Shotokan's Secret (book review)

Discussion in 'E-Zine Articles' started by Bob Hubbard, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Darth Vindicatus Supporting Member

    Shotokan's Secret (book review)
    By matrixman - 02-03-2010 03:30 PM

    ====================

    Shotokan’s Secret! (Book Review)

    Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind Karate's Fighting Origins (Paperback)

    Dr. Bruce Clayton
    Paperback: 400 pages
    Publisher: Black Belt Books; Expanded edition (May 31, 2010)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0897501888
    ISBN-13: 978-0897501880
    $20

    I searched the site for books the other day, and found Shotokan’s Secret (Dr. Bruce Clayton) mentioned a couple of times, but not for a long time, and not as much as I felt it should be.

    Interestingly enough, the guy at the martial arts supply store told me it wasn’t a very good book. Yet I found myself savoring words, almost not wanting to keep reading because I found what Dr. Clayton was saying so darned intriguing that I just wanted to keep rereading the words.

    First, the book is a history, it backgrounds karate, tells why it was specifically invented and for what purpose. This viewpoint alone had me rocking and reeling. This is a basic why behind karate, and explains all sorts of things having to do with the development of forms and techniques. As I read this material I couldn’t stop going over my forms and examining them in new lights. I began doing my forms differently, and was totally revitalized and excited as new thoughts kept swamping me.

    And, the book is a linguistic adventure. What do the hieroglyphics really mean? Is there a secret code in the language that would be understandable to the bodyguards and their ilk, and not necessarily to late comers? Fascinating to think that people, even the authorities we revere, could have been talked around themselves.

    Lastly, the book is a research of magnificent proportion. I read a few reviews where people disagreed with the author, but I couldn’t go along with them. When he tells you about the shape of the imperial palace and how a form could be slotted to fit that geography, you pay attention. Yes, there could be, and probably are other reasons, there are always multiple contributing factors to any development. But he makes his case well, and you might find yourself alive with new ideas.

    The material of the book is fascinating, well written, and makes a reader think. Definitely for karate stylists, especially ones with experience (I’ve got 40+ years in the arts). People with limited experience may not find it as fascinating, but, then again, they might. Other stylists probably won’t be taken by it, I think the guy in the store was a kung fu stylist, and that was why he was not so was not effected.

    At any rate, I really hope you get the same joy out of it as I did.

    By the way, doing a search on books, book reviews, and so on, on this site is very rewarding.


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  2. Jhun_Occidental

    Jhun_Occidental New Member

    Great book..very technical

    ...as a practitioner of Shotokan karate for more than 10 yrs, this is a good book.
     

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