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Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge: In Traditional Martial Arts Paperback – November 19, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Delving more deeply than the average writer on martial arts… the author achieves a holistic perspective that restores martial arts to the field of military science, and shows how their development was functionally driven by the need to triumph and to survive..." (Richard Lawson, editor armed-combat.com)

"Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge is especially recommended for martial artists seeking to better understand the nuances, purpose, history, and applications of the skills they pursue." (Wisconsin Bookwatch)

From the Publisher

FINALIST for Book of the Year Award: Education, 2004
(Sponsored by Foreword Magazine)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Ymaa Publication Center (November 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594390266
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594390265
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,622,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. A. Kane VINE VOICE on December 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This work is a thinking person's guide to martial erudition rather than a "how to" book about combat technique. Through Rosenbaum's words, we learn the power of kata (patterns of movements containing a series of logical and practical offensive and defensive techniques) to transmit proven methodologies from one generation to the next. This brilliantly researched tome provides important insight into the history and development of martial arts - both military and civilian. It is more of a textbook than a light afternoon read, yet it provides fantastic insight into the views and ethics of societies that created the fighting forms that many of us practice today. I learned a lot from it.

There is one flaw in this work which, though not significant, is pretty annoying: there are 43 illustrations, more than half of which are truly awful. It would have been better off without most of them. Now that I got that off my chest, the main theme of the book is that through understanding the evolution of an art form and how martial knowledge is transmitted via kata, practitioners build a greater appreciation of their art and what it truly means to practice it. The author leads us through a journey back in time, where we see consistent evidence of martial systems being influenced by those that came before and/or invaded. Rosenbaum demonstrates that katas in one form or another were used by ancient Greek, Egyptian, Asian, African, and European societies, and that poetry, dance, and song were also significant methods of preserving and transmitting battle-tested fighting strategies and tactics across the ages.

Michael Rosenbaum really knows his stuff. He began his martial arts training at the age of five.
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Format: Paperback
As a goju practitioner with over 25 years experience, I found much of this work to be confirming of exisiting knowledge. However there are many,many clear insights which have thown new light on old topics! I found the book to be easy to read, practical, and offering a clear and detailed insight into the world of kata. This book, is a must have for any goju practitioner looking to expand their knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of kata. The book is full of aggravating typographical errors...words missing and so on. The book needs revision with a view to correcting these mistakes which provide the reader with a source of real annoyance. Look past this, and the book should be on every goju teacher's desk for constant reference. Hooray! At last a classy text on goju! But martial artists of any style will find it excellent. Congratulations to the authors. Well done.
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Format: Paperback
Written by a martial artist of 25 years' experience who has studied and practiced Isshin Ryu, Bando, Judo, and Boxing, Kata And The Transmission Of Knowledge teaches the reader about the deeper meaning behind ritual forms and pre-arranged fighting techniques known as katas. Chapters foster a better understanding of katas as means to transmit successful techniques from one generation to the next; the author scrutinizes katas that have been used in Greek, Egyptian, Asian, African and European societies since ancient times. Exploring the deeper meaning of katas to gain insights into the views and ethics of societies from which they originated, Kata And The Transmission Of Knowledge is especially recommended for martial artists seeking to better understand the nuances, purpose, history, and applications of the skills they pursue.
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Format: Paperback
Many forms of combat training have pre-programmed steps and movements that the trainee is intended to practice repetitively, whether boxing, Tae Kwon Do, bayonet training, or riot control. These choreographed actions are meant to hand off to the learner rudimentary techniques from which to build and branch out. Whether ancient or modern, Eastern or Western, martial drills are fairly standard. That is part of the point in Michael Rosenbaum’s 228 page award winning paperback, “Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge in Traditional Martial Arts.” And yet Rosenbaum claims there is something else lurking underneath, or behind these defensive/aggressive patterns, or katas, “The kata became ( . . . ) a metaphor for something higher than just combative applications. It was a medium in which the spiritual and combative realms interacted as equals, two halves of a whole, that went hand-in-hand with one another, symbolic of something deeper than just a series of physical movements” (xix). Though most of the book rehearses the history and universality of combative art forms, the author will contend throughout that these katas were meant to pass on “knowledge,” “the moral, philosophical, and symbolic meanings of which often become lessons with more to do with one’s conduct and life, or conduct in life than combat itself” (151).

The introduction to “Kata and the Transmission of Knowledge” basically lays out the point Rosenbaum seeks to promote in the book; “To study the history of kata and pre-arranged routines is to also explore methods of communication, ( . . . )” (xviii). And what is communicated through these fighting patterns is a “metaphor that encompassed the duality of life and death, it reflected the transience of man and ( . . .
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