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Channan: Heart of the Heians Paperback – July 6, 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elmar Schmeisser is a 6th degree black belt and a master instructor with the International Society of Okinawan/Japanese Karate-do. Involved in the martial arts for three decades, Schmeisser-Sensi is an authoritative and innovative instructor specializing in Kata Bunkai. Author of Advanced Karate-do, as well as Secrets of Karate Kata, Schmeisser-Sensei is a teacher of all ages, an internationally recognized authority, and a brilliant innovator in the modern practice of the ancient art of Karate.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing; First Edition edition (April 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412013577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412013574
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Willoughby on June 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the first book of it's kind to my knowledge. Dr. Schmeisser presents for us two kata, Channan Dai and Channan Sho, of Chinese origin, that he believes are the root kata that Itosu Yasutsune used as the source material to create the 5 Pinan kata (known as Heian in Japanese styles). Dr. Schmeissar's writing style and organization is extremely logical. There's no fluff here, just the meat. He begins by providing us with a background and historical context of these kata to convince us of his theory. This chapter is chalked full of fascinating footnotes from the research that he did. He then takes us right into Channan Dai and Channan Sho, showing the movements with pictures and detailed written description with full Bunkai. In the fourth chapter, he relates the Channan sequences and bunkai to their respective Heian sequences, teaching us bunkai for the Heian kata. The 5th chapter is a historical note discussing the kata origins and the question of whether they are the root kata of the Pinan/Heian. The chapter demonstrates to me the author's professional integrity and honesty by admitting that his theory cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt but provides us his reasoning and allows us to make our own judgement. The last chapter provides us with a photographic sequence of the kata to use as a reference for learning. This is, perhaps, the only place in the book where I find fault which, quite possibly, could be due to my own short comings. I found it hard trying to follow the sequence and often got confused on which direction I needed to go in or what my feet needed to do during some of the turns and transitional movements (I'll need the video to get my performance correct). In my opinion, more photos of the transitional moves would have alleviated this for me. Despite this small fault, I believe this to be an extremely valuable book and there's no other like it on the subject. I highly recommend it.
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By GKA on September 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Channan: Heart of the Heians, by Elmar T. Schmeisser, explores the possibility of the modern day Heians as derived from the chinese kata Channan-Dai and Channa-Sho. The author makes no definitive claim that his studies are absolute, but presents his research in a sound historical manner leaving the reader to make his or her own decision regarding the origins of the Heian kata based on the research presented. The book is loaded with simple-to-follow, step-by-step, photos of Channan-Dai and Channan-Sho and accompanying text for each step. In a simple straight forward way, the author clearly illustrates apparent or perceived correlations between the Channan kata and the modern day Heians. An added plus in this book is the way it is laid out; the book is designed in such a way that keeps the reader flowing seamlessly from one photographic illustration to another. Only two things might have improved this well produced book and research, one of which is nearly impossible to do on the printed page, showing the transition moves in sequence, and crisper photographs with a higher quality camera. Overall, regardless of these two minor shortcomings, this book is a fantastic work and will be greatly appreciated by anyone who enjoys the study of traditional Japanese kata, bunkai, and kata origins.
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Format: Paperback
Author Elmar Schmeisser has, in this book, tried to uncover the kata at the root of the Heian/Pinan kata: Kata Channan. His research has led him to a Chinese Chuan-Fa system that entered the US via the Philipines; however, Dr. Schmeisser has made a convincing argument that, while the kata he presents may not be exactly like the one that Itosu used when constructing the Pinan kata, they at least have the same root. I don't have a problem with the probability that the two kata, Channan Dai and Sho, may not be the exact kata that Itosu derived the Pinan from, as a cursory observation of the same kata in different systems will also reveal small variations. Kata change over time; that's just the nature of the beast.

In the first chapter, Dr. Schmeisser gives some historical background on Heian/Pinan in a concise but informative summary, and then gives some background not only on the various stages of learning kata in general, but also in analyzing the kata for practical applications (bunkai). Though the author does a wonderful job for the space provided in this section, I would love to have seen it expanded and given more detail. The next two chapters demonstrate the kata Channan Dai and Channan Sho. In both chapters, each sequence in the kata is given a paragraph or so for explaination, and the bunkai is usually shown along side the kata sequence. Chapter Four takes examples from the Heian kata (Shotokan style) and demonstrates where the sequences from the Channan kata fit in, sort of offering a short comparitive analysis of the Channan and Heian kata. The book ends with a very short chapter on historic implications, and one last chapter showing photo sequences of the full Channan Dai and Channan Sho kata without the interuption of text or bunkai.
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Having trained for over 50 years,my interests are history,origins,and old school training.My understanding has always been that Pinan/Heian kata were essays on kata Kusanku. It now appears that these kata were simplifications and fragments of channan kata which was in itself the treatise on kusanku.Once one understands this,it is not necessary to know channan kata,just pinan/heian plus kusanku.I thought the book was ok,an interesting addition to my library, but rather too heavily stylized for my liking.Original Okinawan karate had no style names.This was a creation of the Japanese in order to make the Okinawan arts conform to the Japanese way of doing things.When studying the old ways,it is important to remember this.
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