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The Best Karate Book I Have Read in Years

I hope that the title of this post got your attention.  I should say that the book I am going to describe is one of the best Karate books I have ever read.

(image from Lulu.com)

A few weeks ago I received a package from Mario McKenna.  It was a donation to the Hawaii Karate Museum of his recent translation of  Morinobu Itoman's "The Study of China Hand Techniques" which was published in 1934.  This book captures the techniques, ideas, strategy and feeling of "old style" Karate.  By "old style" Karate, I mean the Karate of the turn of the 20th century (when Karate was introduced to the public in Okinawa).  We do not know much at all about Morinobu Itoman, but he writes about the Karate that I have heard about from the Karate pioneers here in Hawaii.  I encourage you to acquire this book and read.  I have read it twice so far and I am certain that I will be quoting from it in my future articles.

Mario McKenna is quite a Karate and Kobudo instructor and student, and a very generous translator.  He can read the old books in Japanese.  I and most Karate students cannot.  I actually saw a copy of Itoman's "The Study of China Hand Techniques" at a bookstore in Okinawa in 2002, but the owner would not sell it to me.  Now, you and I can read it in English!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Mario when he recently visited Hawaii.  What a nice person!  Now I have met Mario and Mark Tankosich.  I hope that one day I can meet Patrick McCarthy, Graham Noble, and Joseph Swift.  How fortunate we are for their research, articles, and books!

You can follow Mario's Kowakan blog at:

Mario also has a bookstore for the books he has translated and written.  Please see:

All of these books are very reasonably priced.  He has also translated Karate-Do Taikan by Genwa Nakasone (available in paperback and hardcover), The Study of Seipai: The Secrets of Self-defense Karate Kenpo, by Kenwa Mabuni, and Karate Kenpo: The Art of Self-defense, by Kenwa Mabuni.  In addition, he has written a book entitled Ryukyu Kobudo The Students of Shinken Taira.


Charles C. Goodin