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Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat Hardcover – October 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you are a serious Martial Artist, no matter what your current level or background, this text is vital for you." —Evan Pantazi, Sensei, founder of Kyusho.com

"The Bubishi remains an indispensible tome for the serious Karate enthusiast." —Joe Swift, karate historian & researcher & founder of Tokyo Mushinkan

"Patrick McCarthy is the foremost Western historian of karate-do." —Fighting Arts International

"Patrick McCarthy's Bubishi is a thoroughly researched translation and commentary that will intrigue even the most advanced reader…an extensive study that is comprehensible to the modern reader while losing none of the work's ancient wisdom." —Budo Dojo

"This work is a milestone of epic proportions which will help to bridge the gap between Chinese and Okinawan culture." —Traditional Karate

"Patrick McCarthy's research is both comprehensive and meticulous…a welcome edition to any martial arts library." —Karate International

"(McCarthy) will leave no stone unturned in his passionate pursuit." —Hanshi Cezar Borkowski, Northern Karate, Toronto

"The Bubishi's message is timeless. Its wisdom boundless." — Jesse Enkamp, founder of KARATEbyJesse.com

About the Author

Patrick McCarthy is one of the few foreigners to actually teach karate-do in Japan. Moreover, he is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost authorities on the civil fighting traditions of Okinawa. He is also the first Westerner to ever be awarded the coveted Kyoshi 7th Dan Teacher's License from the Kyoto's prestigious Dai Nippon Butokukai. He has been practicing karate-do since the 1960s, and also studied a variety of Chinese, Southeast Asian, and western fighting arts. He is a 9th Dan and is also the author of Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts Volumes 1 and 2.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804838283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804838283
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Will this book make you a great fighter? No.
Will it teach you karate? No

If however, you have a serious understanding of the art you practice and wish you become a much better rounded martial artist, more in tune with the mindset of the founders of karate then there is no text I would recommend more highly.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very complete book on martial arts, including history and a section on striking vital points. What impressed me most is that while there are hundreds of martial arts books with hundreds of black and white photos of two people in gis telling you what to do in self defense situations, this is not one of them.
Many of these start off with dozens of defenses for lapel grabs (You're very unlikely to encounter in the streets today) and then go into detailed step by step instructions. "Step out 45 degrees with your left foot, yada yada yada."
From pages 208 to 228 McCarthy has Okinawan style sketches of two combatants. In each there is a winning technique, losing technique, and instructional comments.
Here is an example:
Winning Technique:
Dropping to the ground and legs like scissors.
Losing technique:
Trying to catch a fish by moving hands in the water
Note: If an attacker is vigorously trying to grab you quickly drop to the ground and scissor his leg.

There are 48 of these self-defense diagrams and if a person learned just these they would have a pretty good self-defense 'arsenal'.

On that basis this book is excellent, and quite unique.
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Format: Hardcover
Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat

Patrick McCarthy's newest translation of the Okinawaden Bubishi (his 4th) is the best yet. Not only has he treated us to an updated translation, he has included information on a number of related topics: the Chinese origins of the text, its relationship to various systems of Okinawan karate, some of the various editions of the text in Okinawa, his own attempts toward translations of the text over the years and the editions he has produced in English, etc.

I found McCarthy's newest edition of the Okinawaden Bubishi to be well-researched, well-referenced, and a treasure trove on information regarding the title text and McCarthy's own extensive research into the origins of Okinawan karate. The only down side is his need for a good editor who can better organize the information into logical sections and a consistent method of Romanizing the various languages that he has to deal with in this marvelous piece of research.

For example, in PART ONE: HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY, McCarthy presents us with a superb history of karate in addition to a number of theories on the origins and evolution of the Okinawaden Bubishi. However, he allows his own historical monograph to run into a similarly titled, first section of the translated text. Consequently, it is difficult to determine where McCarthy ends and the translated text begins. This method of presentation is repeated in each section. A better editing job would have more clearly defined the sections of McCarthy's research and the actual text translation.

Following the textual translation McCarthy includes a substantial Bibliography, helpful glossary, and decent Index. The glossary section, entitled "List of Chinese and Japanese Terms", could also use an editor.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is either the 3rd or 4th translation that this Sensei has done. I owned the first edition, and decided to buy this one as my first edition walked at some point in the past. Definitely a good decision.

If I understand correctly, the Bubishi was/is a collection of notes on Chinese martial arts (Fukien and South Chinese, mainly) that was passed on in most of the major karate (tode) schools in Okinawa and Japan c. 1890-1940. Many of the sections of the Bubishi are somewhat enigmatic and probably intended as a sort of memory jogging device-How else can one explain the otherwise inexplicable drawings of an aunt and an uncle on a page?

The author comments there were many styles and schools of martial arts that had a single family or instructor with no heirs. This is true not just in China and Okinawa, but elsewhere. Can any modern day wrestlers point to (say) George Hackenschmidt in their lineage as a teacher, despite his place in European wrestling history and Physical Culture history?

The translations in this edition seem to be better and clearer, or at least the English is less muddy in places than the first edition. I found the descriptions of /kuen/chuan/kata to be illuminating, and wish that he had included a glossary of Okinawan terminology, or a trilingual Chinese/Okinawan/Japanese dictionary at the end of the book.

I recommend reading this in tandem with Mark Bishop's fine history of Okinawan karate-do to see that there are/were multiple roots and pathways for tode to be taught and passed down in Okinawa. Some development of Tode was native, some was not.Some points will always remain a secret.

Gordon Cooper
San Duan , Hsin Lu Martial Arts
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By Mad Lion on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This isn't just a translated Bubishi. It contains as much background information as well as lead-ins as McCarthy thought necessary for each section of the original manual. There's not much going on here that'll make you a better fighter. Seems to me this was simply a companion piece of something greater and given it's limited availability amongst Karate practitioners at the time probably an instruction manual for the already learned.
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