Summary: Isshin Ryu book review
Comment: My thoughts on this book are mixed. On one hand the book is well written, but on the other hand the book has some interesting facts. Everyone has their view on Isshin Ryu, and most people's do not agree with eachothers'. Isshin Ryu has a sorted past with many "experts" claiming to know the history. Maybe there are a few experts out there, but what were they really taught. Remember this, the USA was at war with Japan during the time when the martial arts were being taught to Americans. So how can we be sure that the information passed on to us is accurate. We all have our own thoughts and each of us has had knowledge passed down from our Senseis', which was passed down from theirs'. Mr. Rosenbaum has put together a little piece of Isshin Ryu history that should be read and not criticized. We are all under Master Shimabuku and need to unify.
My 2 cents.
Bryan Winkelman (www.senseibryan.com) - author of "Training Manual for Isshin Ryu Karate" listed on amazon.com
Summary: A New Look at Isshinryu
Comment: The author takes a different route in this book in that he explores Isshninryu not so much from the standard party line of it being the greatest martial art the world has ever known. Instead he sets down before the reader a great overview of the system and its early pioneers, most of whom were Americans, and tells how and why this Karate System evolved without trying to debase any other systems of karate. He does however take a different viewpoint towards the effectivness of modern day sport based systems and is quite quick to point of the differences between Japanese Styles and Okinawan Styles of Karate.
There are very few pictures in this book except for the sketches done of famous Isshinryu practitioners however he does a wonderfull job of exploring the body mechanics of the system, its hard and soft elements as well as its internal and external elements all explained in a rather matter of fact viewpoint. Nowhere does he delve into quasi-mystical elements as is so often done in many martial arts books attributing this or that to chi, ki or anyother unseen element. Intead he presents facts to the reader and lets you determine what is real and what isn't. Also he takes the same approach in his presentation fo the system itself. He is however, and rightly so, pretty harsh on modern day ranking it's abuse and the good ole boy politics found within many styles of karate, Isshinryu included. Over all its a good book, not to deep, just to the point and factual.
Summary: A Strange Variation of the Isshinryu System
Comment: On the good parts:
An overall interesting read.
Okay, this book is rather divergent from any branch of Isshinryu with which I have dealt. In it, Mr. Rosenbaum propagates much of the false information of Isshinryu, such as the patch "Megami" (meaning simply "goddess") being named "Mizugami" (which means water goddess, or goddess of a specific body of water), Shimabuku's uncle refusing martial instruction (he instructed him in both martial arts and fortune telling), the Japanese helping Tatsuo avoid conscription in exchange for karate lessons, and several other misinformed ideas.
As for the technical information presented, it is not particularly in-depth.
In closing, pick another book.
Summary: A concise history and description of Isshinryu karate
Comment: Mr. Rosenbaum did an excellent job of researching the rich history of Isshinryu karate. His book includes details about Okinawan history, the influences on Tatsuo Shimabuku, kata description, and the personalities involved with the development of Isshinryu in the United States. His writing style is obviously considerate of the new karate-ka (student) and provides a general overview of Isshrinyu without spending too much time on any one topic. I have applied Mr. Rosenbaum's information to questions presented to me in the dojo by my sensei, so the topics Mr. Rosenbaum covers are very applicable.
The major fault with this book is poor editing. Typographical errors that are common to any author are present and this book would benefit greatly by a professional editor reviewing the text prior to the next edition. But the errors are not so abundant as to distract the reader.
I appreciate Mr. Rosenbaum's attitude about the political issues between different Isshinryu organizations. His respectful tone and hope for a stronger Isshinryu community are good examples for the rest of us.
Another strength to this book are the simple illustrations of the major contributors to Isshinryu accompanied by brief biographies. I would like to see more of Mr. Rosenbaum's illustrations in a future edition.
Summary: Well Done
Comment: Its a well done book on not only the history of Isshinryu but Okinawan Karate as well. There are other books which deal with the subject more in depth but you'll be hard pressed to find them. As far as Isshinryu goes this is one of the best done to date. The author explores not only the systems founding and the linage of the system but also Soke SHimabuku's life as well. He explains the Hard/Soft elements of the system and even gives insight into how the kobudo weapons play a major role in not only armed combat but also unarmed as well. Over all its a book well worth reading. His other book: The FIghting Arts Their Evolution from Secret Socities to Modern Times is also one to read as well. It in many ways picks up where this left off and gives even further insight into the founding of the Okinwan systems.