November 2022 Book Survey Part 4

 Welcome to the November 2022 book survey, part four. I decided to break this month's survey into four posts. Part one is here. Part two is here. Part three is here.


In November 2022, I (Richard) continued my reading plan. The major theme for this month is American Kenpo Karate, with Okinawan karate as a sub-theme. I've practiced both, so I'm a sympathetic reader. This post focuses on a five books on karate.

Tonfa: Karate Weapon of Self-Defense, Fumio Demura, 1982

I bought my copy of Tonfa in August 1995, according to the note I wrote on the first page. My version is a 6 inches by 9 inches black and white paperback with 142 pages. You can download a digital edition for free from the Internet Archive although there is now a Kindle title for sale as well.

There are pictures on every page of this book. It covers stances, similarities with empty hand karate, striking, and self-defense techniques. It's easy to follow and I used it back in the day before YouTube existed.

Advanced Tonfa: Japanese Weapon of Self-Defense, Tadashi Yamashita, 1987

I bought Advanced Tonfa: Japanese Weapon of Self-Defense back when it was tough to find martial arts books in brick and mortar stores. My copy is a 5 7/8 inches by 8 7/8 inches black and white paperback with 256 pages. It offers a similar style to the previous title, as both are Ohara publications.

The photography could be better. It's tough to see some of the details. Some of the later techniques, like submissions, are depicted with an uke wearing a black gi top. When the tonfa is also black, the reader has trouble following the technique.

Wado Ryu Karate, Hironori Otsuka, 1997

I bought a copy of Wado Ryu Karate before the Kindle edition arrived. My version is a print on demand black and white paperback. The translation is by Shingo Ishida. It's nice to see these older books brought back to life in digital and POD formats.

I'm not sure why I bought it. I think I may have been researching some connection to judo or jujutsu? 

The book offers about 32 pages of "analects of the instructor," all of which are in italics. It would be better formatted as plain text. Next are 30 pages of techniques. The bulk of the book includes photography of the instructor performing nine kata, beginning with "pia-an shodan." They are a bit fuzzy but the white gi on the dark background compensates well enough.

Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text, Gichin Funkoshi, 1973/2012

I bought a copy of Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text several years ago because Shotokan was the first martial art I pursued as a club activity at the Air Force Academy. My copy is a black and white hardcover measuring 7 1/2 inches by 10 3/8 inches. It's the 2012 U.S. edition from Kodansha, who make lovely books.

It's a little tough to follow the edition history of this book. It appears that Funakoshi sensei published the first edition in 1935 or 1936. There was also a second edition in 1956, as this book offers a preface by Funakoshi sensei dated October 1956. He passed away in 1957. 

There is also a foreword by the translator, Tsutomu Ohshima, dated 1972. He notes that the kata in this version follow those in the first edition.

The book offers an introduction, fundamentals, and 19 kata, which comprise the bulk of the text. Next we see "engagement matches," vital points of the human body, and maxims. The photos are clear but small.

This title likely contributed to the numerous Bodhidharma myths, thanks to its flawed "development of karate" section. 

Overall this is likely one of the "must have" books for karateka, similar to the judo title by Kano. 

The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama, 2nd Edition 2020, Updated and Expanded, Cameron Quinn, 2020

I bought The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama, 2nd Edition because it looked like a beautiful book. I have no ties to Mas Oyama and I'm not a fan of his antics, particularly those involving harming animals. However, I was not disappointed by this title.

You can buy it directly from the author in Australia via his web site. That is how I got my copy in early 2021.

My copy is a hard cover measuring 7 3/8 inches by 10 1/4 inches. The pages are a mix of color and black and white, with 272 in total. The book comes in its own separate cardboard box, which I kept. It's like a collector's item in its presentation.

This is an updated and expanded version of the 1987 original. Dolph Lundgren wrote the foreword for this new edition. 

The book is just gorgeous. It's not really about techniques. It's more of a culture/history/lifestyle exploration. It's probably the best produced book in my library. 


If you're a bibliophile, I would spend the money and get a copy of the new Mas Oyama book. 

Next month we turn to Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) titles.

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