“. . . The Katas
is an intriguing collection of principles and makes for a fascinating read and enlightening read, highly recommended.” (James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review, November 2010
From the Back Cover
MARTIAL ARTS / EASTERN PHILOSOPHY
An essential part of the martial arts of Japan, such as sumo and karate, the katas are specific sequences of movement that originated during Sakoku, Japan’s period of closure to the outside world from 1633 until 1853. The dedication-to-perfection philosophy of the katas, ubiquitous in Japanese society, is vital to understanding the spiritual aspects of their martial arts as well as other traditional Japanese arts, such as flower arranging, chado
- (tea ceremonies), and kabuki theater.
With examples from the lives of famous masters, from legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi to 20th-century poet Yukio Mishima, this book explores the psychological and social importance of the katas, including their role in seppuku
(ritual suicide), the student-master relationship, and gyo
(the point at which the practitioner breaks the mold of the kata and begins to embody it). Looking at their origins in the warrior class and how this pursuit of perfection is ultimately a way to accept the power of death, the author explains how performing the katas transmits ancient knowledge much deeper than just technical movements, providing a way to deepen one’s martial arts practice spiritually.
KENJI TOKITSU has doctorates in sociology and in Japanese civilization. Born in Japan, he began studying martial arts as a child. In 1971 he moved to France and began teaching karate. He founded the Shaolin-mon Karate-do school in Paris in 1983 and the Tokitsu-ryu Academy in 2001. The author of Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings
and Ki and the Way of the Martial Arts
, he lives in France.