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Karate The Art of "Empty-Hand" Fighting

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Karate The Art of "Empty-Hand" Fighting [Paperback]

Hidetaka Nishiyama , Richard C. Brown
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 15, 1990
Master the techniques and theory of Japanese Karate with this easy-to-follow, illustrated martial arts guide.

Karate: The Art of "Empty-Hand" Fighting has inspired hundreds of thousands of karateka, and it remains one of the finest texts available on the technique, art, and spirit of karatedo.

This definitive volume is a systematic presentation of the art of traditional Japanese karate. An easily accessible martial arts manual illustrated with more than 1,000 photographs, this comprehensive karate book gives step-by-step explanations and thorough analysis of all the basic movements and techniques of karate.

Topics of Karate the Art of "Empty-Hand" Fighting" include:
  • The history of Karate
  • The theories and principle of Karate
  • The best training and exercise methods
  • Karate techniques like stance, blocking and attacks
  • Defenses against weapons

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Editorial Reviews


"What this phenomenal book has, that many martial arts books don't have, is constant reminders to 'avoid these mistakes.' This is one of the many reasons that so many martial artists have found value in this work. Throughout the entire book, they consistently highlight shortcomings to avoid, essentially bringing a qualified instructor right into your home. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any serious martial artist and to those who are just curious about karate. Its price is quite nominal, making it more than an affordable addition to your library, but also as a means of measuring ones betterment." —

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Reprint edition (November 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804816689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804816687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May be the best karate book ever written January 6, 2000
By A Customer
This is the most complete instructional karate book I've ever seen. It came out in 1960 and has still not been improved on. The authors were disciples of Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern karate. There is very clear step by step and pictorial instruction on how to do all the moves of traditional shotokan karate, the original style out of which all the others grew. If you are attending a karate class now you will recognize your techniques in this book. The styles haven't changed that much in 40 years. There are probably more moves in this book than in your class.
The book has 22 chapters. Some of the chapter titles are: striking points and vital points, stance, hand techniques, foot techniques, sparring, and throwing techniques. There are 40 pages of self defense moves.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental Shotokan Karate March 16, 2002
By A Customer
Karate: the Art of "Empty Hand" Fighting by Hidetaka Nishiyama and Richard C. Brown is the perfect starter book for any one wishing to learn Shotokan Karate. It describes all the stances, punches, strikes, blocks, and kicks. An explanation of the application of Karate techniques in self-defense situations is given. Briefly outlined is the history and principles of the art but what is indispensable in the book are the recommended schedules for the different training situations which make this book a perfect guide for the student and helpful manual for the instructor. After learning what is in this book I would suggest moving on to one of the books by Robin L. Rielly; either Complete Shotokan Karate, ISBN 0-8048-2108-9, or The Secrets of Shotokan Karate, ISBN 0-8048-3229-3. My only wish is that the chapters on Kumite and Kata would be expanded but that is why I recommend the two books above as well.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early work but still great October 5, 2000
Considering this book came out originally in 1960 and was the first large-format book on Karate I had seen up to that point, it is remarkable that it has rarely been exceeded in all the time since. The photos of the basic techniques are very clear. The applications sections are generous with good coverage of sparring and self-defense. Nishiyama was in his prime here and you can see the power and intensity in his techniques.

I have a personal story about Nishiyama, although I didn't study with him myself, but one of own karate students did, and he told me this story. Nishiyama was in Los Angeles for some time back in the 60's and he was conducting a training session. One of the students, a guy by the name of Ray Dalke, who later led the U.C. Riverside Shotokan club to several national championship titles, was in the class. I met Dalke when I was a doctoral student at UCR back in the early 80's, but I actually heard this my student. Ray had never been very loose in the legs, especially the groin stretch, where you sit on the ground in a quasi-lotus position and bounce your knees up and down and try to get them all the way to the ground.

