KANAZAWA Hirokazu's biography, translated by Alex BENNETT. One of the most influential karate masters Japan has seen, he has devoted himself to the study and promotion of karate for more than 50 years. "The more I know, the more I climb, yet the mountain just gets higher. The more I try, the more I focus, the depth is limitless. There is no end in sight. That is karate, my life."
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: What Makes a Karate Man? Comment: A lively journey with one of Shotokan Karate founder Funakoshi Gichen's last remaining students. A teacher of Karate for over 50 years, Kanazawa Hirokazu begins by sharing his earliest memories of hard working family, and the influence of their examples had upon his development. He is drawn to physical training early on after bad experience where as an 11-year old he is beaten by a bully of an adult known as "Sumo Geezer". Later Kanazawa pursues the art of Karate at Takushoku University. Includes memories of early training, Funakoshi's thoughts on the primative body armor Tokyo University started using for competitions, Nakayama Masatoshi's influence, the first University Exchange-training programs...quite a lot of good stuff.
This Autobiography is by no means dry and is strewn with humerous and interesting vignettes, such as when Kanazawa's college karate mates attempt a 3-stooges type prank where each man tells the conductor on a local train that the fellow behind him has the fare...Kanazawa it happened, was the last man in the line! I won't spoil the story with the ending here (page 85). The story line is always moving, always introducing something new or unexpected. You will not find the stereotypical stern samurai here, but a very normal if very driven and dedicated man of ethics. More often, the goodness of people shows through, and the author takes joy from this.
There are a number of topics covered here which aren't examined in most other karate books. First, Kanazawa honestly explains his version of the 1972 WUKO karate championships, where he seems convinced there was a conspiracy by European judges to exclude American and Japanese competitors. The funny thing is that for years Europeans have referred to this early competition as a hallmark of fairness, proving that one didn't have to be Japanese to win...Kanazawa is convinced that the European judges simply couldn't see the techniques of the Japanese, they were too fast (page 240). It is interesting to have another perspective from the man who was actually there coaching the Japanese team.
Second, this book explains the politics behind the Big JKA split with European instructors, and the freak misunderstanding that led to his expulsion from the JKA. How to deal with such sorrow?
"In the beginning, all humans are born naked. Then they die naked. They can take nothing with them. In a similar sense, I stated karate naked, so there was nothing for me to be afraid of in going back to that state..." (page 251).
Here is the beginning of Kanazawa's Shotokan Karte-do International Federation. All in all, Kanazawa is very upbeat and optimistic, learning from his hardships and generous with others. From his earliest days he has a keen sense of justice, standing up for the weak and doing what is right for its own sake.
The hardcover version is a quality work with sewn binding. There are 20 pages of photographs, showing Kanazawa and mates at college, as well as other notables like Nakayama, Funakoshi, etc. Also some photos of young Kanazawa's incredibly well defined physique. The translation is thoroughly up to date and understandable. When Kanazawa smashes 15 roof tiles with his elbow during a demonstration at a small town. A school teachers warns the children watching, "Kids! Don't try this at home!" (pg 104)