I began studying martial arts in 1973, during the explosion that Bruce Lee created with "Enter the Dragon," "Fists of Fury" and "The Chinese Connection." I finally took my first class on September 20th from a teacher of Shaolin-Do, Grandmaster Sin The in Lexington, Kentucky. I studied with him for about 3 years and earned a brown belt before exploring other systems such as taekwondo, T'ien Shan Pai, and eventually the internal arts.
I also began buying martial arts books that year, and some of the only books on the market were karate books.
One of my first books was "Karate Kata Heian1 Tekki1" by M. Nakayama, Chief Instructor of the Japan Karate Association. It was called an Official Manual of the Japan Karate Association.
Two weeks ago, when I was packing as Nancy and I prepared to move to our new house, I re-discovered many old martial arts books, and I decided to review them and study them again to see what I could learn that would apply to the internal arts, or would increase my knowledge of martial arts in general.
Even though I read many of them when I first bought them, it will be interesting to look again with the eyes of a martial artist nearly 38 years down the road.
In looking at the photos, they broke down the forms step-by-step, but the fighting applications were very basic. A punch was a punch. A block was a block. I like them because they very clearly show the movements of the form. But such simplicity of fighting applications got a lot of martial artists off to a weak start. Many martial artists never got beyond that first simple fighting application to see the wealth of material beneath the surface.
In the next few weeks, I'm going to look through these books and offer posts on what I find, and how movements can be applied in more creative -- and sometimes brutal -- ways that aren't included in the books.
The first printing of this book was in 1970. The edition I have is the 6th printing from 1974.
It's like finding an old friend -- these old books have been with me through 29 moves in Kentucky, Ohio, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois.