Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Way of Kata

Way of Kata covers the largely untold truth about Kata. For anyone looking for a deeper move involved Bunaki for their kata or for anyone who feels that some of the applications taught by their Martial Arts school seem to be missing something, this book is for you. Even if you are a beginner, this book will give you a unique perspective and definite advantage as you begin your journey in the Matial Arts.

This book covers

  • a brief history of karate and kata.
  • strategy vs. tactics
  • 15 guiding principles to follow
  • 8 rules for interpreting kata
  • what happens during a violent encounter, physically and mentally. Types of criminals, things you should know about fighting and what will happen during a fight.
  • How to bring everything together to make your knowledge and practice effective.
  • Kata examples with checklists from Goju Ryu kata.
Along with extra goodies at the end, there are some great glossaries/appendixes at the end; excellent reference/resource material.

First, there is a lot of information in this book. A LOT.  It's almost overwhelming. However, everything is arranged in a logical order with a progression that builds through the book. Everything in the next chapter builds on the chapter previous so they don't throw you in the middle of everything. 

I found Chapters 3 and 4 to be the most useful/beneficial to me. If you have not read anything else by Kane and Wilder or by Rory Miller, then Chapters 2 and 5 will be very interesting and information packed as well. If you are familiar with other works by Kane, Wilder, and Miller, then they will be a bit of a review, but still worth the read. 

Chapter 6 covers great classroom ideas as far as drills go and ways to practice what you learned. Chapter 7 is an extensive checklist of Goju Ryu kata and applications. This gives some really great examples and helps you understand the fundamentals of what the authors are talking about. I think this list would be invaluable to any Goju Ryu student. If you study a different school, like I study Shotokan for example, it would be helpful to look up the kata on YouTube to get a better idea of what the kata look like so you can see the techniques in motion.

The only complaint I have with this book is that it is a little on the dry side. It can be tedious to read through sometimes, as if you are reading through a text book, especially towards the end, chapters 5 through 7. I think this is just due to the sheer amount of information packed into this book. HOWEVER, even if you have to put the book down and come back to it the next day, I highly recommend pushing through it and finishing it. 

I think it is very important for Martial Artists to be educated on what they practice and/or teach. If you are teaching someone self defense, (which is in essence what Karate was designed for by the Okinawans) then you need to teach them something that works, not something ineffective that could get them hurt if their lives ever depended on their understanding of their techniques and kata application.

I think this is a MUST HAVE book for any Martial Artist or dojo library.


  1. As a kata advocate I concur, this is a great book for all karate-ka.

  2. Have you read Bunkai Jutsu yet? I am in the middle of that one and will be posting a review on it next. Its AMAZING! I like it just a little bit better than Way of Kata so far.

  3. Great review. I've had it on my Amazon list for quite some time but I think you might have just bumped it up to "next in line".

    Right now I am finishing "On the Warriors Path". It is an excellent book about Budo, philosophy, and what it means to be a warrior in our age. Give it a look.