit to include these techniques in every-day training. This is a great shame to the art and those who practice it. The other thing the book perfectly illustrates is how a real fight is a "sloppy affair" and it is easy to think that a simple punch or kick will do the trick. This book prepares the karate student for a real scenario by putting it in no uncertain terms that, often, what appears to work in a dojo will not work in a real fight. If you want to broaden your karate practice to understand how it may be applied in a real fight situation, this is a perfect book to buy. Iain Abernethy is renound, even if perhaps controversially, for taking karate back to its roots as being a combat form that is as good close-range as it is medium to long-range. I gave this book four stars because the only way in which I think it could be improved is how it describes doing the techniques (many of which are quite complicated). The diagrams are good, but the descriptions often have to be read several times to get a grasp of how they work. Obviously a training partner comes in handy when it comes to working on this kind of "fighting". Particularly when it comes to wrist, arm and leg locks, a good description counts all the more as these techniques are hard to pull off and you can't afford to get them wrong in a real-life situation.
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on 21 August 2002
An excellent find as I browsed through the Amazon Martial arts section. A book that made me think about what I was doing and teaching on my dojo. Also a book that lays bare some of the myths that Japanese Sensai rarely allow you to see and never explain. Good photographs and clear narrative make the book very user friendly.
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