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Hidden Karate: The True Bunkai For Heian Katas And Naihanchi Hardcover – 15 Sep 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Champ; 1st edition (15 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4902481960
  • ISBN-13: 978-4902481969
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 19.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,393,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Great book. The author makes the point (amongst many others) that there is a huge chunk of the karate syllabus missing!
He then compares it with judo which has a more structured approach. i.e Practise some techniques with a partner (this is the meaning of judo kata) then try your hand at free practise.
This is not rocket science. Why or why have so many westerners (I include myself) been bamboozled by the doing karate kata alone! Didn't know what we were doing and could not apply it. It's crazy and we never questioned our Japanese instructors. Groan.
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Format: Hardcover
This book, without a doubt should be in any serious karate-ka library.
If you study karate, regardless of style and have a great interest in Kata & Bunkai, then Hidden Karate is for you.
Although not cheap, (got mine of ebay) Hidden Karate is well worth the money and i doubt whoever buys this book will not be disapointed.
One may not agree with all the Bunkai shown here, however, Hidden Karate will open your eyes and give you a new approach to explore in your training.
A great, well written & fine Bunkai book, the best i have seen or read. A huge credit to the author.
All the best,
Jason Lester
England Karate Association
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One may not agree with all the bunkai, but the way Sensei Gennosuke presents the material will help most karate-ka understand what we have often not be taught in class. I think the crucial aspect of this book is not so much the bunkai that he tries to explain, but what he has called the "oral instruction" - these are the keys for interpreting the katas we have been taught. Go through his bunkai examples, one may not agree with some as they can be quite complicated (perhaps too complicated, some would argue!) but see them as examples of how to use the "oral instruction" to interpret the kata. For me, this was the key, not so much the bunkai.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adds new dimension to our view of kata 11 Aug. 2009
By Jalf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From the reviews of previous people, I thought this would be the definitive book on bunkai for the kata listed for the book. However, it is not. What it does do is get to you to see the kata in a much different way. I no longer see katas as showing how to fight, but allow the practioner to remember techniques taught to them and how those techniques may be put together. Now whenever I see a turn in kata, I instead see a throw, a sweep, a reap, or a trip. When I see a knife hand block/strike I remember the various ways a knife hand is used. When I see blocks I begin to see the various locks that were taught to me. Etc, etc, etc. As the book mentions once or twice, bunkai for the katas are endless. Instead of saying the book is the true bunkai, it is better to say that it is the part of the original bunkai taught to him by one of the last of Gichin Funakoshi's top students (as reported in the book --- I'm not going to check up on his historical information). As the author states himself, the bunkai he learned was not taught to him except in a painful excersize that made him realize the bunkai for himself. If you were never taught (or never learned properly) joint locks or throws, this book and katas in general will be utterly useless to you except as a healthy excersize. The application of punches, blocks, and kicks are obvious. However, joint locks and throws requires (as Judo perfectly states) Breaking Their Balance, Fitting In, Executing the Technique. The hidden techniques are all the techniques that are not punches, blocks, and kicks. The kata (as seems to be indicated by the book) gives you a way to remember/apply those "hidden techniques".

1/4th of the book is a thesis that tries to convince you that the bunkai for the kata in karate has been taught incorrectly for the past 80 years. While 1/4th of the book seems a stupidly large amount of space to devote, I believe he is justified.

With that said, the rest of the book gives excellent pictures to explain the bunkai for the katas; bunkai which looks to be applied very well with kumite; which is what you are looking for, practical application for your katas.

Previously I state that this is not the definitive book on bunkai. I say this because the author doesn't have the space to make it so and you probably wouldn't have the funds to buy such a book. This will not be your last book on bunkai, but it will most definitely be your "first book" on bunkai.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand Kata and Bunkai then get this book! 7 July 2007
By David Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I took karate 30 years ago and learned the kata as instructed in my dojo. Why? "Because if you wanted your belt, you need to know the kata" Like the author states it was viewed by all of us as little more than a series of exercises we did as preliminary to get to the "real karate". It never occurred to us that maybe kata was a useful fighting tool, and even less so that perhaps our masters did not even themselves realize the value of the kata!
Three cheers to Gennosuke Higaki for writing this book and sharing his knowledge and insight to the true meaning and use of katas and how to unravel the hidden techniques of the ancient masters!
After you read this book you will never look at kata the same way again. Already when practicing and repracticing kata I see things I never noticed before.
If you only buy one book on kata and bunkai, get this one!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best book on bunkai for shotokan 12 May 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book which is both complete and believable about bunkai of the Shotokan Kata.

Most books on bunkai include a couple applications, some nice, some rather doubtful. In this case, each and every application of the kata is believable and practical.

A curious fact: Gennosuke Higaki is the name of the villain in the movie Sanshiro Sugata, about the early days of Judo.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This One Is It ! 19 May 2007
By paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Get it ! Enjoy it !

And ask your trainer to change his sport oriented Karate curriculum to something baking that bunkai into your muscle memory !

Many thanks to the author for sharing his knowledge so generously with us - Gennosuke Higaki is, to mention, a psyeudonym choosen by the author BECAUSE it is the name of a villain in the movie "Sanshiro Sugata", it is not his name.
5.0 out of 5 stars A new gold standard in bunkai and oyo! 30 Oct. 2013
By Frank Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having studied karate, hand-to-hand fighting, and other martial arts off and on for over 20 years I have felt that there was more to kata than repeatedly being told they were collections of techniques to practice so we wouldnt forget like a book of knowledge with each technique standing alone. Like many great novels there is always more to the story and Sensei Higaki provides the keys to unlock at a threshold of far less pain!

The first part of the book includes guidelines and a completely new way of looking at kata and as you begin to internalize this information the katas begin to unfold and truely reveal themselves. You begin to see the other techinques spring to life; you see that each technique can be taken individualy but more importantly is part of a sequence in a dance that has unlimited steps. The book does give you techniques and how to apply them but this is only to help open your mind so you to can see what there is to see. Its not about learning an infinite number of techniques but more of applying the ones we do know and learning other to use in the framework of the kata.

I'm currently in a school that applies some of the principles taught in this excellent book but my senseis and fellow students wonder where I come up with so many different things. Its because I have been blessed with finding this tome.

The translation to English does have some problems with gramatical errors and repeated words but is better than many other books published these days. I would recomend this book for intermidiate to advanced martial artist and would reccomend to any karate instructor to include the information in classes for beginners on up.
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