Title: Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts 2 - Koryu Uchinadi
Publisher's site: Tuttle Publishing
Amazon link: Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts 2
Price £10.99 paperback £7.82 kindle
ISBN #: 978-0804831475
Date: 1999
Author/s Patrick McCarthy

Photo of book cover showing karateka with bo staff

If you have an interest in the historical origins of karate and the arts that gave rise to it, this is the perfect book for you. Written by Patrick McCarthy, head of the International Ryukyu Karate Research Society (IRKRS), a martial artist who has travelled extensively around Japan and Okinawa, and who has conducted a great deal of original research, this is probably the seminal English language work on the origins of karate - in fact it is doubtful that there are many, if any Japanese language works that are as well researched.

The book touches upon key figures and events in semi-modern karate history, when Miyagi, Mabuni and Funakoshi were standardising exactly what modern karate should be. He includes a full transcript of the original Meeting of Masters, translated from the original Japanese transcripts by Patrick and his Japanese wife.

From there, he explores the most common theories of how karate was transmitted to Okinawa, dismissing some popularly held beliefs, and offering plausible alternatives of his own.

Then Patrick reaches right back to ancient Chinese history, exploring the origins and philosophical underpinnings of martial arts in that country, going far beyond the much mentioned arrival of Bodhidharma, even acknowledging the existence of clearly recorded Egyptian arts from 3000BC!

McCarthy considers both the physical, spiritual and cultural growth of martial arts, and adds his own commentaries on most  of it.

The book is well-written and highly accessible, and I would consider it a very worth-while starting place for anyone interested in a view of the origins of karate that rises above mere folk tales and urban legends. More photos and drawings would have brought the subject matter alive even more effectively, but nevertheless, this book is very highly recommended.


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