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The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate Paperback – September 16, 2009
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"With the absence of any work on hojo undo, this book is destined to become an instant success and I am pleased to be able to lend my name to its publication. Mike Clarke's empirical experience and deep knowledge of both Okinawa's fighting arts and the culture in which it evolved make him uniquely qualified to produce a book of this nature." (Foreword Magazine)
"This book explains in detail how Okinawan Karate masters attained their awesome Karate Power and how they were able to develop such fantastic powerful techniques. Everything that you wanted to know about Hojo Undo training is explained in this book. There are explanations on the different training methods of Japanese and Okinawan Karate. Learn the secrets of traditional Karate power. Learn the difference between sport Karate and traditional Karate. Traditional Karate focuses on building a complete Karate warrior. It combines mind, body, and soul. For those who are dedicated to the art of Karate, this book is a must for your library. I highly recommend this outstanding manual." (Norman Leff, Menkyo Kaiden Shihan, Over 50 years of experience)
Clarke is an honorable man of karate . . . I highly recommend this book. (Hokama Tetsuhiro, Kaicho 10th dan)
Michael Clarke has captured the secret of traditional karate power. (Kinjo Tsuneo, Kyoshi 8th dan)
I recommend this book . . . It is a valuable asset for learning how the tools are used as an extension of training. (Akamine Hiroshi, Kaicho 8th dan)
I can't think of a single person anywhere in the world better suited to introduce this subject, and I highly recommend The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate to teachers and students alike. (Patrick McCarthy, Hanshi 8th dan)
A serious writer . . . of great value to anyone who wishes to understand traditional karate-do. (John Cheetham, Editor Shotokan Karate Magazine)
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Top Customer Reviews
It's unlikely that you will build a Muscle Beach type of physique with these exercises, that is, one that's big on pretty but light on functional. The exercises discussed in this book will develop size, strength and power, but of the type that translates to your martial arts movements in ways that you never thought possible.
There's a new movement among exercise enthusiasts today that's not about wearing cute gym attire and chatting with friends around shiny exercise equipment in a brand named fitness facility. This "new" approach involves returning to the old ways of getting strong: flipping over giant truck tires, executing pull-ups on a 4x4 ceiling beam, and pressing large stones overhead. It's a 'what's-old-is-new-again" thing and, judging by the incredible results that its proponents are getting, it works wonderfully.
Much of the material in The Art of Hojo Undo is old school, which is not a bad thing. The exercises and routines - many of which go back several decades, some over a hundred years ago - are still being used today for one simple reason: they work, and they work well.
So if you're looking for a break from concentration curls and dumbbell flies - exercises that won't do a heck of a lot for your martial arts - do yourself a favor and get this book. Three months from now you will be amazed at your new speed, power and strength.
Loren W. Christensen
Mr. Clarke's, The Art of Hojo Undo (the art of supplemental training) reflects this truth throughout this well written, 201 page manual, detailing body strengthening exercises, not only in their appropriate historical context, but in a way that makes sense to an exercise physiologist, as well as the typical martial artist trainee.
There are numerous plates, black and white photographs and line-drawings throughout the book, which intensify the instructional richness of this manual.
The book is organized in an Introduction, elaborating on the ancient or historical methods of training that existed in Okinawa. Here we find that not only did the people of this Ryukyu Retto possess their own unique indigenous training methods, they also borrowed heavily from the Chinese.
Following the stage-setting introduction, we have the second chapter explicating preparation exercises known as junbi undo, designed to warm and loosen up the body for more intense exercises. These are free-standing movements where the practitioner uses no special equipment, merely the actions of one's own body.
The third chapter finds detailed prints and descriptions of various lifting tools that the Okinawan practitioners used to strength the movements of the body. Not only will we find the directions on how to execute the exercises with this equipment properly and safely, there are photographs supporting the directions. In addition to the instructional directives within the book, one finds detail descriptions on how to manufacture these tools with modern materials to reach a reasonably accurate facsimile of the historical designs. This is true of all the tools shown and described throughout the text and not just in chapter three.
Some of the lifting tools covered, with the appropriate exercises and manufacturing guidelines include: the makiagi, the chiishi, the double-handle chiishi, the nigiri gami, the tan, the ishi sashi and tetsu sashi, the kongoken, and the tetsu and ishi geta.
Being a former strength and conditioning coach, I found both the tools and methods of using the tools sound applications of modern day conditioning principles and concepts. Manufacturing these tools within the home setting would be easy enough from the directions provided in this manual, making for an opportunity to improved variety within one's personal training protocol.
The fourth chapter goes into detail about the various ways and means the Okinawan practitioners of yore used impact tools to tough and strength the movements of striking with the body's natural weapons. The devise that is uniquely Okinawan is present--the makiwara--along with old historical photographs of the Okinawan masters using the various impact tools discussed. Other tools are shown and the one in particular that I liked was a devise that is reminiscent of a European medieval Pell.
Again, the directions for making the variety of striking tools are clear and concise for the reader to follow.
The fifth chapter addresses ideas for conditioning the body through partner work designed to both strengthen and improve sensitivity to oppositional movement forthcoming from the partner.
The sixth chapter pertains to various auxiliary applications consisting of individual calisthenics and partnered exercises with the goal for strengthening different portions of an individual's body.
The seventh chapter finds the reader discovering a unique collection of contemporary and older tools used to condition and strength movements of the human structure. There is the tetsuwa or iron ring, the ishibukuro or stone sack, heavy bag and smaller-heavy bag devises, with others shown being typically modern in construction.
The final chapter owns the comments from Okinawan masters' discussion of hojo undo or supplemental training to martial arts practice, all believing such training is both needed and beneficial for one's complete development as a martial artist, regardless of the discipline.
The book is a well-constructed and balanced text of historical perspective, academic study and practical application of just what is hojo undo, how to safely engage in such training, how to construct the tools from modern materials, and what the benefits may be from the proper use of this supplemental training paradigm.
It is this reviewer's conclusion that the plethora of older, historical exercise methods from the Ryukyu Islands as documented within this training manual, if utilized with the appropriate principles of conditioning--progressive overload, attention to intensity and movement specificity--will be an added bonus to any martial practitioner striving to better his or her kinesthetic awareness and strengths for whatever their particular martial endeavor may be. Plus, it simply looks fun to make and use the tools shown in this book--something that I believe helps us to solidly connect with the overall traditional spirit of martial practice.
While a few books (including a couple of my own) touch on the subject of hojo undo (supplementary training), I found The Art of Hojo Undo uniquely comprehensive and utterly fascinating. The only thing that even comes close was a book by famous karateka Morio Higaonna, which has been out of print for decades. Topics include lifting tools such as makiage (wrist roller), chiishi (stone weights), nigiri gami (gripping jars), and ishisashi (stone padlock), impact tools such as makiwara (striking post), tou (bamboo bundle), jari bako (sand box), and kakite bikei (blocking post), body conditioning exercises, partner drills, and auxiliary exercises, along with some interesting comments on hojo undo by a couple of Okinawan karate masters.
The author has a very engaging writing style. A practitioner since 1973, he has tons of practical knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Packed with rare and unique photographs, clear illustrations, and articulate instructions this book is a wonderful resource for classical martial artists. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles