Okinawan Karate by Mark Bishop

Mark Bishop’s Okinawan Karate (subtitled Teachers, styles and secret techniques) is a fairly exhaustive treatment of the history (and myth) of the Okinawan fighting arts. The sections on the early development of ti / te and karate really help one to understand the roots and spirit of the art. Although he dismantles many of the old chestnuts regarding the development of Karate by weaponless peasants, he does stray a bit into hearsay relying on scant evidence to draw conclusions based on secondhand stories. The book is a pleasant read, almost like a tour through Okinawa, spending time with a master of a style, then moving on. At times, it seems a little disjointed, as it varies between solid research, interviews, a few technical descriptions and a nice collection of geneological charts, maps and pronunciation guides. There are a few points where the author seems a bit starstruck, such as when he relays the story (seemingly apocryphal) of foreign students who underestimate the ‘deep internal power’ of the masters only to realize too late when they suffer some delayed ill effects from a strike. In all, I found it one of the best treatments on the subject for its time, and very reasonably priced for the amount of insight it granted.

2 Responses to Okinawan Karate by Mark Bishop

  1. Sunil Kumar says:

    Hi this is sunil kumar, black belt 5th dan from Gibo sensei, of okinawa Japan.
    Having own dojo in Mysore, Karnataka state, India.
    Having 20 dojo here. actually your news regarding shorin ryu shorin kan is very widely updating ….
    all the news regarding Martial arts are very good…
    pls forward the details to me ….

  2. Philip Tinsley III says:

    I have only briefly skimmed Shihan Bishop’s book, OKINAWIN KARATE, but I cannot seem to locate any listings or references to Shihan Hargrove (Otetsu-Cho) nor Shihan Yamashita (The Thrill Seeker), both from Okinawan Shorin-ryu … . Furthermore, what is even more alarming is that I found no mention of Chibana Chosin nor Mas Oyama … . Was there any particular reason that these historical and notable Shorin-ryu masters/grand masters were omitted?!

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