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on 20 December 2010
As soon as I knew Shihan Yokota had written a book, I wanted to get it. I had previously seen his articles in Shotokan Karate Magazine and knew that he was a man of great insight and honesty. Much of what we are taught in the Karate world defies logic, yet has been passed down to us as "lore" by our Japanese masters. However, Shihan Yokota is sincere in wanting to expose the truth. This book explains how things have been change from their original meanings for social or political reasons; or just to make judging competitions more easy. Yet these changes of convenience are then passed on as having always been the way!
Shihan Yokota also exposes how many things are portrayed as being secret knowledge or mysterious, when in his view, even many senior Japanese instructors either just don't know, or can't be bothered to tell us.
Well the truths are exposed in this book. With the rise of "reality based" martial arts and MMA, Shihan Yokota is concerned that if the art of Shotokan which he is so passionate about is not taught properly and honestly it will become obsolete. This book is aimed at Westerners to tell us what many other Japanese masters can't or won't.
This is a must read book for anybody interested in truly understanding Karate.
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on 6 April 2011
Excellent book that explores some aspects of karate that may be missed by the casual or lower level participant as well as covering some core topics the highers grades should be thinking about.
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on 30 November 2014
I have given this 3 stars as it appeared to be poorly researched in places. For example, the sum of the author's research (apart from speaking to his instructors or peers) will often be "I looked this up on Wikipedia...". which doesn't engender much confidence. I also agree with what a previous reviewer said that this could have benefited from proofreading. That said, as an experienced karate practitioner, the author's hypotheses on the evolution of Shotokan are interesting. However, they are just that. Without solid research (and reference material) this book falls down. For a well researched and well written book on shotokan (and early karate) I would recommend "Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind Karate's Fighting Origins" by Bruce Clayton.
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on 15 May 2015
I enjoyed this book as it helped me to understand how Shotokan has developed over the years and clarified it's beginnings through Funakoshi Sensei. Sensei Yokota has a unique style of writing as some have mentioned, but, if you understand Karate, you'll have no problems with the book. I've also read Shotokan Mysteries and apart from finding ansers to many of the questions I previously had, I now have even more questions. Undoubtedly an important resource for Shotokan practitioners.
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on 29 June 2014
An Insightful good read, well yjought through and i would recommend to any serious Budoka. Gives some good insight and thought provoking. Will assist within every day practice regardless of system. Well researched and i enjoyed the insight given to the practical and historical explanations.
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on 25 July 2013
I haven't finished this book as yet but so far three quarters way through its an interesting read. It doesn't really treat some of the things we do in Karate as myths, but it makes you think about them. Worth areas if you practise Karate.
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on 4 March 2013
This book was not as good as I expected it would be. This is probably due to the style in which it has been written. It certainly provides food for thought.
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on 24 July 2014
An interesting read from a karate master discussing some "mysteries" of Shotokan karate. For example, he looks at how karate evolved; why we only ki-ai twice in a kata; why hangetsu is a unique kata. Fascinating but let down partly by the style and partly by the proofing. Yokota is too "apologetic" - he almost feels ashamed to be disagreeing with his teachers. It reads like it has been machine-translated and needs proper proofing.
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on 3 January 2015
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