This book details the moves and applications from the 2 kata, in the authors supposition, that the Hiean, or peaceful mind Kata are derived from. The book itself is quite a high quality production, but is of the smaller paperback type format, however this does mean that it sits quite nicely on the bookshelf. The Photo's are nice and clear. The treatment of the kata is thorough, carefully going through each move, with a full visual overview of the moves in each kata at the back of the book. This book may be of interest to those researching the history of Karate or Kata, and their development. The author is careful to present his ideas in an academic way, which leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions at the end of the book. What is clear is that these kata are definitely 'a version' of the kata known as Heian in Shotokan, or Pinan in Wadoryu. I thought that some of the bunkai looked a bit 'fiddly' for my liking and might be difficult to apply in real fight. Although, they do reflect the movements of the kata throughout. These type of applications may suit those who have a flow drill approach to practising kata with a compliant partner. Although I'm not sure that some techniques would withstand pressure testing. What I found interesting was the different presentation of individual techniques, such as morote uke as an open handed augmented block, which I feel has been made safe and tidied up in shotokan to a closed fist. An interesting book to study for advanced students and teachers. However, I did feel that this was overpriced and overhyped, I was expecting a nice big 'tome' to put on my book shelf for the £, so hence 3 stars.
Elmar Schmeisser explores the possibility of the modern day Heian Kata's as derived from the Chinese kata Channan-Dai and Channan-Sho that he believes are the root kata that (Anko) Itosu Yasutsune used as the source material to create the 5 Pinan kata (known as Heian in Japanese styles).
The author makes no definitive claim that his studies are absolute, but presents his research in a sound historical manner leaving the reader to make his or her own decision regarding the origins of the Heian kata based on the research presented. The book is loaded with simple-to-follow, step-by-step, photos of Channan-Dai and Channan-Sho and accompanying text for each step.
In a simple and straight forward way, the author clearly illustrates apparent or perceived correlations between the Channan kata and the modern day Heian Kata's. An added plus in this book is the way it is laid out; the book is designed in such a way that keeps the reader flowing seamlessly from one photographic illustration to another.
This is a fantastic work and I believe it will be greatly appreciated by anyone who enjoys the study of traditional Japanese kata, bunkai, and kata origins.