Anyway, Nishiyama came around to Dalke, and noticed his problem. He says to Dalke, "You want to have loose lap?" (Sometimes Nishiyama's English was a bit rough, but the meaning came through loud and clear). Dalke says, "yes, Master, I do." Nishiyama says again, "Are you sure you want to have loose lap?" Dalke says, "Yes, yes, Master, I want it more than anything!" At that moment Nishiyama jumps up into the air and comes down with both feet planted squarely on Dalke's knees, driving them all the way to the floor.

Well, he said Dalke's scream of agony could be heard for two city blocks. They had to get an ambulance and take Dalke away.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative book April 4, 2000
This is a great book for any student who is trying to polish their techniques a bit. Nishiyama's book is loaded with all the information you would need to refine your skills. It's rather lacking in historical and philisophical information (two things I enjoy studying and don't think any karate book is complete without), but it's nonetheless an excellent aid for practice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
PLENTY of pictures and descriptions of techniques. I am biased having the privilege to receive instruction from Nishiyama Souke but no one can deny that he is a legend to the art of Shotokan Karate. This book is successful in capturing a part of his essence and should definitely have a place on the bookshelf of every Karate-ka.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Karate Book September 30, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have owned a copy of this text since I started my martial arts journey in the 1970's. It is by far the best book written on the subject, covering techniques, history, and philosophy of karate that would apply to each style. Written in a readable way with plenty of pictures, it is in my opinion a superior text to Karate Do Kyohan. No true karateka's library would be complete without it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book; you can't go wrong with it October 18, 2008
I've gone back to studying Shotokan after a gap in training of several decades. It's easier when you're 18, by the way.

This book was a useful resource and overview when I started with Sensei Koyama (8th Dan, JKA) in 1968. It's a valuable resource now that I've returned to his dojo in Phoenix, Arizona with a somewhat creakier body.

Sometimes it's easier to watch a dvd to get the idea of a technique. Sometimes it's easier to see sequential photos. And I don't know why; frankly, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

The author of this book was the guy who Sensei Nakayama dragged with him when the JKA was demonstrating to the U.S. armed forces, and Sensei Nishiyama didn't disappoint the troops when he was asked to break various objects (mostly boards, some of which had been soaked overnight). He has indicated in other books that his striking surfaces suffered some because of the enthusiastic breaking he undertook for the cause of advancing Shotokan Karate.

I recommend this book without reservations. It won't make you a karate master, or even a karate student, by itself.

But on the other hand, neither will any book or dvd; you just have to bite the bullet and show up at the dojo near you (hoping that your prospective instructor survived the JKA instructor's course) and study.

Relevant joke: a pianist had just finished playing brilliantly. A fan came up and said, "I'd give my life to play like that." The pianist replied, "I did."

Shotokan Karate has a remarkably simple secret. First, you have to find an instructor. See my above suggestion.

Then show up.

That's the secret.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good especially for comparison with Choi Hong-Hi's "Taekwon-Do"
A thorough book, one of the earliest English language looks at the martial arts. Good especially for comparison with Choi Hong-Hi's "Taekwon-Do".
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading
This book is recommended reading for everyone even slightly interested in learning about an old elegant and effective martial art.
Published 3 months ago by Erlend Nilssen
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of its kind.
Best of its kind.
Published 6 months ago by S. Kent G.
5.0 out of 5 stars great information for a Shotokan practitioner
well written....great information for a Shotokan practitioner.
Published 6 months ago by Jose Olivero
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Beneficial! Do not hesistate to BUY it!
This book covers all the techniques needed for Karate. Fundamental techniques such as, basics, proper way of exertion and contraction of power, kicks, throws, and defenses against... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Arold De Los Reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very descriptive.
Published 8 months ago by Joe Currier
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 10 months ago by Al K
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
Excellent. It is the book for all the person who practice martials arts.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must have for any karate student ...
This book is a must have for any karate student! It's very helpful in teaching & showing proper technique.
Published 12 months ago by patricia toone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Deal
Published 14 months ago by Robin J. Short
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