Sunday, November 30, 2008

Review: "Black Belt Karate"

For me, browsing through "Black Belt Karate" by Chris Thompson was somehow familiar and comforting - like coming home to the smell of fresh baked bread on a winter day.
In these days of Mixed Martial Arts and exotic forms of all varieties, Chris Thompson has provided a no-nonsense overview of traditional Japanese Karate. Thompson, 8th Dan Black Belt and Chairman of the British Traditional Karate Association, covers the history and development of Karate from it's Chinese and Okinawan roots. He outlines the various contemporary Japanese styles currently in the WKF (World Karate Federation).
I have to say, the high production quality of "Black Belt Karate" is probably the best of any martial arts book I have seen recently. The large color photos are beautifully captured, and the layout of techniques and forms are easy to follow. This book would serve other authors well as an example of how to produce a readable, attractive presentation.
Thompson goes on to illustrate self-defense techniques, the rules of traditional point sparring, and how to judge in tournament competition.
As I stated above, it's heartening in these times of anything-goes martial arts to see a welcome example of pure, traditional Karate.
I would recommend "Black Belt Karate" as an inspiration to a beginning traditional Karate student, and it may be of real value in the libraries of schools and universities that have traditional Karate in their physical education programs.
You can find "Black Belt Karate" and hundreds of other martial arts titles at the link for BLUE SNAKE BOOKS.


Hand2Hand said...

Sounds like I'll have to check out that book.

Despite some of my issues with traditionalists, I do respect the traditional arts when they are taught correctly and honestly.

By that, I mean if a student acquires a high rank in a traditional art, he should be able to use that art competently to defend himself. The problem is when the instructors become more concerned with maintaining hierarchy within an organization, or with preserving some ancient traditions than with teaching a martial art.

I believe we should always try to learn from the past and from history, not matter what our endeavor. We should respect our traditions and to our elders, but we should not become slaves to them.

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