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on 13 January 2001
This text is essentially constituted by (1) a summary of the theories and folkloric histories of Okinawan martial arts, (2) a section on healing, both through the meridians of acupuncture and herbal concoctions, and (3) a section on the theory of combat with move illustrations and a couple of apparently traditional kata - by their translated, picturesque (like "the dragon snatches the pearls"), chinese names only.
This is all very interesting for practitioners, depending on their level of knowledge of the historical or curative sides of the art, but almost none of the information in the book is, in my humble opinion, practically applicable for such a reader. The herbal cures would be potentially deadly without expertise, the healing extracts are too fragmentary to be of any coherent use to any non-expert, such as myself, and the moves shown are only shown as individual ones - although the bunkai may enlighten, they are not ones that will instantly enhance your fighting prowess by being woven into others.
Overall, it is a very interesting book in terms of the insight provided into the internal world of gong fu, but can only really disappoint if you are looking for the 'secret master texts' of the ancients or any knowledge of vital point strikes or healing, and leave you regretting you didn't get some other book dedicated to it.
So, before getting this, consider what you want from it. As an introduction for the dojo-reared karateka, it is excellent, but as a key to perfection in karate, you may be disappointed. I would imagine this was kept by Masters not to illuminate secrets, but to encapsulate their knowledge.
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on 21 November 1999
This is undoubtedly the best translation avaidable of this important text. If you paractice karate as a means to self-defence and self-development (as opposed to sport) then this book must be a part of your study. The subjects of kyusho-jitsu and karate's grappling techniques will be of great interest to all traditional karateka and indeed all martial artists. Practicaly all of the great masters revered this book including Funakoshi, Mabuni, Yamaguchi, Matsumura, Istu etc. YOU MUST OWN A COPY OF THIS BOOK!!!
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on 18 January 2016
There are 2 version of this rather elusive document. The bubishi is regarded as the core text for any goju ryu karateka. There are two version one translated by Patric Mcarthy (this version) and is far more accessible then the one by George Alexander. This version has a heavy emphasis on interpreting the rather confusing notes in the bubishi (having to do with hearbs, and the body) where as Geaorge Alexanders version stays true to the original text, with it confusing and sometimes rambling wording. Keep in mind this is a translation of text from Okinawa when there was a ban on martial arts, it origin is likely china (brought to Okinawa by Go Kenki the tea merchant). It is thus likely that the wording has been keeps diliberatly confusing. But Patrick Mccarthy has done a stelar job of unraveling and clearing up the book.
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on 21 December 1997
Beyond the usual "how to" kick and punch manual, this first ever English translation of the Bubishi is a must for all serious martial artists. Prefaced by a comprehensive history of the origins and development of karate, this book will round out any karateka's library. Great for understanding "pressure points".
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on 31 December 1998
This is an interesting book, but one should always be aware that generally only those who like the book review it, hence the preponderance of high ratings. Mr. McCarthy is to be appluaded for attempting an English translation of this much translated book. The book comprises a translation of several disparate documents which are gathered under the title of the Bubishi. The documents are from different martial traditions and periods and vary greatly in their relevance. The lengthy preface with testimonials from multiple masters appears gratuitous. The elucidation of vital points and lethal strike information is somewhat questionable given that many martial artists no longer follow moral or ethical codes. The section on herbal remedies could easily lead to disaster in inexperienced hands, resulting in poisoning or worse. Of most interest are the historical passages on the lineage of various styles, training methods and aphorisms. Overall, satisfactory, but hardly "a must have". Osu!
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on 22 April 1999
This book is excellent for enthusiasts and practioners alike. It gives u background history of the art, description of different styles and an explanation of many of the vital points to strike. How to strike them, when to strike them and the effects. It also shows aspects of the medical applications (Katsu). Be supervised. Be safe.
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on 6 October 2007
The Bible of Karate, "Bubishi" is a good title for this book. The Bubishi must be in every true martial artist library. This particular translation has a lot of commentary by McCarthy. His translation is accurate, and his commentary is not out of line. But I prefer literal translations, with my own mind being used to interpret what was meant. (As I feel this book was originally intended). This is the second translation of the Bubishi that I have added to my library, and I consider both copies very important to my collection. I believe that martial artist can benefit by reading this book.
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on 18 January 2010
This is an interesting source on how karate undeniably developed in part from southern Kung Fu. However, this is more something to "see for yourself" than actually fully understand. Only a very small part of the book makes any sense at all and a great deal of it is an impenetrable guide to the questionable art of pressure point striking which, if anything, just goes to show how little the old masters knew about the human body and how most of their assesment of what these vital point strikes would do was based on Taoist doctrine and legend.

The fundamental rules of combat are interesting in that they sound just like modern advice from RSBD practitioners - showing that real fighting has essentially always been the same and people who know how to teach it will always start from the same basic truths.

The pictures of techniques at the end of the book are the most famous bit because they are used by many to show that kata (pattern) techniques are actually a range of close range grappling and striking manoevers other than the basic block/strike functions that we are taught. Whilst this is true, the pictures reveal little because often they show the move just after it has been executed or mid-way through the technique. This makes the movements hard to understand and in many cases it just looks like they are dancing around each other in funny postures (clearly the technique has been executed and these are the resulting positions - but there is no clue what the technique was) The author gives us his own interpretation but this is exactly that - just an interpretation. The names also claoud the techniques so that often we have no idea what is being shown.

So for Bunkai practitioners this is useful to see but doesn't really get us anywhere except finding out the "flavour" of White Crane influenced Karate at this time (realistic, brutal, chock full of throws and takedowns - including several single/double leg shoot techniques of the BJJ variety).

However, much of the evidence shows that Funikoshi's karate is not so much of an exaggeration since most of the attacking tools are shown (knife hand, reverse knife hand, fingertip strikes and so on) and one picture even shows a punch being blocked with middle outer forearm block (please excuse my Taekwondo terminology) - the very technique that was so rubbish and slow that it convinced me that there must be other interpretations for that movement.

It's an interesting book but it won't take you a quantum leap forward in your understanding and you won't get anything from your training from it. What can I say, it's a historical source but nowadays not much more.

In fact, I suspect this was never designed as a "teaching manual". It was only ever a collection of what the masters already knew. The real "text book" (or instructional DVD to use Gavin Mulholland's words) of the time was the kata and the wisdom of a good instructor.
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on 22 October 1998
After reading several texts on the historical aspects of Karate, I must admit that this book is very much over hyped. A book of several distinct sections, covering history, some pretty anatomical diagrams and a bit of herbal medicine? What exactly is McCarthy trying to say? Buy a book on history, buy a book on anatomy or try prodding your neighbour, even approach a herbalist but do not try to merge all of these into one book with no link. The original Bubishi, if there is such a book, I would imagine that there a several texts of various origins that have been passed down through generations offering teachings and each will have it's own message. This book claims to be a translation of THE BUBISHI. I very much doubt that this is anything other than a collection of gubbings from various sources!
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on 20 November 2000
This being one of the first books I've bought I found it all a little much to take in.Practicioners of martial arts may be mis-lead into thinking having an intrest in the subject means picking up a book and everything becomes clear.This probably couldn't be further from the truth.This book in particular is complex,and what I mean by "will get better", is that having read a few other books about the arts, went back to this one and appreciated much more.To me the outstanding feature is the amount of research involved by the translator,and indeed the foreward is testamont to his efforts by people who's opinion mean much more than mine
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