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Book Review - Karate-Do, My Way of Life

by Nancy Beckerman

Book Review - Karate-Do, My Way of Life

by Gichin Funakoshi

"It was nearly four decades ago that I embarked upon what I now realize was a highly ambitious program: the introduction to the Japanese public at large of that complex Okinawan art, or sport, which is called Karate-do, 'The Way of Karate'." So begins Gichin Funakoshi's autobiography, Karate-Do, My Way of Life.

With honesty and great modesty, Mr. Funakoshi explains devoting the 90 years of his life to Karate-do. He found that karate "cast a spell" over him and from a frail childhood he emerged into a strong and vigorous manhood. As he wrote this in his old age, he was the embodiment of good health, which he attributed to his study of karate and his well-trained body. He calls Karate-do "a defense against illness and disease."

Starting with his secret nighttime introduction to karate by a friend's father, Mr. Funakoshi takes us through the growth of his love of the art (or sport), and finally to his adopting Karate-do as a way of life. He had two masters guiding him as he learned "the art in its spiritual as well as its physical aspects."

Written with humor and fascinating details, this book contains compelling insights into the life and character of the founder of modern day karate. Some of the sections are titled: Training for Life; Win by Losing; The Danger of Pride; Kindness Without Pity; A Humble Man; and Karate Saves My Life.

In Funakoshi's own words, "The origin of karate remains impenetrably hidden behind the mists of legend." In understanding Funakoshi's Way of Life, we can better grasp our own Sensei Takahashi's devotion to karate.