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Book Reviews

Scroll down to find some of Renshi Burnside's reviews on karate & other martial arts literature.        

The Official book on Seibukan --
Shorin Ryu Seibukan: Kyan's Karate by Shimabukuro and Smith.  A concise, complete and researched history section;  thorough kata explanation and detailed photographs, even showing the details between the moves!  A great addition to anyone's martial arts library and a MUST OWN for any Seibukan student. Includes history, basics, kata and ippon kumite.
Click Here to Order
Okinawan Karate - Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques by Mark Bishop.  A fairly detailed history of the major styles in Okinawa.  The book is organized by styles based on Chinese boxing, Shorin-ryu style, kobudo & Ti styles.  There are some nice lineage charts, kata listings for different styles and an appendix of names, addresses and contacts in Okinawa of the major Okinawan styles.

Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate - by Pat McCarthy.  This book is very basic with about 40 pages of abbreviated  history of Okinawan karate.  There are many nice pictures of great karateka of the Ryukyus with brief bios.  The majority of the book is the author doing kata in a picture by picture format.

Overlook MA Dictionary - a great source of general information about all martial arts
"This was one of my first karate books.  It is very helpful for all martial arts students."

Unante by John Sells -- this is the college text for Okinawan martial arts.  One of the best overall books I have ever seen for Okinawan arts.  Includes lineage charts; detailed history; kata evolution charts; rare photos and much more.  A must for the serious Okinawan martial artist.

History of Goju-ryu Karate by Morio Higaonna -- great book on the history of Goju-ryu.  Enjoyable reading.  I had the pleasure of training with Sensei Higaonna at the Okinawan World Championships - 2001.  He is a great teacher and has a great sense of humor.  If you ever have a chance to to attend one of his seminars it would be worth your effort to attend.

History and Traditions of Okinawan Karate by Tetsushiro Hokama -- I meet Sensei Hokama on my 1993 trip to Okinawa.  He is a great martial artist, historian, and calligrapher.  This book is full of interesting historical pictures and information.  Sections include: Origins of martial arts, martial arts pioneers, evolution of modern martial arts, training guide, and Seisan kata preformed by the author.  This book is limited to his style and his life in martial arts.

Karate-do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi.  A great book by the founder of the Shotokan style.  This is a must have book for any martial artisit library.

Okinawan Dento - by Jamal Measera.  A brief history about Seibukan karate.  Photo explaination of kihon renshu & katas. This is a privately published book.

The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia
Tradition-History-Pioneers by John Corcoran & Emil Farkas.  Over 400 pages loaded with information on everything related to the martial arts.  Covers over 40 styles; hundreds of historical and modern karate pioneers; history of martial arts in various regions of the world; and a brief listing of associations and organizations.  Not much detail but lots of general knowledge.

A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.  The classical guide to strategy by a renowned samuri warrior.  This book is used by martial artist and businessmen alike.  The first part of the book is an account of Musashi's fascinating life.  The last part of the book is his writings -- the Bokks of Ground, Water, Fire, Wind, & Void.

The Karate Dojo by Peter Urban. This book is full of short stories some fact, some tales, and some fiction.  Very enjoyable reading.

A Dictionary of the Martial Arts  by Louis Frederic.  Covers technical and historical aspects of the martial arts.  Extra coverage of judo, sumo, and jujutsu.  It has drawings of many of the techniques listed.

Tales of Okinawan's Great Masters by Shoshin Nagamine.  A well written and documented book; part one starts one generation before Tote Sagugawa and covering great masters past Chotoku Kyan.  Part two explains philosophy of karate-do and its relations to zen.  The third part of the book deals with tegumi (Okinwawn sumo.)