Summary: Goju Ryu Opus Volume 1-4
Comment: This is a description of the four-volume series by Goju Ryu Karate mavin Morio Higaonna. In it he details the complete Goju Ryu syllabus as passed down to his teachers, Ei'ichi Miyazato and Anichi Miyagi. Miyazato and A. Miyagi in turn learned directly from the founder of Goju Ryu Karate, Chojun Miyagi, a distinguished student of Kanryo Higaonna who learned martial arts in Fukien Province and also on Okinawa. This is simply the best series of books out there on Goju Ryu in any language! The photography is incredible, all techniques are shown with stop-motion photography, and there are many transitional photographs showing the complete execution of every technique. This series is the "bible" of Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate-do. I'm going to give you a break down by volume since all four seem to get put together here...
Volume 1: Fundamental Techniques
Higaonna demonstrates Miyagi's original Junbi Undo (warm up), completely goes over all topics such as stances, traditional exercise routine with the chiishi (stone weights) shown in 187 photographs, Nigiri Game (gripping Jars) shown in 109 photographs, how to train on the Makiwara, how to construct a Makiwara, training with the Ishisashi (stone padlocks) is a sequence shown in 118 photographs, also covered are tan (barbell), tetsu geta (iron sandals), tou (bamboo bundle), jari bako (sand training), and an implement unique to Goju Ryu, the kongo ken. The depth with which all of these are explained and covered is phenomenal!
Next is the section on fundamental technique with complete coverage of stance work, striking and kicking. Then a treatis on Kore-ate (2 man forearm training). For those who believe that all karate is stiff and unbending, this book may change your mind. There is a section on tai-sabaki (movement, and a special treat in the last chapter--the COMPLETE SANCHIN as passed down from Kanryo Higaonna to Chojun Miyagi to Anichi Miyagi to Morio Higaonna. This is the original turning Sanchin Kanryo Higaonna brought back from Fukien Province in China. Researchers believe this particular sanchin came either from White Crane style, or from Fujian Tiger Gung Fu. Morio Higaonna demonstrates the complete for in the traditional (for men at least) shirtless manner. 162 photographs with complete description illustrate this Foundational form of the Goju Ryu Karate School.
Volume 2: Performances of the Kata
Higaonna goes over the charicteristics of Okinawan Goju-ryu, and then the demonstration of the first kata, the Chojun Miyagi Sanchin (different from the Kanryo Higaonna Sanchin in the first book). Included after this are in-depth renderings of kata Gekisai-dai Ichi, Gekisai-dai-ni, Saifa, Seiyunchin, Shisochin, and Sanseiru. Bunkai is shown separately in successive volumes....
Volume 3: Applications of the Kata Part I
Opens with an introductory note from Xing Yang-ling, Morio Higaonna on Bunkai, and then the remainder of the Goju Ryu Karate Kata syllabus: Sepai, Kururunfa, Sesan, Sanseiru, Suparinpei, and Miyagi's personal kata thought to have been influenced by Fukien Crane, Tensho Kata. This volume ends with the inclusion of the complete Bunkai (applications) for kata Gekisai-dai Ichi and Gekisai-dai Ni.
Volume 4: Applications of the Kata Part II
Contains the complete bunkai of Goju-ryu karate founder Miyagi Chojun for the 8 main kata of Goju: Saifa, Seiunchin, Shisochin, Sanseiru, Sepai, Kururunfa, Sesan, Suparinpei. Also includes sections on Iri Kumite, Shiai Kumite, and Yakusoku Kumite. Finishes off with Historical accounts of Kanryu Higaonna and Chojun Miyagi.
A phenomenal series, the Karate World and Goju folks everywhere NEED this to be back in print again. Higaonna's effort is really in a class by itself.
Summary: A great book that shows how to do it
Comment: A really excellent book that shows a beginner exactly what he needs to know in terms of stances, blocks, punching techniques etc. I bought this book after 2 or 3 lessons at my dojo. I felt confused by the blocking and strikes movements, my arms where all over the place. The book identifies eack block and strike in a series of pictures that help to pin point each step involved. This book is well worth the price.
Owen Evans, UK
Summary: A well thumbed manual I turn to time and again
Comment: I think this book is absolutely great. As someone new to karate (3 months practice),I find the series of pictures for each kata excellent. By viewing the pictures closely, you can observe the individual details of the stances and postures etc. as a kata is performed. I find I am forever reaching for the book as I practice the katas at home. Money well spent.
Owen Evans, UK
Summary: A must for any karate-ka!
Comment: The 5 volumes of Higaonna Sensei's traditional karate-do is the most extensive and well researched manual I've ever read. Each volume contains step by step bunkai of each kata as well as thoroughly researched history of Chojun Miyagi Sensei and of karate itself. Each move is described in japanese terminology plain and simple. Having just joined okinawan goju-ryu from Shotokan, and currently san kyu, this book is a must for any karate-ka. The detailed step by step kata pictures actually help you in your kata when you need to know certain moves or are learning new ones. I highly recommend these manuals.
Summary: An excellent work, even WITH maddeningly small pictures !!!!
Comment: M. Higaonna's work is a high quality technical manual of an Okinawan Martial Art known as Goju-ryu Kara-te. Higaonna's book is one of a VERY few which are of sufficent quality that it COULD temporarily assist a practitioner (or someone merely curious re: Gojuryu Karate's technique (of a very popular exercise: Sanchin Kata) until a teacher can be found. The ONLY problem with the book is two fold. 90% of the book is photos, postage stamp sized photos ! Publishing Insanity !!! Secondly, the book is written in english, and yet at CRITICAL points in its description slips into Japanese. Un-necessary & poorly planned in this readers opinion.