The rather strange thing about Karate is that you can have someone who has practiced the art for years, even decades in fact with a high dan grade to match. But, in truth they have gained little understanding of the art at all, which is quite sad to see really. When in reality all they have to show for their valuable time spent is numbers in years and in grades. Then on the contrary you can have another who has only trained in Karate for say five years or so, but both their physical and mental attributes as far as Budo goes are nothing less than admirable to the point of exceeding the level of the former. Strange but true.
So why is this and which path would you rather walk?? Because let’s be honest here this is a Budo lesson that is better learned sooner rather than later or never at all.
The answer is threefold; Quality Guidance – Regular Practice – Self-Study & Discoveries. Yes! All is quite a simple formula really. The thing though is this: as a serious Karate Ka you really do need to seek out quality guidance and tap into the hundreds of years of Karate’s ongoing research and development, then combine this with regular in Dojo practice and study. As I’ve mentioned often before, a lot of the trial and error has already been done for you when it comes to Karate, so you don’t need to waste years trying to reinvent the wheel at all. Of course there is more to Karate than just this, and there will always be those that will follow this formula and those who will not, that’s Karate. But as the sayings go; you will only get out of Karate what you put into it, and that talk is cheap too…
I am often asked by both students and others of inspiring reading material when it comes to Karate. This being the case, I have put together a brief list of some of my favourite reads over the years, in no particular order and most of these I’ve read a number of times over. Even though all or most of these author Karate Ka have followed different paths and ways or styles of training etc, they are all dedicated Karate Ka or Sensei who lead from the front when it comes to Karate practice. In that they do (or did if deceased) train in Karate first and talk about it secondly. Also, the writings here are all written from their own training experiences in an autobiography kind of way, therefore you really do get a deep feeling and understanding of things so that you actually feel as though you are learning these lessons alongside them too. For them to share these experiences with us is a honor.
I do need to add though that there are many exceptional Karate Ka out there who have never written an article, book, or sought any fame for the Karate that they practice, my own Sensei included. This of which must also be deeply admired as I’m the biggest fan of the quite man of Budo for sure…
Gichin Funakoshi – Karate Do My Way of Life
CW Nicol – Moving Zen
Rick Jackson – Karate the Japanese Way – FAI 33-35 (Photo Above Rick Jackson Sensei with myself).
Michael Clarke – Roaring Silence / Redemption & Small Steps Forward
Scott Langley – Karate Stupid & Karate Clever
Anthony Miracian -The Golden Age of Okinawan Karate – FAI / Lex Oxdhams in Goju Ryu Meibukan
Dave Hazzard – Born Fighter
Garry Parker – Chanpuru
James Lilley – Mr Miyagi & Me
Joel Reeves – The Karate Ka
Garry Lever – Karate Parting The Clouds With Empty Hands