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Karate-Do: My Way of Life Paperback – September 15, 1981


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (September 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870114638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870114632
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author


GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is world famous as one of Karate's great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, in 1868, he studied Karate-do from childhood and organized the first public demonstrations.

He was trained in the Confucian classics and was a schoolteacher early in life. After training for decades under the foremost masters in Okinawa he was elected president of the Okinawa Association for the Spirit of Martial Arts.

He was chosen to demonstrate Karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo in 1922, which led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest of Japan and subsequently to the rest of the world. Among his writings are Karate-do Nyumon: The Master Introductory Text, Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text, and Karate Jutsu: The Original Teachings of Gichin Funakoshi.

Master Gichin Funakoshi died in April 1957.

More About the Author

GICHIN FUNAKOSHI is world famous as one of Karate's great masters. Born in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, in 1868, he studied Karate-do from childhood and organized the first public demonstrations. He was trained in the Confucian classics and was a schoolteacher early in life. After training for decades under the foremost masters in Okinawa he was elected president of the Okinawa Association for the Spirit of Martial Arts. He was chosen to demonstrate Karate at the First National Athletic Exhibition in Tokyo in 1922, which led to the introduction of the ancient martial art to the rest of Japan and subsequently to the rest of the world. Among his writings are Karate-do: My Way of Life, Karate-do Kyohan: The Master Text, and Karate Jutsu: The Original Teachings of Gichin Funakoshi. Master Gichin Funakoshi died in April 1957.

Customer Reviews

A phenomenal book, a great man and a compelling story.
Joseph A. Escher
The book is only small, and perhaps this reflects a man who lived a very simple life.
S J Buck
Its a great read if you have any interest in the Martial Arts or Philosophy.
b00kll0vr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hardman on April 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Funakoshi Gichen was many things to many people. Although today he is for the most part remembered and respected as the founder of the style we know today as Shotokan, Funakoshi Gichen was also a school Teacher, a family man, a man educated in the Confucian classics, a practitioner and teacher of Karate, and an Okinawan who undertook the task of bringing the art of Karate-Do from its native island of Okinawa to the Japanese Mainland in his later years.

Remarkably, Funakoshi lived through several important eras in Okinawa and Japan's history. As a young man he recounts the impact of Meiji-era forced modernization, where men holding public posts were required to cut their traditional top-knots. His accounts of training with Master Itosu and Master Azato and stories of their explaits are some of the most specific known to us. Funakoshi also describes the sacrifices he made to continue practicing Karate while on Okinawa, at one point turning down a promotion because the travel would have separated him from his karate teachers. We learn how Yasutsune Itosu was instrumental in helping make karate a part of the physical culture curriculum in Okinawa's schools, and later how Funakoshi's background as an educator and karateka made him the ideal candidate to travel to Japan to demonstrate karate.

Funakoshi describes how his extended family of 10 in Okinawa struggled to make ends meet on his teacher's salary of 3 yen a month, scraping by only because of the diligence of his wife, who grew vegetables and wove cloth to help make ends meet. His wife he tells us, also became adept at performing Karate kata, which she practiced to raise her spirits when tired (page 39)!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Balla on November 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is said to be the auto-biography of master Gichin Funakoshi. In his book Funakoshi describes how he was introduced to karate, how he had to sneak to his master, because Karate was forbidden by the Government. He tells short stories that happened to him (like: being attacked by thieves) and how useful Karate turned out to be through his life.

As the title says, Funakoshi's idea was that Karate trains your body and mind and is thus a way of life. Karate in his opinion is not about fighting. At the back of the book he even points out that winning 100 of 100 battles is not as praiseworthy as subduing an enemy without fighting. Karate is not fighting, it is a martial art. It is not about being strong and though against others, but against oneself.

If you believe that Karate is a fighting sport. If you believe that the tournaments and winning is all what this art is about, by all means avoid this book, for you will not understand its message. If however you are really open-minded and understand what I wrote above, you are up for an interesting read. And I believe that every Karateka should be interested in the origin of the art. That is what you will find here.

No techniques, fighting guidelines and things like this. Just the interesting stories of a gentle and reasonable Taoist that Funakoshi was.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mike Troxel on December 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most important book for any student of Shotokan karate-do to read, and is extremely helpful for a student of ANY karate style or method. I first read this book when I was beginning my training, and besides Funakoshi's biography already being a very fascinating read, I found the insight into the mind of the greatest karate master in modern history to be extremely useful in understanding what Karate-Do REALLY is. (It's interesting even more still because Funakoshi doesn't really speak much on the spirit of karate-do, but reading about his life gave me more insight into the Do than any speech on the subject probably ever could.)
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was overwhelmed by the feeling this book and this man generated. Even though the book resembles a brief of his memoirs, Funakoshi communicates the attitude, mood, and a small glimpse of the mindset one should bring to the study of karate. One might find the humble nature of this man's writings subtly profound in many aspects. The expectations I had before reading the tome were cleverly diverted, and my appreciation of karate of which I am a student grew immeasurably. I find myself recalling points he mentioned during my training sessions, other tasks in my daily routine, and even personal situations.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jim Johnson on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
For anyone who believes that they have made a lifelong committment to the Martial Arts, you should read this book. Master Funakoshi intertwines the important spiritual and physical components of a life in "the way" with the story of his own personal life. One of the things that I liked most was that he went through some of the same thought processes that I have during my training. If you are truly a student of the Martial Arts (whether it is Karate or not) this book belongs in your personal library.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. E. Harrison on January 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This autobiography of the Father of Modern Day Karate exposes the character behind the legend and may surprise the student raised in awe of a superior teacher. Using anectdotes of past masters and lessons in his own life, Funakoshi is able to explain the philosophy of karate clearly and concisely. Anyone attempting Shodan in Shotokan Karate should definately read this book so that they can read into the basic techniques and understand that karate's ultimate goal is tranquility and not to beat the hell out of anyone who confronts you!
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